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Old 02-15-2019, 02:04 PM
mixdenny mixdenny is offline
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Worst font ever

Take a look at the font this guy uses on the menu at the top of the page. It is designed to resemble Chinese characters and does it so well they are almost as hard to read as Chinese characters. It's a tutorial on changing icons:

http://robertdalesmith.com/dcvmuicons/tutorial2.htm

Dennis
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Old 02-15-2019, 02:21 PM
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It's bad, but better than wingdings.
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It may be because I'm a drooling simpleton with the attention span of a demented gnat, but would you mind explaining everything in words of one syllable. 140 chars max.
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Old 02-15-2019, 03:10 PM
jackdavinci jackdavinci is online now
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It is not a bad font. When people say a font is bad, usually what they really mean is:

1) It is overused. Which is ironic, because playing up the hate for certain fonts has itself been overdone.

2) It is used improperly. Some fonts are meant for inline text, some are optimized for screen use, some for headines, some are thematic or artistic.

Your font is a thematic font. It would be fine in a logo or poster. It doesn't work as menu buttons, but that is the fault of the placement, not the font.

Fonts that are legitimately bad would be ones with poor kerning, such that the spacing between letters looks off.
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Old 02-15-2019, 03:15 PM
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Originally Posted by jackdavinci View Post
It is not a bad font. When people say a font is bad, usually what they really mean is...
This one is illegible though, doesn't that make it a bad font?
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Old 02-15-2019, 03:30 PM
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Originally Posted by jackdavinci View Post
Your font is a thematic font. It would be fine in a logo or poster. It doesn't work as menu buttons, but that is the fault of the placement, not the font.
I have to disagree. It would be fine in a logo or poster only if you meant your logo or poster to be ugly and illegible.

Quote:
Fonts that are legitimately bad would be ones with poor kerning, such that the spacing between letters looks off.
So the only basis on which to evaluate the quality of a font is the kerning? All correctly kerned fonts are equally good?
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Old 02-15-2019, 03:38 PM
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Originally Posted by mixdenny View Post
Take a look at the font this guy uses on the menu at the top of the page. It is designed to resemble Chinese characters and does it so well they are almost as hard to read as Chinese characters. It's a tutorial on changing icons:

http://robertdalesmith.com/dcvmuicons/tutorial2.htm

Dennis
Heck, that could qualify as Worst Site, even for ancient Geocity standards.
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Old 02-15-2019, 03:39 PM
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I have to disagree. It would be fine in a logo or poster only if you meant your logo or poster to be ugly and illegible.

So the only basis on which to evaluate the quality of a font is the kerning? All correctly kerned fonts are equally good?
I'm not sure why you think it is ugly, so I can't comment on that.

Legibility again, is an issue of placement. Judging a style for legibility when it's purpose is artistic is sort of like judging a costume mask because you can't tell who is wearing it. Also, while it would be annoying to read it in a wall of text, it's not like you can't tell what it says.

As far as kerning, that was just poor wording on my part. I meant it as an example of a legitimate reason to judge a font.

This generally strikes me as blaming the cars rather than the drivers, after seeing a race car at the PTA and an SUV at the track.

Last edited by jackdavinci; 02-15-2019 at 03:41 PM.
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Old 02-15-2019, 03:54 PM
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It looks like mock Japanese, and to me, if I can't make out what I'm reading instantaneously, that automatically makes it a bad font (also, is what we're really talking about the "typeface"? Not being pedantic; just asking).
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Old 02-15-2019, 04:11 PM
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I still can't quite read the words at the top of the website "Dream???? VM? Icons".

If I can't figure out the letters, and I am supposed to be able to, then I would say it has failed pretty badly as a font.
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Old 02-15-2019, 04:21 PM
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I still can't quite read the words at the top of the website "Dream???? VM? Icons".

If I can't figure out the letters, and I am supposed to be able to, then I would say it has failed pretty badly as a font.
Dreamcast VMU Icons. I think. The drop shadow he's added really isn't doing us any favours.
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Old 02-15-2019, 04:22 PM
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Legibility again, is an issue of placement. Judging a style for legibility when it's purpose is artistic is sort of like judging a costume mask because you can't tell who is wearing it.
I think this is more like judging a mask because it looks like a plate of reheated corned beef hash when the costume is supposed to be Marilyn Monroe.
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Old 02-15-2019, 04:29 PM
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My understanding is that there are supposed to be two types of fonts (I don't recall the proper terms for them offhand). Some fonts are intended to be used for text, where people are going to be reading large amounts of words in the font. Other fonts are designed for things like titles and logos, where readability isn't as big an issue and you can have a more artistic effect.

