Inert Detritus The Internet's dust bunnies

10 October 2007 @ 6pm

A Typographic Moment

Over the past few weeks, I’ve start­ed down the slip­pery slope of learn­ing more about typog­ra­phy. I’ve sub­scribed to the RSS feed for ILoveTy­pog­ra­phy, and I’ve final­ly got­ten my hands on The Ele­ments of Typo­graph­ic Style, by Robert Bringhurst.

Today, I had my first typo­graph­ic moment. A night­mare, some may con­sid­er it.

I’m sit­ting in a long, dark lec­ture hall in Don­ald­son Brown, lis­ten­ing to my pro­fes­sor drone on about long-term asset depre­ci­a­tion and sell­ing equi­ty stakes. I’m in the midst of read­ing The Ele­ments of Typo­graph­ic Style when I look up and see the following:

  1. Ari­al, 44 pt: a title for a slide, speak­ing to “Return on Assets Ratio”
  2. Tahoma, 28 pt, bold: a boxed para­graph describ­ing why we need said ratio
  3. Ari­al, 24 pt, bold: a boxed para­graph describ­ing the mean­ing of the ratio

I exam­ined the tops of the “t“s, find­ing Ari­al’s sig­na­ture slope, and the end of the “e“s, find­ing that obnox­ious slop­ing once more. I look down, eyes flit­ting over the Tahoma font, com­par­ing it to Ari­al, flit­ting back up, when it jumps out at me: my god, that title kern­ing is ter­ri­ble! The cap­i­tal R and low­er­case e are prac­ti­cal­ly in sep­a­rate words, and the t and i are on top of each oth­er, run­ning away from the a.

And that’s when it struck me: I’ve become a typog­ra­phy geek.