24 February 2011

If fonts were programming languages

If fonts were programming languages, this is what they'd be...
Helvetica - The C Programming Language. It's old, completely overused, and yet also the best solution to many problems.

Times - C++. This is also grossly overused, and is the second best choice for any large tasks.

Courier - Fortran. This font is old and reliable and we're going to be stuck with it for a long time.

Chicago - Lisp. It's quirky, old, and used in many surprising places.

Computer Modern - Fortress. A mathematical and beautiful font, but pedantic.

Garamond - Java. This font sure seems a lot like Times. Not used quite as much, and has some new flaws and quirks of its own.

Palatino - C#. This font is like Garamond, but some things like that uppercase-P just aren't connected. This makes it attractive for some users, and appalling to others.

New Century Schoolbook - Smalltalk. Initially, this font looks like it's for kids, but it's both serious and playful.

Comic Sans - Python. You wouldn't think that this font was serious, but it's used in a surprisingly large number of contexts. And it's a safer choice than it would appear at first.

Zapf Dingbats - Perl. This font is useful for patching things together. If you need that special symbol to make your sub-sub-bulleted list, this is your ad hoc solution.

LED Marquee - Javascript. This font is the unsung hero. Many times it's used improperly, making things overly flashy and distracting, but it's also sometimes the only venue for transferring very important information.