So sometimes the problem with a font isn't the font itself but that people are misusing it.
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Old 02-15-2019, 04:32 PM
Vinyl Turnip Vinyl Turnip is online now
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The heading font is different than the "mock Japanese" menu font, I believe. It's also ugly, and rendered even more illegible by the poor use of drop shadow.
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Old 02-15-2019, 04:43 PM
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The SDMB doesn't give us very many truly awful choices for fonts, which is a bit of a tragedy in and of itself.
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Old 02-15-2019, 04:47 PM
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Originally Posted by jackdavinci View Post
Legibility again, is an issue of placement. Judging a style for legibility when it's purpose is artistic is sort of like judging a costume mask because you can't tell who is wearing it. Also, while it would be annoying to read it in a wall of text, it's not like you can't tell what it says.
No, legibility is not just a matter of placement. It's a matter of the ease of being able to interpret the characters as letters. And this font appears to make that deliberately difficult. I actually couldn't tell what it said initially, until I looked down at the text below it. I'm sure I could have parsed the letters eventually with some effort, but that does make it a bad font. You can have artistic fonts that are perfectly legible.

Can you give me an example of the kind of application where this font would be appropriate? Perhaps a sign on a goth teenager's bedroom door saying "Keep out"?
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Old 02-15-2019, 05:08 PM
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Perhaps a sign on a goth teenager's bedroom door saying "Keep out"?
Nah. A goth teenager would want that to be legible.

j
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Old 02-15-2019, 05:18 PM
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I'm not sure why you think it is ugly, so I can't comment on that.
Tell me, do you find it an attractive font?

Quote:
This generally strikes me as blaming the cars rather than the drivers, after seeing a race car at the PTA and an SUV at the track.
No, it's a lot more like seeing a Yugo or a Pontiac Aztec anywhere. A race car or an SUV are well designed for their purpose. Some cars are simply badly designed for any purpose.
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Old 02-15-2019, 07:33 PM
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The heading font is different than the "mock Japanese" menu font, I believe. It's also ugly, and rendered even more illegible by the poor use of drop shadow.
Yeah, the header is definitely graffiti styled, not pseudo-Asian...which is another issue - the header and menu should be at least stylistically related.
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Old 02-15-2019, 07:35 PM
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Well, I don't think either font is "the worst font ever" Try browsing dafont.com sometime.

The menu font may or may not be bad in another context, but the font choice is execrable for this page.

IMO, fonts can be roughly divided into functional and decorative. The font used for the menu is definitely a decorative font. Decorative fonts should never be used for functional items like menus or for large blocks of text - only in places where there are just a few words. And they should always be very large words. Movie posters and books are good places for decorative fonts. The font choice is as much about giving a feeling about the movie/book as being readable, for instance Blade Runner, or the Harry Potter franchise. The latter, especially, would be unreadable in anything smaller than 36 point.

Is it an ugly font? Who knows? It's got too much detail for the size of the font, so you can't tell if it would look nice at a better size, or just messy.

Note, the font for the header is a graffiti font. These come from people who are spray painting railroad cars and abandoned walls. They are not meant to be readable at all, which makes their use for something that is meant to be readable as an even worse idea than the menu font. Adding a drop shadow to a font that's supposed to be something spray painted on the "wall" is adding insult to injury.
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Old 02-15-2019, 07:45 PM
jackdavinci jackdavinci is online now
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No, legibility is not just a matter of placement. It's a matter of the ease of being able to interpret the characters as letters. And this font appears to make that deliberately difficult. I actually couldn't tell what it said initially, until I looked down at the text below it. I'm sure I could have parsed the letters eventually with some effort, but that does make it a bad font. You can have artistic fonts that are perfectly legible.

