General Question

makemo's avatar

How do type designers cope reading books written in lesser appropriate typefaces?

Asked by makemo (531 points ) September 23rd, 2008

I was thinking about the contradiction of being a type designer reading a book of which the content is profoundly interesting, alas, the typeface is of horrible taste.

It must hurt.

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17 Answers

marinelife's avatar

The same way writers and editors cope with badly written books—with difficulty.

fireside's avatar

I saw a study somewhere that said graphic designers were more unhappy than many of the professions you would normally associate with job frustration.

When I asked a friend who was a designer she said it was because they saw the flaws in everything and were always thinking about how it could be better.

Fieryspoon's avatar

Lots of complaining!

charliecompany34's avatar

what’s the easiest typeface to read? i say it’s arial but so many people go with times roman. when i read “times roman” i just want to turn it off because the writer didn’t try to make it personal for the readers’ eye. am i out there by myself?

makemo's avatar

I agree with you, charlie, on the Times New Roman remarks. I not a huge fan of it. But in the context of book typefaces, I’d still prefer it over arial, since Times New Roman is a serif font, whereas arial is sans-serif. Serif fonts tend to make large bodies of text easier to read, while sans-serif is often more a home in headings, index lists and more collateral text.

jrpowell's avatar

I was a projectionist for three years. I still have a really hard time watching movies in the theater. Every speck of dirt, scratch, improperly focused bulb, cement splice, bad splice, or bad lens alignment bugs the shit out of me. I don’t watch movies anymore, “I watch film.”

fireside's avatar

@johnpowell – me too! The first time I was shown the upcoming splice indicator, the projectionist showing me apologized for changing the way i would watch movies in the future.

charliecompany34's avatar

@makemo: i know what you’re saying bro. just good to know others realize and appreciate legible text formats. ever get an announcement of some sort in comic sans or chiller or all caps “ye olde times?” really hard on the eyes.

i got a good taste of typesetting in my senior year of high school. we would work the offset printer and set up type faces in galleys. real grunt work!

but i really do have a passion for type faces actually and the hundreds of them really do speak volumes about what you want to say.

it’s art actually.

augustlan's avatar

I like arial…so clean. I also like comic sans for casual things. I know I’m in the minority on that one!

Nimis's avatar

COMIC SANS?!
I feel like I don’t even know you.
Okay…I don’t really really know you. But still!

augustlan's avatar

I know. ashamed

EmpressPixie's avatar

My boyfriend doesn’t! If they aren’t in a font he likes, he PUTS THEM BACK. He misses out on SO MANY really good books. But he just can’t read them if they aren’t in agreeable fonts.

Nimis's avatar

Aug: Awww…we still love you.
Just shocked. Deeply shocked.

makemo's avatar

A cool idea for Fluther just flew through my mind:

Using serif fonts for posts longer than a certain word threshold, whereas short posts keep the sans-serif font. Just a funny thought.

Nimis's avatar

Mak: Errr…to make it look more academic or something?

robmandu's avatar

@Nimis, I think there’s been some research that indicates serif fonts are easier to read. So, for extended reading, it’s considered good form to eschew the use of sans-serif fonts.

There’s probably other research that says all that’s a bunch of hooey. Regardless, the practice continues.

makemo's avatar

@ Nimis, robmandu

I agree that it might not be certain, that serifs will make a larger text more readable; especially when taking the medium (the screen) into consideration, which indeed doesn’t inherit the same qualities/characteristics of the written paper.

I happened to stumble back in here after receiving some lurve and I have to say that the idea of using some kind of visual cue for comments exceeding certain character count thresholds, is, if only a little, interesting…

Let’s say, one idea might be to color grade each paragraph, sentence, or words; the longer it gets.

Maybe it’s too elaborate to consider for Fluther, which of course, is already in a perfected state ;) but as an artistic idea, of visualizing information, why not. Guess I might try my hands at making a test plugin for Wordpress to see how it looks like.

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