Archive for Big Readers A place for discussing books and all things bookish.

       Big Readers Forum Index -> Things that don't fit anywhere else

Language comments

A couple of interesting little language bits have come my way today.  I was interested in the book I am reading, about some of the people involved in Shackleton's journey to Antarctica.  Three of them are stuck on the ice in blizzard conditions so the sleep, eat, read and enjoy long discussions.  And the discussions covered the exact nature and definition of a verb, whether there is such a thing as 'an honest person', and the Oxford theological movement.  Now I can just about imagine present-day adventurous young men in their twenties discussing a philosophical question about the qualities of people, or about a political or social movement, but I cannot imagine them discussing the exact nature and definition of a verb.

And the radio now is talking about typography with someone obviously passionate about this.  He said, which Himadri would approve of, "Not all things are equal; some things are better than others.  Some types and fonts are better than others."  He seemed a little scathing about some sort of comic type, I can't remember its name.  But he didn't have a favourite font - it would be like naming a favourite child.

Cheers, Caro.

I can't say I get too worked up about font types, but in any area of human activity, of course some things are better than others! That really is so obvious it really shouldn't need saying! Smile

I like the idea of Shackleton and his mates stuck in a blizzard discussing things that they valued, and were obviously important to them.

Well as a some-time typesetter and graphic designer, I'm afraid I can get worked up about fonts! Was the face in question the hideous (and over-used) Comic Sans by any chance, Caro?

Often it isn't so much a case of good font vs bad font, it's more a case of using the right font (at the right size/weight/pitch/line length/alignment) for the job. Whilst typefaces are to some extent an aesthetic choice, there is also a science of sorts - fonts with serifs tend to be easier for the eye to follow along a line, making them suitable candidates for books and other long sections of text. Sans-serifs have greater clarity, but used for large chunks of text can be monotonous on the eye - especially ones with little or no stroke-width variation (sometimes called 'type colour'). The theory of optimum type size to leading (line spacing) to column width ratios is related to how easy it is for the eye to find the start of the next line. There are rules of thumb for this, which have been backed up by eye-motion studies.

< Anorak mode off! >

Could you switch the anorak-mode back on Mike and tell me why you donít like Comic Sans? I might be one of those people that over-use it. Embarassed


I think it probably was Comic Sans - the announcer was, like some of us, just musing about what difference did different types (fonts only seemed to be part of typography) make and this example was given of a font which would never be used on a gravestone, for instance, as it didn't have enough gravity.

I don't take much notice of fonts - have in the past mostly used Times New Roman or Ariel, but my new computer seems to have set itself at Calibi.  When I want some fancy I seemed to usually go to Lucida something, but perhaps the one I liked isn't on this computer.  

I was interested that anyone could care about something I take so little notice of (though must say when I read Ackroyd's House of Doctor Dee recently I think I would have managed it a lot better if I hadn't had to strain to read it, but that wasn't so much the type of font as the tiny print).

Cheers, Caro.

The font can make a lot of difference.  As you pointed out, no-one would use Comic Sans on a gravestone or use, say, Garamond on a poster for a comedy show.  The wrong font can be very unsettling, subconciously.

There's nothing wrong with Comic Sans I personally don't really like it that much but my son who suffers with dyslexia likes it as he says it makes the words easier to read.

I'm a bit of a font freak I love looking and using different fonts when I use my PC. †to be honest I don't think you can beat Times Roman for clarity and elegance for general writing, Arial for bold emphasis, and when I am writing personal letters I always use a handwriting font such as Bradley hand or Lucida Handwriting. For comedy writing I tend to use Hank rather than comic sans purely as I think it has a nicer look about it.

Plus I agree with what Miranda says the appropriate font for the job is vital as what style it is written adds to the impact when you read it.

       Big Readers Forum Index -> Things that don't fit anywhere else
Page 1 of 1
Create your own free forum | Buy a domain to use with your forum