Fonts- The Mood Enhancers
Ironically, the precision of digital tools allows faces to be designed with an unstudied look. Clark notes that many recently introduced fonts have a graffiti-like look or gritty roughness that yield a life-on-the-street or hip-hop aesthetic. though these aggressive fonts express modern sentiments, they aren't taking over the world.
After a barrage of print matter showcasing a busy, frenetic aesthetic flooded the scene during the '80s and '90s, the pro-verbial pendulum is swinging back in the direction of classic, clean design, Clark suggests.
"In the end," says Clair, designers make type selections based on their own knowledge, their intuitive judgement of the fonts and their aesthetic sensibility as it relates to the intended mood of the piece."
Typefaces bring a voice to a book, but communication is a two-way street. As with any work of art, Clair points out, the perfect matching of typeface to content will most delight the educated reader who appreciates such nuances.
Rose Blessing is president of Definition, a freelance writing, communications and project management company. For more information on typefaces, check out: A Typographic Workbook by Kate Clair, John Wiley & Sons, 1999; Encyclopedia Britannica online, www.britannica.com (search "history of type") and typoGRAPHIC, www.typographic.rsub.com.