The Beauty Within Words

WEEKLY POST, Public Relations

If you’re the average computer user, chances are you use Microsoft Word as your default text program. In fact, in March 2016, during a press conference, Microsoft themselves reported that they have 1.2 billion users worldwide. That’s a staggering 1 in 7 people on the entire planet.

So, if you use Microsoft Word, take a minute and think what font you use to write your papers. Most students use Times New Roman for their assignments, but it’s not uncommon to use a font like Helvetica (the default in the program Pages) or Georgia, or even Cambria. But now, let’s expand a little. Take a minute and write down every font you can think of. After you’ve done that, count them. I’m betting for most people reading, that’ll be somewhere between 3-5 fonts, maybe 10 if you use a lot of Word.

How surprised would you be if I told you there are more than 32,000 fonts available for commercial use? (And that’s only in the English language!) Every single font is unique and different in its own way.

For this week’s assignment, our class was tasked with finding a blog we enjoy, and highlighting some things about it. What do we like about it? What do we not like about it? How would we like that blog to influence ours?

For me, it was easy to find the blog. If you weren’t aware after reading the first couple paragraphs, I’m pretty big into typography. Typography, as defined by Wikipedia, is “the art and technique of arranging type to make written language legible, readable, and appealing when displayed.” To me, it is one of the most beautiful art forms. As said so beautifully by designer Hrant Papazain,

Nothing made by a human can avoid personal expression, and nothing made for a human should avoid personal expression.

So naturally, because of my interest in the field, there are several sites that I get resources from. One is a site called Typewolf. Run by freelance designer Jeremiah Shoaf since 2013, Typewolf is a massive online resource for fonts and typography, with guides on free fonts, how to use fonts, and overviews for beginners and experienced veterans alike.

The blog, (which is necessary for this post) is monthly, with lists of his favorite sites based upon the typography they use. With links to the sites (two examples: Ugmonk and BucaBoot), and their fonts, he details why each font was used, and what makes it a good choice.

For the aspiring, and incredibly amateur typographer that I am, this blog is an excellent resource. What someone like me needs is a professional designer to demonstrate and provide good examples of effective font usage, and that’s exactly what Jeremiah does for his readers.

There are a couple things that I really love about Jeremiah’s blog and hope to try to put into mine. The first would be content that fits its target audience. Jeremiah isn’t trying to create a site solely for designers — he’s aware that a large percentage of his audience is composed of amateurs (such as myself) who are not very willing to sit through a whole article detailing kerning, white space, or pixel grids. His headlines are simple and to the point, with eye catching topics such as “Top 10 free fonts not found in Google fonts,” and his blog series highlights several sites every month with excellent typography. In the articles themselves, particularly his blog posts, he is clear with his explanations, and uses very little designer jargon.

One of my issues with the site though, where I forced to pick one, would be a slight lack of available content. Though his monthly blogs are enjoyable, they often don’t include a ton of content. Much of his content is also available through .pdf documents, and whereas that truly isn’t that much work to download and view, it still can be just enough to cause me to think “Well, I’ll just read that another day.” I’d love to see Jeremiah put a few more resources on his website himself, and experiment with more options for blog posts, if nothing else but to make them more often.

For my own personal blog, a feature I’d love to include are resources that others can use going into the future. Specifically, as the designer of the paper “The Buzz” now, I want to be able to leave behind clear traces of what was done in my time at that position for future designers to follow, should they chose to. Jeremiah makes it easy for amateurs to see the reason behind typographical choices in websites, and I would like to make it easy for others to see the typographical choices made for the newspaper.

To finish out this blog, I want to use yet another quote, this one from designer Panos Vasiliou, which I think that absolutely every designer can take to heart.

Originality is a claim of the ignorant.

Excellence is a claim of the brave.

Don’t just strive to be original in what you do and create; nearly everything under the sun has been done. Instead, strive for excellence.

Happy designing,

Daniel M.


Enjoy the blog? Feel free to check out some of my other posts! You can either view them through my most recent works section on the homepage, or by clicking the link to my blog. My most recent post, seen here, detailed the fonts used in the newspaper “The Buzz.” Later blog posts will explain some of the choices I made, as well as update the list slightly as the semester goes on. DM.

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