12 May 2015

Sam Leith on fonts

On 11 May 2015, under the occasional rubric The Art of Persuasion, the FT, published an article by Sam Leith entitled The subliminal power of fonts. Sam is also the the author of ‘You Talkin’ to Me?’ Rhetoric from Aristotle to Obama’.

In his engaging book Just My Type: A Book About Fonts, Simon Garfield argues that Barack Obama’s campaign for the presidency was materially helped by setting its campaign posters in Gotham: “There are some types that read as if everything written in them is honest, or at least fair.”
Bloomberg recently hit on the idea of consulting three “typography wonks” to ask about the best typeface touse on a CV. For what it is worth, the elegant but ubiquitous Helvetica came out on top. After that they seemed to differ.
One deplored Times New Roman: “It’s like putting on sweatpants.” Another execrated Courier: “You don’t have a typewriter, so don’t try to pretend that you have a typewriter.” Most, sensibly, warned against joined-up handwriting-style fonts such as Zapfino: better on a wedding invitation than a CV.

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Full circle

After completing a BSc in physics and maths in Australia and extended travels in Africa I found a job in Paris that left me with considerab...