Fonts

Fonts

  09 Oct 2019   , ,


Here, we’re going to look at some basic differences
with fonts. And, then we’re going to look at handwriting. The first thing to see is serifs. These red sections in this font here are called
“serifs”. “Serif” means “decoration”. “Sans” means “without”. A serif font has serifs. A sans serif font does not have serifs. So, the first question about a font is whether
it is a serif or a sans serif font. The second question is whether the font is
monospace or proportional. A proportional font has letters with different
widths. The “l” is usually the skinniest or one of
the skinniest — or “slimmest”. “m” is usually wider. “n” is somewhat in between. Theoretically, an “m” should be twice as wide as an “n”. And, that is a proportional font. But, in a monospace font, every letter has
the same width. From each letter to the next, the width will
be the same. A monospace font is very useful for a typewriter…
or for accounting or computer coding. So that row after row after row,
all the letters line up equally and evenly. Typing with computer code will usually use
a monospace font. A monospace font can be a serif font or it
can be a sans serif font. Now, this “L” has a serif on the top and a
tail on the bottom. But, that is only as much as is needed to
make the width of the “L”… match the same as the “N” and the “M”. Other than this, there won’t be serifs in
this font. So, even though it has a serif for the purpose of width, it is still a sans serif font. This, however… This “L” has a serif on the bottom,
clearly, not merley a tail. And, you can also see the serifs on the “m”
and the “n”. Now, over here we have five fonts. And, these same five fonts are described up here. Now, for my title for each of these fonts
I’m using the “Ubuntu” font, in case you’re curious. But, don’t worry about that. Focus on the font with A-Z. The first font here, at the top, is called
“Junicode”. This is a Roman font. And, of course, that means it’s a serif font
because a Roman font is a serif font by definition. The first Roman font was invented by Nicolas Jenson in 1470. He was inspired by capital letters on Roman buildings. And then, he took the lower-case letters from Italian renaissance scholars’ handwriting and then made them look a little bit like they belonged with the capital letters that he made by adding serifs to the lower-case letters
and making them look more “machine-like” and not so much “hand-written”. You don’t really see a lot of calligraphy
in this Roman font. In 1728, William Caslon, in England, made
kind of an “update” to a Roman font. Then, a few years later, his great grandson,
William Caslon IV, invented the sans serif font. In the beginning it was called “grotesque”. That was 1816. About 100 years later, we began to see neo-grotesque fonts, which were a little more carefully made. The most famous neo-grotesque font is Helvetica. Another famous one font is Arial,
which is a variation of Helvetica. But, Helvetica is much more “carefully beautiful”. And, many people think that Helvetica is the
world’s “favorite font”. Many brands, many company logos, many government road signs, even the “Nutrition Facts” label on most cereal boxes use Helvetica. Governments even say that the correct font to use in the “Nutrition Facts” label should include a font such as Helvetica. And, it actually names “Helvetica” as an example. There is a long history of how Helvetica was made and even a movie named after it — a documentary. Helvetica is very beautifully balanced. And, the reason I think Helvetica is such a good font is because you don’t even really think about it. You don’t really think about how the letters look. You only think about the words. And, that is kind of the idea of what a font
should do. Arial is a little bit similar, but some of the beautiful parts that balance Helvetica aren’t included in Arial. They are changed a little bit. And, you can use Google and do some research
and find the differences. After the neo-grotesque fonts, we had other
sans serif fonts called “Humanist”. And, those are sans serif fonts, but inside of the letters are some artistic pieces that include traditional calligraphy. Now, I don’t mean “calligraphy” in the sense that it belongs in the heading of a newspaper. But, some of the beautiful stroke differences, as characters change between wide and narrow from calligraphy, can be seen inside the sans serif font. And, that is called a “humanist sans serif”
font. There is a lot of study you can do about this. The important thing to understand is that there were three main types of sans serif fonts: The grotesque, which was the original type of sans serif fonts. And, the neo-grotesque, which were a little more carefully made, and that is what most sans serif fonts we
use today are. And then, the humanist sans serif fonts, which most people can’t see the difference between but, they have a little more subtle art inside them. After these three sans serif fonts, we had
another type of font called the “geometric sans serif”. And, that came during the “Art Deco” era. The first geometric sans serif font was invented by Paul Renner. And, that was used in 1927. The thing to notice about geometric sans serif fonts and what makes them different from other sans serif fonts is the perfect circles. And, there are other things, such as perfect triangles… Not necessarily equilateral triangles, but what I say is “perfect triangles”. They have lots of vertical lines and perfect circles… The “e” the “d” the “c” the “b” the “a”… See the “n” and the “m”… Lots of big circles, lots of big similarities between the letters… Basic shapes appearing everywhere. That’s called a “geometric sans serif font”. The “o” and the “b” and the “a” and the “p”
