How do you deal with rolling eyes?

Dan Gayle's picture

We've all been through it. We're out at dinner. We're ordering our food. Looking at the menu you notice, Hey, they used Triplex Serif for the design. Cool.

They say What? You look up and reply, You know, the font. They used Triplex Serif for the font. It's from Emigre.

And then the eyes start rolling.

Your date/friends/waitress think you're a massive dork, and you hang your head in shame. The end.

Happens to me just about every day, and I'm used to it. My friends are used to it also. They've accepted the fact that I'm a font nerd and sometimes, SOMETIMES, they even ask me to I.D. one for them.

So, how do you deal with the rolling eyes? And what is your typical response?

dezcom's picture

Hang in there Ricardo, tomorrow will be a better day.


ultrasparky's picture

Pattyfab, I'm so pleased someone else finally spoke up about that Knitting Factory logo. I remember one show where it kept distracting me the whole time, despite how good the show itself was.

littlelee's picture

Im still studying my diploma for graphic design, and i've never been prouder to recognize font when im out. It means that ive actually learnt and retained information ive been taught!
Who cares...They're only rolling their eyes because they feel threatened by your knowledge. mindless people!

Ricardo Cordoba's picture

If anybody needs some typo-cheering (and we all need it once in a while), check out Armin Vit's recent and excellent Speak Up post: My TypoWeek. I guarantee that when you reach the end, you will feel empowered. :-)

muzzer's picture

I just tell them to **** off for being so rude! I don't roll my eys when people are talking to me about their interests and expect them to do the same.


timd's picture

“She rolled her eyes, I rolled them back”
Groucho Marks?

Over here the police ride ST1300s (or 1100s) (aka Pan Europeans), how red-faced would that copper have been? I can bore on several subjects, bikes are one of them.


dezcom's picture

Tim, he was just being a stick-in-the mud :-)


Paul Cutler's picture

I see he definitely doesn't want his boots to get dirty… :)


dezcom's picture

Maybe he saw too many old gangster movies where they talked about fitting someone for cement shoes? :-)


Linda Cunningham's picture

Or as one of my fave lines from ST:TOS goes "concrete galoshes" (Bonus points for episode and who spoke the line....) ;-)

kristin's picture

I remember walking into the French Meadow Bakery in Minneapolis with a graphic designer. Their menu is located on a black chalk board hanging about 15 feet up on the wall.

The coffee listings were all in brick-red chalk on a black background. My friend commented: "If I hadn't had any yet, I sure as hell wouldn't be able to order the coffee here!"

dezcom's picture

Linda, I don't even know what "ST:TOS" means let alone get the bonus points! :-)

Maybe their coffee was a Red-eye?


Linda Cunningham's picture

Star Trek: The Original Series -- heck, Chris, you're old enough to have seen it in the original run. ;-)

Kristina Drake's picture

@ Tim : Ouch, that's no way to treat a Honda. Yeah, that doesn't look like a 1300. The blue lady is much sexier than that. Then again, it's not ever easy to be sexy with both feet in concrete.

@ Chris : We started the official countdown last night. He-who-says-ARRR was driving his tracker like he was riding the ST. We figure she'll be out mid-April. :) But a week ago, we saw some poor, abused Honda parked on a street corner in a snowstorm, at -20. The neglectful owner hadn't even covered it. We *both* cringed as we passed.

dezcom's picture

See the original run! I auditioned for the original run! I was turned down for the part of Spock because I was too old for the part! :-P


Linda Cunningham's picture


I need to enrol in the 12-step program for typographic addiction. Ran a longish errand this afternoon here by walking for 90 minutes in -30C windchill, and on my way home, I spotted a new sign in the trendy shopping area that borders the 'hood.

"Ah," thought I, "Optima: Chris hates Optima." As I got closer, I realized that it indeed had a very small serif and was, in fact, not Optima. So I stood there for a good five minutes, trying to figure out what it was, and thinking about going home to get my camera, take a picture, and post it up on the Type ID Board. (And I still haven't figured it out it yet!).

"My name is Linda, and I'm addicted to type."

Bruce's picture

Back in the mid-90s I took part in a Usenet group for people who were interested in vinyl LP records. It was called Analogue Addicts. Unfortunately it developed some internal disputes (not as respectful and balanced a community as Typophile seems to be) and fragmented. But back in the glory days I suggested that we call ourselves Analogue Addicts -- A 12-Inch Program.

Paul Cutler's picture

> (not as respectful and balanced a community as Typophile seems to be)

Must have been scary indeed! :)


Jackie Frant's picture

Hey Chris -

Marvin Kommel was more than 20 years my senior. He was a competitor - and in the last few years of his life, a true friend.

My frog loving friend was Jame R. Harris - aka Jimmy. He was once the art director of trade books for Ballantine - and later the art director for Perigee and River something or other for Berkley Books, part of Penguin USA.

When I go to my local Barnes & Noble now - I am sadden how so many books look the same. The designers do not seem to do as much handtailoring or handlettering as they use to - and so much of it looks -- well, the same.

