Re: Good font combination story

Subject: Re: Good font combination story
From: Mike Starr <mike -at- writestarr -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Wed, 19 May 2010 09:35:41 -0500

<channeling Andrew Plato>"Okay, enough with the font fondling... get back to work, you!"</channeling Andrew Plato>


For day-to-day documentation needs I don't see the value of investing large amounts of time, effort and budget "font fondling". Are the vast majority of users going to think less of your company if you use Arial and Times New Roman? Will they even notice? If I produce documentation with Word and it doesn't achieve kerning perfection will there be a sudden influx of font-issue calls to the support line? We're not producing coffee-table books for the graphic design MFA set.

However, I am in favor of such things being specified by the corporate style guide. I do believe that it's important for everything published by a corporation to have a consistent typographic approach. But when specifying these sorts of things at a corporate level, one also needs to consider that Haektenrutiger Demi-Bold (a made-up font name) might be a lovely font that really expresses the corporate image but at $199 per seat for a license and with 200 staff members across the enterprise involved in publicly available documents, that's a pretty large font budget and perhaps Arial Black might work pretty well for free. Not only that but it might not be possible to display Haektenrutiger Demi-Bold in HTML for the average visitor to the corporate website.
Mike Starr WriteStarr Information Services
Technical Writer - Online Help Developer - Technical Illustrator
Graphic Designer - Desktop Publisher - MS Office Expert
(262) 694-1028 - mike -at- writestarr -dot- com -

On 5/19/2010 8:58 AM, McLauchlan, Kevin wrote:
> Ed sed:
>> Since this has come up recently:
>> Four techniques for combining fonts
> Hmm. Doesn't a "technique" presuppose the ability to
> actually discern one from another?
> I don't have it.
> Reading the descriptions after each example, I was
> reminded of the pretentious claptrap (much parodied)
> that used to pass for wine reviews in many places.
> "Insouciant at the start, with a droll finish..."
> I could sorta see "solid" as an attribute of a
> given font family. Perhaps "light"... perhaps even
> "crisp"... but .... "Lyrical" ... come ON!
> "Debonair"? Get real! A font?
> Perhaps somebody who does nothing else all day for
> years must develop a sensitivity that allows them
> to pick out the attributes. Probably that person
> also needs the same in-built sensibility that makes
> for a good graphic designer.
> As not either one of those, I can't reliably tell
> Helvetica from Arial from Verdana... in bright light...
> with the wind at my back... down-hill...
> I'm curious, though, how many people actually
> can spot a given font in a crowd. Especially a
> crowd of what the unwashed would regard as similar
> faces.
> Of course, in the spirit of "I might not know much
> about art, but I know what I like", good typography
> seems to just hang together in a pleasing way. It's
> the 'what' of that pleasingness that escapes me in
> individual situations. Yes, of course you could
> point to an example and explain it to me... and
> there's a chance that you would not sound entirely
> like Charlie Brown's teacher while doing so. :-)
> Am I alone?
> - K

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Good font combination story: From: Ed
RE: Good font combination story: From: McLauchlan, Kevin

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