Can you give me an example of the kind of application where this font would be appropriate? Perhaps a sign on a goth teenager's bedroom door saying "Keep out"?
I meant, the relative importance of legibility is dependent on context. You seem to be judging the font at least partly based on its use. Probably anything put on that page would look ugly by association. While that font definitely doesn't work there, it is far from the worst design flaw.

I'm confused by your association of goth with Kanji. Are you having genre issues?

This could easily work for a cyberpunk or bladerunner sort of aesthetic.

But again, if you're judging a font based on it's usefulness as a typeface, you've just created a strawman.
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Old 02-15-2019, 08:14 PM
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I meant, the relative importance of legibility is dependent on context. You seem to be judging the font at least partly based on its use. Probably anything put on that page would look ugly by association. While that font definitely doesn't work there, it is far from the worst design flaw.

I'm confused by your association of goth with Kanji. Are you having genre issues?

This could easily work for a cyberpunk or bladerunner sort of aesthetic.

But again, if you're judging a font based on it's usefulness as a typeface, you've just created a strawman.
So, you're stating that style is always more important than function?

Reminds me of this...
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Old 02-15-2019, 08:24 PM
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That is truly a terrible typeface/font. Just effing unreadable. Whether it's the worst, I don't know. There are some more terrible ones out there, but it's pretty low, in my opinion.
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Old 02-15-2019, 08:51 PM
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Originally Posted by mixdenny View Post
Take a look at the font this guy uses on the menu at the top of the page. It is designed to resemble Chinese characters and does it so well they are almost as hard to read as Chinese characters. It's a tutorial on changing icons:

http://robertdalesmith.com/dcvmuicons/tutorial2.htm

Dennis
Quote:
Originally Posted by WOOKINPANUB View Post
It looks like mock Japanese, and to me, if I can't make out what I'm reading instantaneously, that automatically makes it a bad font (also, is what we're really talking about the "typeface"? Not being pedantic; just asking).
The heading looks to be in a hip-Hop/graffiti tagging style script.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Little Nemo View Post
My understanding is that there are supposed to be two types of fonts (I don't recall the proper terms for them offhand). Some fonts are intended to be used for text, where people are going to be reading large amounts of words in the font. Other fonts are designed for things like titles and logos, where readability isn't as big an issue and you can have a more artistic effect.

So sometimes the problem with a font isn't the font itself but that people are misusing it.
Do you mean text typefaces as opposed to display or decorative typefaces?
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Old 02-15-2019, 10:16 PM
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Barf Bold is worst. I think it was described in National Lampoon.
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Old 02-16-2019, 02:07 AM
mixdenny mixdenny is offline
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Barf Bold is worst. I think it was described in National Lampoon.
You got me. Barf Bold is indeed worse. Much worse. But I don't think it is intended as a serious font.

https://carsonparkdesign.com/barf-bo...tive-typeface/

Dennis
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Old 02-16-2019, 09:18 AM
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You got me. Barf Bold is indeed worse. Much worse. But I don't think it is intended as a serious font.
try this one
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Old 02-16-2019, 10:47 AM
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try this one
See, those don't seem as bad to me, partly because they're emulating a specific historical style. They're unreadable mostly because the content itself is band names and other oddly-spelled phrases that would be unreadable in Helvetica, not because the font itself is obscuring them much.
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Old 02-16-2019, 10:48 AM
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But again, if you're judging a font based on it's usefulness as a typeface, you've just created a strawman.
Quote:
This could easily work for a cyberpunk or bladerunner sort of aesthetic.
In other words, ugly and dysfunctional. I think you're nitpicking over the meaning of "worst." I'll grant this would be a very good font if to use if you are trying to convey the collapse of civilization and descent into illiteracy. But otherwise not.

