To most people, typefaces are pretty insignificant. Yet to their devotees, they are the most important feature of text, giving subliminal messages that can either entice or revolt readers, says Tom de Castella.
When Avatar, the biggest grossing movie of all time was released, one section of the audience was immediately outraged. Graphic designers hated it. Why? They didn’t like the font that director James Cameron had chosen for the subtitles.
“I hated it on the posters and then threw up a little in my mouth when I realised I would have to read that ugly font throughout the film in the subtitles,” one blogger commented. “After the hundreds of millions of dollars spent on CG effects, did he just run out of money for a decent graphic designer?”
And yet fonts are not just for geeks. Otherwise why would organisations around the world spend so much time and money changing their typeface?
Typeface or font?
* A typeface is the specific letterform design of an alphabet
* A font is a collection of all the characters of a typeface, including capital letters and lowercase letters, numerals and punctuation marks
* For letterpress printing, using hot metal, a font was produced for every size and style of typeface, but today fonts are delivered as a digital software file that caters for all sizes of a typeface
* That is why the words font and typeface are often interchanged
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