AW Blog Chain: Guilty as Charged

General Geekiness

Claire Crossdale and Fresh Hell are tough acts to follow, with delightfully diverse guilty pleasure (I’m guilty of a few of theirs as well). After much contemplation (and many “guilty” pleasures later) I determined the one that, while I’m not particularly embarrassed to enjoy, this is suitably ridiculous:

I love typeface.  It isn’t a simple “oh, that font is pretty.” It borders on obsession (much like footnotes).

My love of typeface isn’t one like an adoration of a band, author or actor. I’m terrible at remember what specific typefaces look like (even the all obvious Helvetica. Put that next to a similar sans serif and I won’t be able to tell which is which). But there’s a certain beauty to typeface. Words sometimes just look right in High Tower Text (my current header’s font) or the ever-present Helvetica.

Typeface, of course, adds to the flavor of the book, whether we recognize it or not. Patrick O’Brian books are printed with a close set, old-timey serif. It feels right, meshes with our understanding of the subject matter so perfectly that it becomes second nature. The reader expects that typeface, they know the feel of the words and almost what to expect because of it. Again, the story just wouldn’t have the same flow if printed in a sleek font like Helvetica.

Harry Potter is set in Adobe Garamond, which the little blurb at the back of the books informs us is “a typeface based on the sixteenth century type designs of Claude Garamond, redrawn by Robert Slimbach in 1989.” The font has a whimsical but stately quality to it, one that fits with the feel of the book.

And then, we have the book I’m currently reading, With Wings Like Eagles. It’s an engaging, well-written book, but the typeface is just so darned interesting that I get distracted. Even while reading about how pilots managed to escape from burning cockpits, I find I need to reread the paragraphs because I get hung up on the letter “A” (both upper and lower cases) when I catch a glimpse of it out of the corner of my eye. There are two main problems: a) I actually really enjoy reading this book and b) the publisher wasn’t as nice as Scholastic and didn’t include any information about the typeface.

Up next:
Fokker Aeroplanbau
capes and corsets