Emotions prompted by fonts

This is a thread (inspired by this thread) where you can share the feelings that certain types of fonts may prompt in your heart and mind when you see them. The first example that it crossing my mind now is Comic Sans. It reminds me of childhood and children’s books.

What fonts can you think of that seem to put you in a certain mood?

For complicated historical reasons, everything the math department of my school puts out, every worksheet, every test, is in Comic Sans. So it reminds all our students of calculus. This amuses me.

There’s always the GROUPSEX font, which alas I have never found a reason to use, but am amused that it exists.

I worked in font design and usage for many years, and have always had a special loathing for Times Roman. It was designed by a committee, which was tasked with designing a font with no special characteristics and no personality.

I always liked Rainbow Bass, especially in color. I knew Saul Bass, its designer.

What font am I looking at right now?
On an Android phone. Straightdope light theme.

But our work involves writing heaps of documents, many of which are official ones. I know Times New Roman may be or become annoying, but we still need to replace it with something (which may be or become as annoying). Anyway. I for one choose (for the documents that have to use with my co-workers or with my clients) other fonts, such as Garamond, Cambria, or Georgia. For sans-serif ones, I often use Tahoma, and the Arial ones (regular, narrow and bold).

It depends on a number of factors. Fonts for websites are typically grouped into similar styles, so that if you do not have one installed, the next will be used. It is also possible to download a font - Google provides a vast library - and if that fails, one of the defaults will be used.

The font chosen is also somewhat dependent on the browser you use, and obviously the OS. I use Android and the dark theme; on my Mac I use Firefox with the dark theme and there is little difference. This is intentional - my Mac will be displaying Helvetica, but if I used Windows the browser would choose Arial (unless I had managed to install Helvetica)

In any case, what you are seeing is one of the fairly common “font family” (they are not really a “family”, they are a standard grouping of similar fonts) “Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif”

You’d probably not see Helvetica or Arial on Android. That leaves the default, “sans-serif” which is not itself a font. It is an instruction to find a font on the system that is a sans-serif style, and in the case of Android this is most likely to be Roboto

I heard it was designed for legibility at small sizes/low resolution. If so, those would be the special characteristics. Are there any newspapers printed using Rainbow Bass? :slight_smile:

You really have to be careful and know the emotions prompted by fonts :slight_smile: Once upon a time, when I did not know any better, I got told off for suggesting that some very modern document, in English, no less, be set in Garamond. And you don’t want to know the trouble I got into with Chinese and Japanese!

I’m not sure why in your case Times New Roman needs to be “replaced” — if it is annoying in its current form why was it chosen in the first place? But you can screw up badly by just clicking on random fonts from a list.

Thanks for the info.
Man, the differences in those three fonts are very subtle. Almost to the point of, why bother. But I’m sure typesetters have their reasons.
After doing a side by side comparison (greatly enlarged) and Including google’s open sans because the internets suggested it as well. . .
I believe youre right. It’s Roboto.

Cartoonists (notably Walt Kelley in Pogo and Uderzo and Goscinny (of Astérix fame) have used fonts extensively to indicate character traits. Kelley had a preacher-creature speaking in a Germanic-looking Fractur font, and Asterix had scenes of German barbarian invaders speaking in Fractur.

Oops - I was wrong, looking in the wrong place. The site does use a downloaded font, “Assistant”

So you are likely seeing either Assistant or Roboto

Typefaces (not fonts*) are designed to serve particular ends and purposes. If a face, such as Times New Roman, is designed for legibility at small sizes, then that is the standard by which it should be judged (and one by which Rainbow Bass fails utterly). The older Times Roman was designed to work well in a linotype machine, as well as to be readable. Neither was designed to be cute or fun.

Times New Roman, which is the typeface that is available to most of us, was not designed by a committee, by the way. The letter forms were drawn by one person, Victor Lardent, and the process was supervised by Stanley Morison, both of the font foundry Monotype.

*A font is a particular typeface at a particular size. The word derives from the same root as “foundry” and is connected with the casting and organizing of letter sets by both face and size.

You’re right, in terms of the history of the word, but times change and with that usage now obsolete (unless you’re a metal type geek), I think it’s fine to use font as an alternative word for typeface - or even better, for a weight of a typeface, eg Univers 65 Bold.

I have two responses to this: one is that panache45 was discussing events that happened when the difference mattered a great deal. The second is that since foundry no longer has much to do with the creation of type, that typeface, or just face if you like, is really a better and more descriptive term.

I realize that usage has not followed this path, but I would have expected someone who “worked in font design and usage for many years” to be more mindful of the difference.

Apologies for being self-referential but I am also amused that the link to the GROUPSEX font is by far the most frequently clicked one that I have ever provided. :smiley:

Given the option, everything I ever type, every text I ever submit, is in Times New Roman. Not because I love it so much, but because there are so many fonts out there, that someone with my OCD tendencies can waste hours trying to find the “perfect” typeface. Times New Roman is… fine. It looks decent enough, it’s legible, and nobody ever complains that I use it. It lets me do my work, and leaves the issue of fonts to the graphic designers.

Times New Roman is okay, but probably it has become so ubiquitous that people yearn for some variation. I use Cambria, Georgia, and Garamond. Cambria is slightly elongated in comparison with Times New Roman, Georgia is slightly bolder, and Garamond is more delicate. Here’s a visual comparison between all these:

I think someone who has worked in the industry for a long time would also be aware of how usage has changed, and how ‘font’ is a go-to term for typeface for the vast majority of design professionals these days. You might not like it, but doesn’t make it not so.

And that is absolutely right. TNR was specifically designed for reading large chunks of copy, so whether individual designers like it or not, it serves its purpose well and is a good choice for non-designers.