You made a deal with the devil to have your idea life, career, and reality… but there is are a few conditions. The first is that you must continue working as a designer to live, and the second is one of the following:
Use Comic Sans (and only Comic Sans) on all projects for the rest of your life.
Always have print projects cut too close from the edge (even when you try to prevent it).
If it’s an ideal life, career and reality I assume you’re getting paid well, your job is rewarding and life is good. If thats the case I picked Comic Sans simply because then you only need to have one font loaded on your computer, you don’t have to worry about people not having the font and it eliminates any font selection decisions (as well as licensing, finding, etc.)
Using Comic Sans for everything, even if you can get away with it, makes the world a poorer place. I could not bring myself to do it.
Having things cut too close is fashionable right now, but fashions change. You could explain it away as retro later but for a while it would look too naff. During that time, blame it on the print finishers
Hobo has always made me cringe to the point of averting my eyes when I see it. It was designed by Morris Fuller Benton. who also designed Franklin Gothic — one of my all-time favorite and useful typefaces.
I think each of the typefaces you mentioned has its place. It’s just that most of them ended up on everyone’s computers to be repeatedly used and misused for the past 30 years. It seems that just about the worst thing that can happen to a typeface’s reputation is to be included in an operating system’s default lists of fonts.
Although, they’re not typically ridiculed, I rarely use the venerated Helvetica and Times Roman for that very reason — they’re everywhere and became ubiquitous with ordinary.
I’m the exact opposite. I often use Helvetica and Times Roman because of their familiarity, especially when I don’t want the typestyle to compete with the imagery. Maybe I should attempt to brand myself as the world’s most generic graphic designer.
Helvetica and Times Roman have become equated (in my mind) with ordinary in the sense of dull, overused, mundane or banal. Others will disagree, of course.
There are similar typefaces with generic personalities, like Fruitiger, Roboto and Minion, that are still mostly neutral in appearance without having the baggage that accumulates from being operating system fonts (yet).
The baggage being exactly what I’ve been referring to — the unfortunate result of two wonderfully designed typefaces having been made commonplace by the overuse of those typefaces (and look-alikes, like Arial) for every run-of-the-mill project ever produced by amateurs with a copy of MSWord and who headed straight to their default fonts that came with their computers.
When you mentioned operating systems, I thought you were referring to a technical problem instead. I guess you were referring to the human operating systems of cultures and trends.
When it comes to making technical choices, I sometimes deliberately choose Arial for compatibility. Embarrassingly, It’s been over a decade since I’ve gotten a client sexy enough to care about much more than compatibility with fonts. I’ve avoided using web fonts for the same reason.
When I choose Helvetica and Times Roman, I’m only thinking readability. Any other fonts I choose are deliberately for their unique personality. Fruitiger, Roboto and Minion don’t seem unique enough for me to ever choose them over Helvetica. Hopefully, subtle differences like that will never make the difference on a job interview.
I agree generally with your statement, but I have to add to it that, sometimes, ‘ordinary’ is just what is called for, depending on the project. I think of it as simplicity in intent. Sure, I know you aren’t saying the only font choices are ‘flashy’ ones. I’m going to assume that we can both agree on the fact that there are many subtle and yet powerful font family selections for a brand to choose from that are neither tacky nor overdone. However, sometimes, a more ‘ordinary’ or under-the-radar feel is what’s appropriate for a brand or project.
I really like it when a branding element as important as font/type treatment can get away with being a more or less ‘right under your nose’ option. For me, it’s kind of like the idea of a Hobbit saving the world.
I’m referring to computer operating systems, like Windows or the Mac OS. The fonts I’m referring to are default fonts that have been included with those operating systems since they were first released.
Yes, we agree. That was pretty much the point I was making when I mentioned lesser-used alternative neutral faces, like Frutiger, Roboto and Minion among many others. I totally agree there’s an important place for these kinds of neutral faces that are so malleable that they tend to take on the personality of whatever layout they happen to be in.
For that matter, I’ll go one step further and say that the most useful typefaces are generally those with neutral personalities. However, Helvetica and Times Roman, despite their well-designed neutral personalities, also carry with them the burden by association with being the default, go-to fonts for a huge part of the world’s badly designed printed materials and websites.