What your font says about you

Req: G

The font you choose says a lot about who you are, according to a recent article in Newsweek:

I’ve changed fonts nine times while writing this piece, even though I know NEWSWEEK will print it in regular old Vincent no matter what I sneak in. I labored through Book Antiqua, Century, Bodoni and Verdana, finally deciding on the Microsoft-commissioned Georgia—I know, so not hip to the cult of Mac-using designers. But I’d like to think the font’s personality fits me: a British psychologist described it as individual, sophisticated, with a curviness that suggests a little bit of rocker chick.

OK, maybe I’m flattering myself. But the idea that a font says something about the person who selected it is, perhaps for the first time, rising beyond the design elite. Like me, America has developed a geeky obsession with fonts, the latest instance of our sophistication about design. “Helvetica,” a documentary about one font’s history, played to sold-out audiences when it came out last year. Basic font knowledge has become mandatory for anybody in the know—”Knowledge of Fonts” was actually a category on “Jeopardy!” Even Barack Obama has a custom font. “I always used to dread having to explain to a stranger what I do for a living,” says Matthew Carter, a typographer who has been in the business for more than 50 years—he designed the font of the AT&T phone book, as well as NEWSWEEK’s. “Nowadays, you can have an intelligent conversation with a 9-year-old about font.”

[Continue reading Just Go to Helvetica]

Life as a typographer has never been so cool.

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This blog is maintained by Dr. Matthew M. Reavy as a service to journalism students at the University of Scranton.

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