Quote:
I'm confused by your association of goth with Kanji. Are you having genre issues?
Quibbling over an offhand joke doesn't really contribute much to support your argument.
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Old 02-16-2019, 10:49 AM
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See, those don't seem as bad to me, partly because they're emulating a specific historical style. They're unreadable mostly because the content itself is band names and other oddly-spelled phrases that would be unreadable in Helvetica, not because the font itself is obscuring them much.
They are perfectly readable if you are on acid.
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Old 02-16-2019, 11:32 AM
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try this one
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Originally Posted by TimeWinder View Post
See, those don't seem as bad to me, partly because they're emulating a specific historical style. They're unreadable mostly because the content itself is band names and other oddly-spelled phrases that would be unreadable in Helvetica, not because the font itself is obscuring them much.
More seriously, I don't object at all to fonts like that that are trying to convey an aesthetic or sensibility. Those fonts convey the free-flowing and psychedelic nature of the rock scene at that time. Immediate legibility isn't important, because those seeing the poster will know it is about rock concerts and will take the trouble to work out what it says.

jackdavinci is in error in thinking my only objection to the font is its legibility. I just fail to see what aesthetic it is trying to convey (unless, as I said, you are trying to depict dysfunctionality). The main letters might work as some sort of graffiti font, but the drop shadow appears to me to be utterly pointless. That's not just bad from a legibility point of view, that's bad aesthetic design. It's a tacky affectation added by someone who had no idea what they were trying to achieve with the font. It's doesn't work either as a text or a decorative font. It's not even as good as Barf Bold, since at least I can tell what that is trying to convey.

Last edited by Colibri; 02-16-2019 at 11:33 AM.
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Old 02-16-2019, 11:39 AM
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Anyway, I thought this was great when I saw it on Facebook. There is a use for ugly fonts....
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Old 02-16-2019, 03:59 PM
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See, those don't seem as bad to me, partly because they're emulating a specific historical style. They're unreadable mostly because the content itself is band names and other oddly-spelled phrases that would be unreadable in Helvetica, not because the font itself is obscuring them much.
This is a very strange reply. Firstly, Iím almost positive the type on the linked posters (promoting shows at the Fillmore Auditorium) is not emulating an historical style, but is rather declaring for its own time and place.

And Iím completely befuddled by the contention that certain band names would be unreadable in an common sans serif typeface, such as Helvetica.

Great Society.
13th Floor Elevators.
Sopwith Camel.

Now that symbol Prince used for awhile, I can see that not working with most commercial fonts.

As for the font in the OP, it seemed graffiti-based, and probably could be used effectively in a different context. But used with a drop shadow on that website? It made me think the designer was incompetent. I might not be the target audience for his site, but my guess is his target audience wasnít thrilled with it either.
  #33  
Old 02-17-2019, 06:49 AM
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Well, I don't think either font is "the worst font ever" Try browsing dafont.com sometime.
No kidding. This is a much more illegible Asian-style font, for example.
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Old 02-17-2019, 08:05 AM
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The definitive Asian-style font was created by Xu Bing.
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Old 02-17-2019, 08:47 AM
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Not a font, per se, but a really horrible typesetting example.

Watch The Favourite last night. They did full justification of text ... including the spacing within words.

So if "IF" was on a line by itself, the "I" was on the left and the "F" was on the right. And they really did do this particular example.

Bad enough for the chapter headings, but when the closing credits came they were unreadable.

The "old timey" font wasn't helping.
  #36  
Old 02-18-2019, 01:04 PM
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More seriously, I don't object at all to fonts like that that are trying to convey an aesthetic or sensibility. Those fonts convey the free-flowing and psychedelic nature of the rock scene at that time. Immediate legibility isn't important, because those seeing the poster will know it is about rock concerts and will take the trouble to work out what it says.

jackdavinci is in error in thinking my only objection to the font is its legibility. I just fail to see what aesthetic it is trying to convey (unless, as I said, you are trying to depict dysfunctionality). The main letters might work as some sort of graffiti font, but the drop shadow appears to me to be utterly pointless. That's not just bad from a legibility point of view, that's bad aesthetic design. It's a tacky affectation added by someone who had no idea what they were trying to achieve with the font. It's doesn't work either as a text or a decorative font. It's not even as good as Barf Bold, since at least I can tell what that is trying to convey.
I think the aesthetic he was going for is "I have access to a font generator and I know how to use it"


Definitely bad, bad, bad design choices. Still not as bad as a number of fonts you can get on dafont.com
  #37  
Old 02-18-2019, 04:13 PM
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Here's an amusing illustration of why font choice matters sometimes more than others. Definitely requires a second look, doesn't it?
  #38  
Old 02-18-2019, 04:17 PM
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The definitive Asian-style font was created by Xu Bing.
Square Word (which I know and love) isn't quite a font so much as a hand, though.
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Old 02-18-2019, 09:24 PM
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I mean it's fine, but definitely not legible.
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Old 02-18-2019, 09:44 PM
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I think the aesthetic he was going for is "I have access to a font generator and I know how to use it"
Actually just "I have access to a font generator."
  #41  
Old 02-19-2019, 08:35 AM
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But again, if you're judging a font based on it's usefulness as a typeface, you've just created a strawman.
I'm struggling to understand the terminology you're using here. How are you defining 'font' v 'typeface' (and yes, I do know the difference - I have a degree in typography - I just don't understand the definitions you're alluding to here).

