Thursday, December 16, 2010

Font Hatred

My boss recently sent me a link to this article:

The shocking conclusion? Font matters! (Gee, do you think?)

But what actually struck me was this quote:
"Please, for the love of Gutenberg, do not despoil the facade of this wonderful new building by setting the 40-foot "Silver Spring Library" sign in Arial," pleaded Brad.

Goodness, what a reaction! But this isn't at all unusual - people who care about fonts tend to care A LOT. Case in point: the unbridled hatred of Comic Sans:

Personally, I find this hilarious. I mean, Comic Sans is a goofy font, but I think it's goofy on purpose, so what's wrong with that? Of course, like any type of humor, it's appropriate in some situations and not in others.

Here's an article about why designers hate the font:

And a humorous rebuttal:

I rarely see a good objection to Comic Sans itself, just objections to its ubiquity and comments about situation-appropriateness.

Which brings me back to Arial. I was surprised to find that while Arial does not have a web page devoted to its destruction, it seems to be just as widely despised.

In fact, I found the objections to Arial much more coherent:

My first thought in response to all these objections was "Ridiculous! I don't hate Arial!" But actually, I AM kindof sick of it. I like sans serif fonts for many library applications, but I always find myself looking for another font before I'll go with Arial, especially when it comes to large lettering.

I don't know if we'll ever be able to get away from Arial overuse. It's easy to read and widely available. Also, some of our publications were born using Arial Narrow, and it's been extremely difficult to convince my coworkers to consider changing the font. Sigh.

I'll leave you with this brief article about fonts not to use:

Now, I think "never" is too strong a word - I use these fonts sometimes - but I still think it's worth reading the article, being aware of the opinions, and starting to think about your font choices.

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