Monday, September 14, 2009

Font speak

Every now and then, I come across a column in the newspaper that just tickles me.

Richard Glover, in the weekend edition of The Sydney Morning Herald, had a column that made me smile - and wonder.

Entitled, Funny Fonts Key to the Futura it begins thus:

I'VE decided to change the font in which I speak. I've spent a lifetime conversing in Arial 14-point but I'm finding it a bit meek and self-effacing as an everyday speaking font... I've now chosen Baskerville Old Face 16 as my new font for daily discourse, lapsing into Goudy Stout 32-point when drunk.


Drinking certainly affects your speaking font. My father used to prattle on in a Times New Roman monotone, usually in about 12-point, until he'd had a few gin and tonics, after which he'd revert to Lancastrian Redfaced Bold in a hearty 96-point bellow. It was as if he needed the extra size to speak over the roar of machinery in the English coal mine to which we'd all suddenly been transported.

Among drinkers, this is common. The font becomes increasingly italicised as the night goes on, tending to be horizontal by midnight.

With other people, it's more about mood than alcohol. Jocasta normally employs an elegant Palatino Linotype but when enraged loses all her serifs, lapsing into a punchy Gill Condensed. Occasionally, she even employs 104-point BLOCK CAPITALS, a process so discombobulating I find myself only able to reply in very tiny Wingdings.

I know some people who display some of the above and I shall probably never listen to anyone speak again without thinking about what font their speaking. (I think my background as a desktop publisher and journalist will exacerbate the problem, since I spent a lot of time working out what fonts to use.)

Me, I guess I'm a working font, Times Roman 12, who drops into very precise Edwardian Script 104 (bold and italic) when consuming alcohol.

So, what font are you?

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