While a strange question to ask, it may reflect or reveal something about your personality. When viewing an interesting use of a font, I appreciate good choices of typography in the design or logo. I can’t claim to “geek out” as many designers I know. Time and again I usually find myself asking the same questions about what I recognize. If I don’t recognize the font, I wonder about the choices made and the ‘why’. In that situation, I daydream about switching one font for another. In a way, it is like thinking about choices on a menu and wondering what dish might be the best choice.
Let’s start with a little quick history of typography. Type (as we observe it in modern times) has one general purpose: a standardization of written words with uniformly recognized characters. A typeface is a unique design of the letters and symbols; a group of similar fonts. A font is a specific style and weight. Typefaces are the family and fonts are the individuals. Typefaces over time were developed to aid the person reading any printed materials with words. This mechanical development came to print the written word. Have you heard of Johannes Gutenberg? He invented the modern printing press during the Renaissance period. It changed how and what could be printed in a much quicker way than carving a single woodblock limited to a single page (the Chinese had been printing using woodblock technology since the Tang Dynasty). The benefit to ‘movable type’ was that carved letters could be assembled to form any words needed–this and they could be used again and again. Type foundries were created to carve, manufacture, and sell the letters carved into tiny squares of metal or wood. Today, it is all done by keystroke and words form just as fast as you can type each letter!
If I were a font which one might I be? It is interesting to ask yourself and really think about it (and I have many times since taking my first typography class in college). I am a rather plain and practical font, not fancy or gaudy, more to the simple and reserved status, clean yet refined. While I might say that I am in a distinct trade, I can fill the hats of many different needs. While I can be analytical, there is an artistic flipside to that. Given all those factors, I would come up with a short list. I would pick Helvetica. While not my favorite typeface, it is a practical reserve to always fall back on. It’s not very exciting, but it can be used to pull off some amazing things. Many company logos and signs on the street are made with it. And Helvetica Neue added several new weights to the family including light, thin, and ultra-light which work in high-end design.
I have enjoyed many sans-serif fonts throughout my design career. While Helvetica is a great one, some of my favorites include: Optima, Futura, and Raleway. I have recently gotten more into using Oswald and Proxima Nova, using them in things I have designed. Just like food, the right font in the right place can make something amazing! A font thrown at a wall to see how it sticks is just like a plate of food slapped against the wall. It’s probably not particularly appetizing.
Don’t have any idea what font you are? Not a problem! Go online and take a “what font am I” quiz (there are several) if you want to see how you might rank in the typographical world. You could also research and draw your own conclusions of what your personality or traits would “spell out” in a font form.