What’s the Matter with Helvetica?

Throughout this semester, anyone who hears that I am researching typography will sooner or later ask me what font they should choose for their latest paper, their new blog logo, their latest tattoo. Typically, I respond with something like: What’s the matter with Helvetica?

Does this font make me look amateur?

Designers have strong feelings about fonts and will spend hours picking out a font, making it the right size, moving it around to the right place. There are font that should never be used—Papyrus and Comic Sans always seem to make the list. Whereas other fonts are considered top notch—Times New Roman and Helvetica (which has its own documentary). As I mentioned in another post, there isn’t a lot of research on the topic of fonts and there is room …

For the Love of the Ampersand

It’s been said by the likes of Gandhi, Samuel Johnson, and Pope John Paul II that the true measure of a society is how it treats the least of its members. The same can be said for a typeface.

X Marks the Spot

“Where is your group?” Considering our project’s cartographical component, it’s a particularly apt question to wonder where the Typography Team™ stands today. In this week’s post, we want to showcase some of our progress and our process so far this semester. We hope that a peep into our work will give anybody interested an idea of not just what we’re currently up to, but also where we’re headed.

Picking Software for Font Design

Everyday we encounter fonts and maybe some people think about them, but it doesn’t cross my mind unless the font is hard to read or when I actually design something it comes up. So why might someone design a font? To capture the spirit of their organization in a why that the current fonts do not. I chose to do it as part of my research project for the DWRL. When I agreed to design a font I thought, “How …


Two Types of Type: Part II

Previously in this space, I used the work of the late Adrian Frutiger to illustrate a particular way of thinking about typography. According to that view, a typeface is best when it goes unnoticed. Font is meant to invisibly transmit an writer’s point, without the letterforms interfering with either the author’s intent or the reader’s interpretation. Responding to the advent of the personal computer during the late 1980s, in “The Electronic Word: Literary Study and the Digital Revolution” rhetorician Richard Lanham described this conventional …

What Does the Font Say?

We are writing more than ever before—in the US we send 6 billion text messages a day, while every minute Facebook users share nearly 2.5 million pieces of content, Twitter users tweet nearly 300,000 times, and email users send over 200 million messages. How often are we trying to convey emotion in those messages? How often does our messages get misinterpreted? How many people can recall a disagreement that happened because text is bad at conveying emotion? Can fonts convey emotions?


Two Types of Type: Part I

A few weeks ago, on September 10th, Adrian Frutiger passed away in his native Switzerland at the age of 87. If you don’t recognize his name, that’s just as well: Frutiger was among the foremost typographers in the latter half of the Twentieth Century, and a strong proponent of the belief that a typeface is best when its not noticed at all.