The Educator's PLN

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I love typefaces. I fell in love with them during my graphic design classes in art school. I think that some of them are so beautiful, they give the words they display more meaning. They are a subtle way to add a level of expression to the words they spell out. "I love you" written in Times Roman is a much different expression than when it's written in Edwardian Script.

I have my favorites, of course, as everyone does. The delicate shifts in weight and graceful style of Garamond has stood the test of time. No one knows the story behind fonts. They just assume they appeared with the first computer. Typefaces have rich histories of how they came to be. I'm assuming anyone can guess that Times Roman was designed as an efficient and readable style for newspapers, but did you know that Baskerville was named after the man who designed it over 200 years ago? Sans serif typefaces are fonts that have square edges to the lines, with no points at the end. They were harder to chisel out of stone because it was difficult to get a square edge; it was easier to create the little feet that serif faces have.

People have been stealing and copying faces for centuries, which got even worse when computers showed up. Helvetica is the modern classic, the clean simple lines are used in hundreds of logos around the world and even on our government's tax returns. Be careful though, it was too good of a design to be left alone. Almost any typeface that starts with an "H" is a bastardized version of the original.

I could go on for hours and bore anyone with this stuff; I find it fascinating while most people just look at me funny and start backing away. I just think people should be more aware of typefaces, they are beautiful works of art that help communicate a message. The computer has made picking a font effortless, so try a new one every once a while. Trust me, anything written in Goudy will seem profound and anything written in Courier will make you look like a knucklehead. It's your choice.

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