Pour yourself a big ol' glass of typohol
April 29, 2004 5:18 PM   Subscribe

Are you a typoholic? It starts so innocently. One day you're mildly interested in the difference between display and text typefaces. Soon you can distinguish between teardrop and beak terminals. Suddenly you're annoying everyone in the movie theater by yelling out the names of all the fonts used in the credits. What's so scary is that you never saw it coming. You, my friend, are a type freak.
posted by ColdChef (35 comments total)
I used to work in an ad agency. Casual discussions about fonts took place every day. For years I couldn't look at an ad, logo, commercial, or billboard without pondering the typeface. Which is a sad way to go through life.

When you realize you have developed contempt for someone based on their font choices, you need help.
posted by y6y6y6 at 5:26 PM on April 29, 2004

I once realized I was actually participating in a conversation about kerning. At which point I simply froze and stood there silently hoping I could go back in time to when I was cool*.

* hypothetically speaking.
posted by Space Coyote at 5:27 PM on April 29, 2004

When I feel over-obsessed about typography I drive North from Loa Angeles to Kern County,
posted by wendell at 5:37 PM on April 29, 2004

Damn, wendell; beat me to the punch. (:
posted by sarajflemming at 5:52 PM on April 29, 2004

Ah, it's so me. I remember there was a time when I talked about fonts so much that my husband was soon able to point out the difference between a serif and a sans serif face. I think he tuned out any further details...but still, I was so proud!
posted by icetaco at 6:07 PM on April 29, 2004

I was almost in tears seeing how many of my fellow Mefites were typoholics on the thread about the seekrit Yale font. But, hey--I can quit anytime I want.
posted by Sidhedevil at 6:13 PM on April 29, 2004

I don't know. Passing the evenings for three years of your life by designing fonts for zero profit indicates a sort of obsession unfathomable by most.

Can't say I've ever actually used the word "kerning" out loud, though.
posted by tepidmonkey at 6:15 PM on April 29, 2004

if ive been drinking too much i cant read very well but can still identify all fonts in the known universe and like to loudly name them as i see them. im a big hit at parties. um, also in the above mentioned state of inebriation i do rather embarrassing impersonations of a serif and sans-serif 'T' or 'I'.
posted by c at 6:30 PM on April 29, 2004

It's also fun explaining to someone that a logo was bad because the font was dated (one of those dreadful oh-so 80's art deco repros).
posted by answergrape at 6:31 PM on April 29, 2004

When I noticed that I was downloading a font a day...I knew I had a problem.
posted by ColdChef at 6:46 PM on April 29, 2004

I used to give my roommate the rage by calling him and identifying typefaces on the street and on products. It got to the point where he stopped picking up the phone when my number came up.

I have a problem.
posted by loukas_c at 6:57 PM on April 29, 2004

My moment of self-realization came when I was teaching a class, I pulled out a newspaper and was discussing the fonts on the page of advertizements. Basically the room of students sat amazed so much enthusiasm could be expelled on the typefaces across the page.

When you wonder what's wrong with "them" for not being equally excited, you begin to realize there are issues with your font-love.
posted by fluffycreature at 7:20 PM on April 29, 2004

Count me among the typoholics. I'm absolutely in love with everything Bauhaus at the moment.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:26 PM on April 29, 2004

i wouldn't worry too much about it if you're a typoholic. one of the more renowned typoholics was Stanley Kubrick.

seems like he had his act together.
posted by oog at 7:38 PM on April 29, 2004

You guys are freaks! Weirdos! Perverts!
posted by Hildago at 7:41 PM on April 29, 2004

seems like he had his act together.

Go read about his cats before drawing such a conclusion.
posted by Space Coyote at 8:03 PM on April 29, 2004

tepid monkey, I love jr!hand!!
posted by headspace at 8:07 PM on April 29, 2004

Interesting; I thought I was kind of typonerdy, but it seems I still have a long way to go. Not that it's not worth going the distance ...
posted by carter at 8:23 PM on April 29, 2004

Same here, carter. Can anyone suggest some good resources for font nerdifying myself?
posted by katieinshoes at 8:53 PM on April 29, 2004

We have a cat named Franklin Gothic. Try explaining that one at the vet.
posted by mtevis at 9:15 PM on April 29, 2004

kateinshoes: It's been mentioned before here, but Typophile is the messageboard to go to. Typographica(a weblog) is also good, but updates are sporadic.

