Humane Pursuits contributor Gracy Olmstead wrote this thought-provoking piece over at The American Conservative. An excerpt:
Fonts are a form of both visual and literary communication: they capture our attention, and help us to feast on words’ beautiful presentation. They can increase our focus, influence our reading “mood,” or remind us of things like tax forms and picture books. There is often an aura either of dignity or whimsy that accompanies a font, and thus a variety of appropriate situations corresponding to each. Fonts are integral to storytelling and communication—they build our language, communicate our ideas. They draw or repel the eye, depending on their shape, size, and other attributes. Font choices can make or break a story. If we use an inappropriate font, to the story or situation, we run the risk of, at best, losing our readers’ attention, and at worst, opening ourselves up to mockery. This should be evident from the abuse that has been heaped on Comic Sans over the years—it’s quite easy for people to hate a font, or for a font to go out of style.
Nonetheless, each font is an artistic statement. It takes words, and turns them into art. It makes language beautiful to the eye as well as the ear. And despite the millions of fonts in existence, still others—each with their own variety of vintage and modern influences—enter the typographic world every day.
Brian Brown loves building the environments, habits, and networks that make people thrive. He is the founder of Humane Pursuits, where he writes a featured column and edits the Give channel. He started his consulting company, Narrator, to help great mission-driven organizations modernize and grow. He lives with his wife Christina and son Edmund in Colorado Springs, where they mix cocktails, hunt for historic architecture, and see how many people they can squeeze into their house for happy hour.