Fonts

Does anyone else obsess about fonts? I mean, I know there are graphics designers and various other people who go nuts about them, but I’m wondering in general is a large portion of population or just clustered around my friends?

While I have fonts that I go to, and I enjoy the Macklemore song where he calls out “Gold Fonts”, I don’t really know as much about them as I feel I should. Fonts are so powerful. They help words take shape. They can help you easily identify words or make text incredibly hard to read. As someone with a reading disability, pattern recognizing a signature of word is a trick I use to read a little bit faster. Good fonts can help that, bad fonts can hurt that.

I had a realization the other day (I think the shower), that I want to change my lack of real understanding around fonts. I want to study and understand them. I want to know Font Families by name and style.

Lets start with one font that I’ve discovered and now paid for a professional license for. MonoLisa is a mono spaced font that I’ve set up as the default in all my editors. It is cleaner and easier to read. It is not free, but it’s worth paying for good things, even digital things. Hopefully soon I’ll find a way to tie it into the code boxes that I have on this site, but in the mean time. This font is helping my day to day in my various editors. It’s a mono spaced font, meaning that each character takes up the same amount of space on the x axis. This makes columns as you line up you type. Not all fonts have the same spacing for all letters.

Here is another reason why this is important to me. I have had a reading a writing disability that was diagnosed around the 3rd grade. I’m not sure, but it feels like one of my tactics for getting around this is memorizing word shapes. Fonts do affect the shapes of words, so some fonts are more readable for me and others are not.

So next up, becoming a type master. I have a lot of learning to do. What is the difference between a font and typeface? How does one pick the perfect kerning for a set of lettering? I have a bunch of typefaces to learn about.

Let me know if you have any tips, suggestions, or favorite fonts!

Westport Lobster Fest

A couple weeks ago my brother approached me to help him with building a website for Westport Rotary’s Lobster Fest. I obliged and helped build the site at: The Rotary’s Website.

I started off by sketching a lobster in Paper:

Then I started thinking, my goals in creating the site were:

  • Provide more style than the standard rotary site
  • Keep Westport Rotary looking professional, while still allowing the Lobster Fest to be fun
  • Make the site clean and readable
  • Use their Point of Sale (POS) system from Authorize.net

In case they take it down, you can see it on my projects. For a look at where it started you can see the old page here.

All in all, I feel it is a big improvement. Here are some other things I would have done if I decided to spend more time on it:

  • Use graphics to highlight the date (calendar), time(clock), and location(pin) on the page
  • Provide maps to the locations to buy the tickets in person (though it is a relatively small town and this probably isn’t needed)
  • Add the Rotary Logo
  • Take some credit by putting my name at the bottom

Designing

I let you in on a little secret. Part of me wants to be a designer. I wish I could draw. I wish I could be very creative and be a professional creative. One problem, I’m really not that good.

I saw this video on Youtube that gives me just a small ray of hope that maybe someday my skills will improve:

Basically the gist of the video is that everyone goes through a phase of work that they know sucks. It takes years of practice to get past this phase and get to a point where we are good. My problem is that I spend so much time looking for perfect, when good enough will do.

Font: Engravers Gothic Bold

I’m starting a new category, and while technically it should be called a typeface, I’m using fonts. I’m a fan of typography. I think all great designers are. I’m not a great designer, but I have aspirations of being a better one than I am now. Anyway, I see fonts that I enjoy I will be mentioning them here for documentation purposes and hopefully to help others.

I recently ordered some boxer shorts from J. Crew. I received them and was caught by the typography on the belly-band. Here it is:

There were some things that I really enjoyed about this label, especially in the font face. I really like the shape of the capital “B” where the top bubble is slightly smaller the bottom. Almost as if it is sitting on top. I like the width of the “R” as well. Gives the letter almost a subtle strength feeling.

It took a couple of attempts at What the Font to get a font that I think would be a good candidate for this font. I think it is Engravers Gothic Bold. Looks like a very nice font.

Merlin Mann on Creativity Patterns

A lot of my posts recently have just been posts about interesting things I have read on other people’s websites. This is another one of those posts. I’ve been catching up on 43Folders.com recently and quite captured by Merlin Mann.

Today I say his video on Creativity Patterns. This video changed my entire personal perspective, about myself and about my abilities at least for the day. He’s a great speaker and the concept is motivating. Check it out if you haven’t, and consider reading/watching more of Merlin if you have the time.