Tuesday, March 20, 2012
A Fresh Look at Fonts
Most of the time we don't notice fonts, and that's the way it should be. Good layout is invisible, by design. Good layout is supposed to draw you into a page, not distract you. By contrast, bad layout is instantly noticeable, even if you aren't entirely sure why. It just looks "wrong".
There is a lot of incredible technology in making fonts look good on screen, and print well on paper. Most of it is subtle and deliberately unobtrusive. Yet have a look at text that has been scanned as a graphic, and it's easy to see when those techniques are missing. The text looks horrible and grainy.
Last month my wife gave me this marvellous book: "Just My Type" by Simon Garfield. It is well written, informative and fascinating. If you're a typeface junkie like me you'll enjoy every chapter. Even if you're not, you'll find out a lot about the wonderful world of typefaces, legibility, and even some stuff about road signs, airports and train stations.
In the last few weeks I have really begun to notice the fonts around me, something I haven't done in years. It's great to be "back".