Cromer, Norfolk NR27 9HE

What the Hell is Typography?

This is the question I’ve been getting alot lately, usually coming right after I explain what, exactly, my blog is all about these days. And, if I’ve talked to you any time within the last month, it’s pretty much an absolute certainty that I’ve talked to you about my blog.

“Typography is, well, all about fonts, really, you know, type. It’s about the design aspects of type, how fonts interact with each other and with design elements, and… well, here.” At this point I take out a business card that I had made up for free online that say ‘Chris Hoke – Agent of Evil’ (They were a real hit at the family reunion.) and I write a website address on the back of it.

“Here,” I continue, handing the card to the 16-year-old blonde girl who’s just finished mixing up my Peanut-Butter-Cup-Perfection at Cold Stone, “that’s the website address for ilovetypography.com . It’ll explain it better and it’s a great place to start.”

“Uh, yeah. Thanks. I’m just gonna file that… over here…” She says, backing away slowly.

I think my love for typography came about when I first realized that there was such a thing as typography. When you first start out doing design work, most likely on a flyer for a party, you realize what a big part typeface plays in the overall feel of a project. You can change the whole design by changing the font, make it whimsical or serious, make it futuristic or antiquated, trendy or classic, conservative or batshit insane. You start experimenting.

I remember, once, haha, I accidentally mixed Times New Roman and Bookman Old Style in the same flyer, because I couldn’t tell the difference! Hoo-boy, was my face red! Err, sorry. I’ll try my best to tuck it back. Moving on…

From then on, I just started looking at fonts. I started playing with fonts, staring at fonts, dreaming of fonts. I started trying to identify fonts I saw on posters and in advertising and on t-shirts. I started trying to design my own fonts. (Failed miserably, of course. It’s on par, difficulty-wise, with teaching, say, a cougar about String Theory.) I began to design my projects AROUND certain fonts.

Then I discovered that I could download many fonts, for free, online. This is when my fascination with type became unhealthy. I’ve got literally THOUSANDS of fonts that I browse through every time I need to do a design project, although I tend to use classic fonts most. I buy fonts. I spend more money on fonts than a person who’s not a professional typesetter should. I collect typeographically themed art. I judge people based on their font choices and mock signs. But the worst? The worst thing I do?

I try to make my handwriting resemble certain fonts. Most notably like Laffayette Comic Pro.

Forgive me.

Anyway, recently two loves of mine, tattoos and typography, came together. What, you didn’t know that I like tattoos? Yeah, I’ve got 4 of ‘em. Now ya know. A friend of a friend who’s a fellow website designer got a tattoo of a classic serif/sans-serif example (from a 19th century schoolbook) on his forearm. Coolest thing ever.

And, if these two things on opposite sides of the geek/badass spectrum can come together as one, perhaps there’s hope for the world yet

Just maybe…

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