Typecast?

Have you been out font-shopping recently? I must admit I haven’t been.

Its not the fear of the overcrowded shelves or the shopfloor, or even the delay at the checkouts. Or spending too much time at your favourite shelf – of sans serifs or those block egyptiennes. Its just that time- slips out of our hands like fine white sands.

But grab a moment and have a look at Font Shop – a great resource, and almost after a year or maybe more, the site looks fresh, relevant and unobtrusive.

The new fonts (typefaces if you will, please) and the most popular fonts are great for the designer ‘on the run’ – a quick check on where fonts are headed for in a post-Brody, post-Carson, post-post-modernist era. The best feature, though, has to be the type navigator. I have often asked my friends in the past to help me recall a name – trying to draw or detail typefaces in the process. Its a bit like a Pictionary with types – just that in this particular instance even you yourself can’t recall the name. And likewise, we have all struggled to put a name to the face or a face to the name. But the the type navigator is a great help in sticky situations like these – it is an intuitive way and promises a few happy accidents on the way.

Choose by form, font or designer – though it has to be the form search option that is appealing to the typographer in us all. The form gives a number of choices – in terms of weight, width, serifs or sans, angle, axis – and voila – at the end of it comes a list of your fonts. Some completely off from what you imagined it to be – but worth a go. I suppose its far more exciting out seeing and shopping for fonts rather than read my essays, jump to the type navigator.