As for Kubrick, apparently he was nuts about Futura Extra Bold and other sans faces.
posted by O9scar at 9:45 PM on April 29, 2004

If, like me, one of your pet peeves is people who incorrectly use the words "typeface" and "font" interchangeably, you might be a typoholic.
posted by bradlands at 10:23 PM on April 29, 2004

Back when I worked at the alt-weekly here at the Uni, I was the most exacting when it came to fonts. I would spend hours picking the exact font I wanted for an article. I would fiddle with kerning to make things fit.

Everyone else just wanted to finish before 3.

Then, fortunately, I got fired for putting out a horrible layout after we switched from Quark (which I'd been using for six years) to inDesign (which I'd never heard of until it was on the computers). Nowadays I've forgotten just about everything, except that (a) I still hate Comic Sans and (b) occasionally will stare at ads on the bus for minutes at timestops, trying to figure out just what it is. Now if I could just quit smoking, I'd be totally free.
posted by thecaddy at 11:17 PM on April 29, 2004

y6y6y6: When you realize you have developed contempt for someone based on their font choices, you need help.

Well, I dunno. It annoys me when people (i.e. my brother) spend ages doing really nice graphic design, and then slap the text on in Tahoma or something. Your choice of letterforms is just as much a part of the design and aesthetic of your work as anything else is. Not bothering to look beyond the fonts installed with Internet Explorer is like using PowerPoint clipart in professional design work -- it's lazy and shows a poor understanding of quality.

My brother calls me a 'font nazi'.

Also, I'd like to recommend The Elements of Typographic Style as a beautiful, comprehensive book on typography, which is both understandable to the beginner and useful for the experienced.
posted by chrismear at 12:26 AM on April 30, 2004

FontPlay is a game on the newsgroup alt.binaries.fonts that might be interesting. While the stated goal is to promote freeware fonts, the game includes fonts from almost every source you can think of.
posted by calwatch at 12:44 AM on April 30, 2004

I like to think I care about fonts, but maybe not. I can't work up a good hate for Comic Sans.
posted by LeLiLo at 12:49 AM on April 30, 2004

people who incorrectly use the words "typeface" and "font"

I'm one of them. what's the difference?
posted by Pericles at 2:13 AM on April 30, 2004

I'm reading this great book right now, but it's really hard going because it's set in really badly kerned and tracked Times New Roman. Yeuuuuuch. Nothing screams "written in Word" as loudly as that.
posted by bonaldi at 3:50 AM on April 30, 2004

Typeface is the generally family, font is the specific instance. Arial is a typeface, Arial bold 12pt is a font. And I do hate Comic Sans, but apart from that typography does absolutely nothing for me. Really.
posted by fvw at 5:25 AM on April 30, 2004

"Typeface is the general family"

preview, preview, preview
posted by fvw at 5:26 AM on April 30, 2004

I used to give my roommate the rage by calling him and identifying typefaces on the street and on products.

I first scanned that as "calling him typefaces." Comic Sans is my new insult of choice!

I spent three hours downloading fonts yesterday, and I do know the difference between Arial and Helvetica. (Do You?)
posted by mimi at 5:45 AM on April 30, 2004

I'm a type nerd, but not that far gone, and not that knowledgeable. Because I work on a school tabloid, kerning does come up, because one needs to have space made for screaming headlines.
posted by Gnatcho at 8:11 AM on April 30, 2004


"I ah, I knew I had a problem when i switched my communication device of choice to something else and began sneaking it into the office"
posted by clavdivs at 8:51 AM on April 30, 2004


Thought some here might appreciate the link. I poked around the site for a few minutes, but I'm not really too typoholic myself
posted by tedruxpin at 9:05 AM on April 30, 2004

Arial and Helvetica. (Do You?)
I scored better than average on that test. But I have no clue how I had the ability distinguishing the two. HElp.
posted by thomcatspike at 9:44 AM on April 30, 2004

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