Can normal type be interesting?

3pointross's picture

I sometimes wonder if people start to dislike a font simply because they see it so often. Times New Roman is the classic case.

Comments

ybaggar's picture

I never get bored with my old friends, but always happy to get new ones!

CreativeJournal.net's picture

There's no such thing as boring type. Only boring designers.

Rez Oo's picture

"There’s no such thing as boring type. Only boring designers."

I like that. :D

CreativeJournal.net's picture

Why, thank you!

paul d hunt's picture

There’s no such thing as boring type. Only boring designers.

i don't buy it. it's like saying there are no boring movies, no boring songs, no boring novels, no boring architecture... (choose your own metaphor)

that said, times can be interesting depending on how you use it, but because it is a "default font" in this digital era, it has lost much of its meaning and personality simply because of overuse. i think you'd have to use times (helvetica, gill sans, palatino, &c.) very well to make it look interesting these days. i concede that not everything has to be interesting, but rarely do you want your design to be downright dull, which is the problem of using overused fonts.

CreativeJournal.net's picture

paul, I hear you, but the problem with your metaphor is that while songs, movies, architecture are all forms of art, as typefaces are, they are not tools to achieve a final design, they are the final designs. Type is a tool of design. Type is the notes of a song - that can be stretched and pulled and organized to make a song, not the song itself. It is up to the artist to mold, alter, and design how that type appears. And if they just take an overused generic typeface right out of the box and lay it on the page, then yeah, kinda dull. But that's not the typeface's fault. It's the designers. Thoughts?

paul d hunt's picture

the problem with metaphors is that they're metaphors. a typeface is neither a song nor a note. you can liken a typeface to a tool, but a tool that leaves an unmistakable impression on the work it creates. maybe it is more like an ingredient in a cake, but sometimes a particular face can be the flour (a necessity) or it can be a pinch of spice (a luxury that makes the whole oh-so-much nicer). so you can say type is like this or like that, but type is type. and taste is taste.
perhaps, though, you're right: it matters more how a typeface is used than the actual form of the typeface. perhaps i feel times is boring simply because most times i see it is en masse at a range of 10-12 pts on some regular leading. i'm sure there are other settings of times that could make it look fresh.

bowfinpw's picture

Only a typophile would be likely to ask this question. For most people, who are not obsessed with type, it is just something you read. If you can read it without distraction, or difficulty, then it is 'good type'. 'Like' or 'dislike' rarely enters into the mind -- it is the printed matter that absorbs the attention. I can still recall a time when I never thought about what typeface was used. It was just 'type'.

However, when you can't read something without noticing the letters themselves and how they look on the page, then over-familiarity may make you frown inside, and say to yourself 'borrring', until you actually stop studying the no longer interesting typeface, and begin to read what it was used to say.

For me, I like variety, so a too-familiar typeface is uninteresting (maybe a better way to say it than boring). Often a familiar type at a larger size will show me things I didn't appreciate about it before, but as Paul says, at normal sizes it just becomes 'type' and not really a 'typeface'.

- Mike Yanega

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