Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Georgia on My Mind

I have been asked lately what was my favorite font... Hmmm... I love my fonts: the simple but stylish like Century Gothic; the bold and thick like Arial Black and Impact; the funky and trendy like Cracked, Curlz, and Mesquite; and the cursive, of course, such as Edwardian Script. They are all wonderful! They all offer something different. But in the end, I would have to go with Georgia for its versatility and elegance. It is a well-known fact that serif fonts are easier to read than sans serif typefaces. Of course, every font has its proper use in the design world, but if I had a large body of text to display, I would forgo the artsy, trendy, and strange for a simple, elegant serif.

"Well, what about Times New Roman, Baskerville, or even Garamond?," you may ask. Why is Georgia so special? Georgia (like Times New Roman and Baskerville) combines the old with the modern but excels in readability because of its large x-height. It is also slightly wider than Times or Baskerville, which gives it a jolly look, I imagine: it has character--sort of like Falstaff or Sir Toby--without being pretentious or artificial. It makes you feel comfortable. Yet it is an elegant font, which is especially apparent in its numerals: unlike the lining figures of Time and Baskerville, Georgia offers old-style figures that are of inconsistent height: some drop below baseline, some soar all the way to cap height. They look playful and frivolous like notes dancing on a music sheet. Yet for all its uniqueness and subtle complexity, it does not draw attention to itself.

Now that I've described my fondness for this particular font it seems to me that our preference in fonts reflects who we are. I look at Georgia, and I want to be like Georgia: elegant, versatile, playful, unpretentious, slightly kooky, but not flashy, and definitely likeable. A font then becomes a magic mirror that, like a loved one, reflects only what is good, virtuous, and admirable within us. It erases all the imperfections of our character, all faults. Perhaps I'm simply pointing at the real function of art: it makes us into better people. It erases the line between what is imaginary and merely desired and what is real. From it springs a Platonic conception of ourselves. So I don't want to be like Mike. I want to be like Georgia.

And this is why I design with Georgia on my mind.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Carnival! Carnival!

Carnival! Carnival! 2011. Acrylic on canvas, 32 in x 32 in.


Detail