August 19, 2005

Typography

Typography, n. The craft of composing type and printing from it.

Someone who spends as much time as me reading, and staring at a computer screen, is bound to develop an interest in typography. I don’t really understand what makes good typography — I know it when I see it — and I do know that there are different requirements for on-screen and on-paper typography.

On screen, I’ve always heard that Sans-Serif fonts are the thing to use. But I just don’t dig them, most Sans-Serif fonts look terrible. Some are really great though…

I make do with what fonts are freely available on the net of course. And if you’re maintaining a site, you need to make sure that whatever font you choose will be available on all the major operating systems — this is impossible.

I read a lot on-screen, and I usually re-format anything large I’m reading (an ebook for example) according to my taste before going forward. Digital typefaces are fascinating.

I also code — and coding requires its on breed of monospaced fonts. Monospaced, that is each letter takes up the same amount of screen space — the code indents properly is much easier to handle with a good font. My current favourite programming font is Bitstream Vera Sans Mono; the default monospaced font for Gnome. I downloaded the Windows version and got addicted.

On paper, Serif fonts are definitely the way to go. Everybody, please stop using Times New Roman, that font gives me the shivers. Nothing too wrong with it, but one gets sick of seeing it. When printing at home, give the classics like Garamond and the Bookman family of fonts a try.

There are too many sites out there, anyone who wants to read up on this will definitely find something. I myself have only a pedestrian interest in typography; I appreciate it but know I have no skill for it. I primarily want to save myself from going prematurely blind, you see… I’ve only scratched the surface.

6 comments:

Girl said...

That link to all those tomes of fiction, that you put up in the side bar. I think it was called Metropolitan something. (Excuse my vagueness, I am very groggy from working and all : (). The stories there had an excellent font. I will use that for my publication, although I wonder how it would translate into the printed page.

Ankit said...

You mean this link? I haven't got around to reading anything there yet... Seems like a great site though.

If I remember correctly, I first reached the site to read a kick-ass interview of Matt Stover.

Ankit said...

The site uses Georgia, one of my favourites :)

Girl said...

Yes! That's the one! Ooh. Lovely font, Georgia.

R said...

I like comic sans, but I'm told its not professional enough :(

Ankit said...

Can't say I ever liked Comic Sans...