On geekiness

13 August, 2010

For the past few months, I’ve been taking a continuing education course in Typography, and it feels so good to finally have validation for my sincere love of all things related to letters. I’ve even found my own affection for typography downright dwarfed by other people’s obsession with the world of typefaces and word-spacing. I dream of em dashes, ascenders and descenders, and I am happy.

I fear I may have recently stumbled into irreversible typography geek territory though, as I was working on a simple kerning homework assignment. The assignment was to typeset my name in UPPERCASE, lowercase and Title Case in several different typefaces, all properly kerned. I find these assignments are completely zen, therapeutic, on the verge of religious.

As I kerned to my heart’s content, I found myself humming, and at first paid no attention to the tune, until I heard myself singing. So far away… Doesn’t anybody stay in one place, anymore? I froze. I was singing Carole King to the letters in my name, as I nudged them nearer to each other to create the perfect letterspaced fit. In retrospect, I was probably crooning to the ‘y’ as I inched it a fraction of a millimeter at a time closer to the ‘d’ that precedes it. (The poor ‘y’ is constantly left dangling alone at the end of my name, like a lone, cold foot that sticks out of the covers, forgotten. Get in there, little ‘y.’ Keep warm with the first four letters of my name.)

As I was recovering from the realization that I was singing folk tunes to a computer screen, I thought about how the letters in my name – all 19 of them (plus 2 word spaces) – fit together. As I kerned them in Clarendon, I hated them. When I kerned them in Bodoni Poster Italic, I loved them enormously. I realized then that should I ever have children, the decision of what to name them, a process which already would likely take the entire nine months prior to their birth, would be further complicated by the requisite that each and every letter in their name compliment and kern well with the one before it (for example, I don’t love the way the ‘y’ and ‘s’ interact in my middle name, but can hardly begrudge my parents that. They just didn’t know better). Ideally, any offspring’s name would also contain at least one ligature, but I’m flexible on which one (although “fi” is my favorite).

And then, the truth set in. I have been infected with this ultimate geek bug, an affliction that will thrive as I am constantly assaulted with both the beautiful and horrific type design choices that surround me.

Thank god, there is no cure.

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One Response to “On geekiness”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by FearOfSyndication, FearOfSyndication. FearOfSyndication said: In which I embrace my typo-geek. https://fearofsyndication.wordpress.com/2010/08/13/on-geekiness/ […]

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