Friday, January 9, 2009

Don't Get Me Started on Arial

The other night, I opened my laptop, turned on the TV, and clicked over to the public television station. Big mistake. A documentary on Helvetica was on. An entire hour dedicated to a font. I could forget about getting any work done.

At one point, this German typographer started ranting about his dislike for Helvetica, so incensed that he dropped an F-bomb. On public television! About a typeface! I couldn't look away. Another woman discussed her theory that Helvetica is immoral. She has actually researched which horrible events in history are somehow associated with the Helvetica font. Biographies of Hitler are printed in Helvetica or something. I rolled my eyes at her, snapped my laptop shut, and settled in to watch more of the fascinating discussion. You think I'm being sarcastic, but I'm not.

Several people defended poor Helvetica, but they weren't nearly as compelling as the haters. One guy warned, "There's a very fine line between simple, clean, and powerful . . . and simple, clean, and boring." Type designers are an opinionated bunch. Here I thought my decision to go sans serif demonstrated my professionalism and uncluttered sense of aesthetics . . . turns out I'm just another bland, tasteless know-nothing.

All I'm saying is, check your default font.

Dinner last night: spaghetti and meatballs


MrsM said...

I have my favorite fonts, but there isn't any I dislike.

With that said, I can't tell you the dozens upon dozens I've run across that HATE comic sans. Mostly the hate stems from over use but gimmie a break... It's FONT. WHO CARES!! haha

I think it's wonderful you've addressed font discrimination. Maybe one day soon Comic sans and Helvetica will be able to sit in the front seat of the bus.

Lana@The Kids Did WHAT?! said...

Ha ha! I went to the site you linked and did their quiz on "what font are you". Guess what. I'm helvetica!
"You're like an industry standard. Classic, reliable. Okay, maybe a bit boring. But you don't let the haters get you down. - After all, you've still got plenty of friends who think you're the best."

And here I was hoping I was "comic sans" ☺
To be honest? I've never heard of helvetica, and don't understand why a documentary was made about font!!

Helene said...

Well, gosh, I have some fonts I like better than others but not enough to make a documentary about it. That's just plain wierd. But I would've been glued to it myself, just trying to understand why someone would hate a font so much!!

peapodsquadmom said...

omg...too funny. i actually watched that stupid documentary as well. i couldn't pull myself away from the ridiculousness of it all. and it got really great reviews! who knew sans serif could be so fascinating to so many?!?!

twinmamabee said...

Oh no..I don't know what font I am using! I will get on that!

I do have to admit a good font is important to one's credibility as a writer. I have to admit that I do not like comic sans on a website - it makes the site look very unprofessional and too homemade.

But comic sans in email is okay as long as it is for personal use. I am so weird!