As to the 'bad font' debate, I forget who said it now, but a famous designer once said 'there's no such thing as a bad font, only a bad use of that font' or words to that effect.

I think that's bollocks - fonts can most certainly be terrible examples of design in themselves.
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Old 02-19-2019, 08:51 AM
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For years I've been driving past a car wash that had a sign "OAR WASH".

I could never figure it out. I finally decided the owner's last name was Oar.

Then I had my car washed there. Turns out the O in Oar was indeed a C. It's just that the graphics are so fancy and weird that it scans as an O.
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Old 02-19-2019, 09:47 AM
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No, the worst font ever has to be that fucking Calibri (not our jackboot of a similar sounding name.) What dumbshit A**** B**** C**** D**** E**** F**** ...<& many other non-polite words> asshole at Microsquash decided that this should be the MFing default???

Worst is you can't even get rid of it if you try; it lurks around & returns when you don't want it, just like a STfuckingD!

(I have two spreadsheets, both using Arial; cut & paste from one to the other; why the eff does it show up in that veryhardtoread POS font when pasted?) Fuckyouverymuch, Bill Gates...& Obama, too!
  #44  
Old Yesterday, 03:41 PM
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The discussions above appear (at least to me) to be confusing the headline of the web page -- Dreamcast VMU Icons -- and the pseudo-Asian characters below the headline.

That Dreamcast VMU Icons headline is just plain wrong. It's an ugly and inappropriate font to begin with and it's made worse by the use of drop shadow.

The pseudo-Asian characters -- Japanese Kanji mixed with hiragana but made to (poorly) mimic the old digital characters on an IBM green-screen terminal -- remind me of something I would expect to see on FireFly -- maybe on a ship's dashboard in the post-Terran exodus universe in which Chinese, English, and a few other languages eventually became mixed and hybridized during multi-year interstellar voyages. In fact it occurs to me that those characters might have been used in the DVD Extras section of Serenity where you could select a planet and read about its culture and the episode that takes place there. [Or maybe not; I'm at work so I don't have access to the DVD to explore it right now.]

And, of course, they mean nothing in Japanese; they're actually misused approximations of Western alphabet characters -- Menu, About, Contact, Custom Icons, Forum, Tools, VMU Icons with (for instance) the hiragana character for su used instead of a lower-case T and the Chinese/Kanji character for te (hand) used instead of an upper-case F. [That might also have been the way they were used on that DVD I can't currently access.]

---G!
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Old Yesterday, 04:06 PM
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It's a page from 2000. They guy seems to have learned to make a site prettier since then.
  #46  
Old Yesterday, 08:11 PM
CairoCarol CairoCarol is offline
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Okay, here is a very specific reason why the font used for the menu is bad. It appears that one of the drop-down menus is "Tool's", which makes the designer seem illiterate. But if you consider the font carefully, it is far from clear that the line to the upper right of the L is an apostrophe. There are no other Ls in the text sample so it is hard to be sure, but look at the letter U. It has a similar added line, which is evidently there to make the font look more like Chinese characters.

It suggests that writing anything in this font that required quotation marks or apostrophes would probably be a mess.

.
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Last edited by CairoCarol; Yesterday at 08:12 PM.
  #47  
Old Yesterday, 08:32 PM
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CookingWithGas CookingWithGas is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WOOKINPANUB View Post
(also, is what we're really talking about the "typeface"? Not being pedantic; just asking).
If you are an editor, printer, layout artist, or typesetter, or retired before Microsoft Word came out, we are talking about a "typeface." If you are everybody else then we are talking about a font.

Last edited by CookingWithGas; Yesterday at 08:34 PM.
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