in the other type of sans serif fonts don’t have those perfect circles. The best types of fonts for reading, such
as in a book or in a newspaper article or in an article on the Internet,
is either a Roman serif font or one of the three original types of sans serif fonts. That is because each letter is very different
from all the other letters. The “b” has a certain way it looks. And, it is not necessarily just a “d” that is turned around. The “a” is different also. The “o” and the “p” and the “q”. But, when we look at a geometric sans serif font, there are so many similarities between the
letters that if you stand far away, all you see is circles
and vertical lines. But, with a traditional sans serif font or a Roman font, even though you may not be able to see all the letters very, very clearly, you can still tell which letter letter is
which because each letter is so unique. But, with the geometric sans serif font, there are so many similarities in circles and triangles and lines and squares in the letters that it’s a little more difficult to tell them apart from a distance far away. And, that means reading is just a little bit
slower if you’re reading a large article. But, a geometric sans serif font can be wonderful for a sign or for a header, for the title or sort of a title section in an article. And, that is one way to design the layout
in what we call “Typography” on your blog or in your articles or in a paper you might write and an essay. For the title are, you might use a geometric sans serif font. In the body, you’d want to use a normal sans serif or a Roman serif font. Then, we have our monospace fonts. This first one is called “Courier 10 Pitch”. The first courier font was invented by Howard Kettler. And, he had an interesting nickname if you
look him up. He designed it to look like it came from a
typewriter. This is called a “slab serif” because the serifs are the same width as the rest of the letters. This monospace font is a sans serif monospace font. And, every letter has the same width as every
other letter… capital, lower-case, even the numbers and that is very good to make them line up straight. Here are some examples of the five fonts above. This first Roman font is called “Junicode”. This one is actually called “Sans-Serif”. This geometric sans is called “Quicksand”. William Caslon really started the change and development of the Roman fonts as we know them today. From about 1700 to about 1800 is the best way to understand. Caslon’s Roman font styles are still considered to be mostly “humanist Roman” font styles, which came even before the “old style”. They had a little bit of calligraphy inside
of them, like I mentioned before. But, that is almost too much to think about. Mainly consider that in the 1700s, there were three main types of Roman fonts. The old style font, such as Garamond and others… Then came the “transitional”. John Baskerville actually met Benjamin Franklin. And, Benjamin Franklin was so excited about the transitional Roman fonts that he went back to America with some of
them. And, probalby, while those early American writers — the people who had ideas that led to the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution — while they were writing about the problems
of Feudalism their publications were probably printed using transitional fonts. Then, at the close of the 1700s, Didot and
Bodoni, in 1799 and 1800 respectively, made the “modern” font. The old style fonts were very, very round
and beautiful. If you look closely, you can see that this
oval in the counter of the “P” is at a slight angle. Transitional fonts were a little bit more clean and clear and crisp. Notice the clear edges on the serifs. And, notice that the thin and thick are a
little bit more different than the old style. Moder Roman fonts were extremely sharp and cut and well-trimmed. Notice how thick the lines are — and thin. A lot could be said about this. The important thing that I want to tell you
is… modern fonts really shouldn’t be used in writing article and in large blocks of text, such as magazine articles, blog posts, letters… Just as with the geometric sans fonts, their
letters are too “beautiful” and too similar, making it a little bit difficult to read. When you are writing large blocks of text
you want to stick to old style and transitional, what we might consider “normal” Roman fonts. The modern, along with the geometric sans
serif fonts, should be saved for titles. They really are beautiful, they just don’t belong in large blocks of text. The geometric sans fonts, very similarly to the Roman modern fonts, were meant to be very, very beautiful, in
a “modern-artistic” way. But, they were never intended to be used for handwriting. Here are some geometric sans fonts. One of my favorites is “Questrial”. (That’s why I put it here.) This is “Sinkin Sans”. And, here is “Quicksand”, that we looked at
before. Here is another font called “Primer Print”. This probably isn’t used in schools for teaching. But, it is intended to be a font that looks like the types of school-teaching handwriting that schools use, when they are teaching students, unfortunately, to write with the geometric sans style. If you saw letters like this, trying to teach
you to write like this, I feel very sorry for you. This is not how we want to write. Unfortunately, many schools and many writing curricula used fonts like this to try to teach writing. And, they are getting this handwriting teaching style from geometric sans fonts. And, that’s never the way it was intended
to be. We will look more at handwriting fonts later.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *