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Faizuddin Shariff Mohammed

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What makes typography great?

What are the key ingredients that make typography great? What makes fonts memorable? What makes them stick in our minds? What allows them to create mental associations in our mind?

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  • Aug 14 2013: Hi Faizuddin!
    I worked as a graphic designer for years, and depending on the usage, a font needs to be either neutral, or have a certain amount of 'personality'. Mixing too many fonts on one layout is a big no-no, so is combining too many font sizes.
    It's all about clarity and legibility. Serif or sans... I find that a serif font often has a more serious tone than a sans. A sans, on the other hand, is often more legible due to the amount of space between the letters.

    When asking what makes a font great, I wonder, what makes a font NOT great?
    Are you aware of the controversy behind the 'world's worst font', Comic Sans?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comic_Sans
    Two graphic designers, Dave and Holly Combs, have even launched a website to ban it:
    http://bancomicsans.com/main/
    So according to many people, this is a font that is ugly, over-used, and even offensive when used inappropriately, like on informative posters about cancer and letters from the Pope, for example. Why?
    It seems its ubiquitous use combined with its 'bright-eyed and busy-tailed' character was eventually responsible for its downfall...

    The BBC makes some interesting points about fonts here:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-10689931
    "A good typeface creates an emotional response in relation to the message it is conveying. You're trying to get that tone of voice right - you can shout or whisper. And you want to sum up the spirit of the age, because they do date quite quickly."
    Well-used fonts appeal to our senses, our emotions, (and in many cases, our pocketbooks).

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