And yes Chris - fact of life - as you get older, you lose loved ones... no getting around it -- unless you are in to the alternative... and I'm not - fortunately, I have a very nice life - and as you can see, two very sweet, loving doggies :)


You know, I never thought of it that way. A subliminal experience. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone ever describe design in that way. I guess that good typography is supposed to be invisible. Something to catch your eye, but also to let go so you actually read it.
But what is wrong in cracking the illusion?

That is what we have headline (display) type for... body copy - nice grays, nothing that makes you turn away... headline - for the designer in us all...


Bruce, I wish I did know your friend. He was out of the city before I opened Gryphon. I was on E. 46, then E. 44, then W. 28 and then E. 43 -- just about 20 years of moving around...
Hope he is still with us - we've lost so many good ones...

brampitoyo's picture

Paul Cutler said:
Film is the most important thing in the world to them and I understand. But they should understand that I only like film for enjoyment and couldn’t care less about their adroit analysis.

Replace "film" with "typography" and you got the perfect description for all of us :-)

Now, on the subject, my advertising buddies will usually say either "Nice serif... What font was it set in, Bram?" or "Okay, let's keep on walking here".

On rare occasion they would throw crappy pickup lines like "Baby, you got the perfect baseline" or suggestive remarks like "Kern me tight!"

Them copywriters :-)

Raphael Daudelin's picture

It's funny because I've been reading all the previous posts, and I think that when I talk about type to most of my friends who aren't familiar to typesetting and type design, they seem interested.

Me and my partner have a theory to explain the lack of knowledge on type design. In a movie the stars are the actors and the director, though people are aware that someone has been paid to design the set, another one to do the lighting, another to work on the special effects and so on. What is more complicated with type is that almost everybody has learned to write. The act of writting is given to almos everyone, which makes it natural. The other thing is that: it comes with the computer, it's already in it when you buy it. Who would imagine that someone designed it.

I think that being passionate about something allows you to talk about almost anything and be interesting, unless you're trying to brainwash your audience. For example, I always tought curling was so boring. Until a friend of mine who is a curling passionate, explain me in a bar, drawing the ice with coasters, the rules and the issues of playing curling. You know what? I'll probably go give it a try.

Dan Gayle's picture

My roomate has gotten to the point now that he'll see a funky typeface and mock me.

"You see that? That's a second century Baroni middle-face with very long extensions made by the Dutch master painter Vermeer's cousin. You can tell by the size of the big F. Very rare. Very rare."

dezcom's picture

Typography freaks are very tame compared to dancers. While in graduade school, I shared a house with 6 dancers. All they EVER talked about was movement (and injuries). The women didn't even talk about clothes and the guys only mention of sports was to discuss kinds of movement they could borrow for a dance routine. If I were gesturing to try to describe something design related, they would start talking about the gesture and not about design.


Ricardo Cordoba's picture

They needed this t-shirt, Chris!


dezcom's picture

Yes Ricardo! They would have taken all that "silly Lettering" off though :-)


Chris Rugen's picture

I admit, I point things like that out. Partly because it's fun, but also partly to demonstrate how pervasive type really is. I agree with David that there are times where it's supposed to be subconscious, but that certainly doesn't apply all of the time. Type can have a great deal of character and presence. I, as a designer, capitalize on that regularly.

But I never expect people to care too much about font geekery, and I keep it to a casual statement. A lot of times people crack jokes, and occasionally someone asks me to elaborate, but many of my friends are more type-conscious/-sensitive now as a result. You can't really make people care, but you can open a few eyes. If you're at a party and two people out of twenty think "hmm, that's interesting, I never thought of that", then they take that awareness with them. Perhaps you're saving another graphic designer a headache, or even creating a font license sale for some indie font designer down the road.

But if someone actually rolls their eyes, I usually tell them "I admit, it's a subtle thing, but both god and the devil are in the details, so type designers are keeping some pretty interesting company."

Dan Gayle's picture

You're right. My roommate now knows how much work goes into a typeface, and that there are indeed hard working people who put many long hours into even the simplest of typefaces. I'm sure that he would never steal a typeface conscientiously via filesharing, etc., because of that.

Of course, he said he'll never buy a font, since I already have a ton of them. He says it's like sharing a cd or something.

dezcom's picture

Some might say it is more like sharing a tooth brush :-)


PublishingMojo's picture

Here's how much of a type geek I am: I stumbled on this forum while researching what years the Boston Police used Futura Black on its patrol cars (thanks, Bruce), so I could include in a comment I was making about a 1929 Chinese restaurant ad posted on a food/cooking blog. If that doesn't make their eyes roll, they're dead.
Type geek heaven is the Society of Printers (hi, Bruce), a 104-year-old Boston institution where you can start a dinner conversation about the difference between Electra Cursive and Electra Italic and not one of the 100 eyes in the room will roll.

John Hudson's picture

'Waiter, can I have a menu set in a different typeface please?'

speter's picture

"Waiter, there's a hairline in my soup. I specifically asked for no Bodoni."

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