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Would You Buy a Used Car From This Font?

By Burkey Belser
August 20, 2012
Would You Buy a Used Car From This Font?

Have a look at this:

Yes, interesting, indeed. The fonts in the collection are all purported to be "web safe.” What does THAT say? Baskerville, which like many fonts originated in calligraphy, has been around for 250 years or so, far longer than the other fonts. How in the world does the reader of fonts with no graphic education understand this authority-based-upon-antiquity? You might think Georgia would poll well given that it's a much closer kissing-cousin to Baskervile. Wild speculation, but I would guess that the brain knows authority when it sees it and needs precious little affirmation from independent sources to confirm that early-and-often learned impression. If familiarity alone is not a reason for authority, then posit this: Baskerville has a low "x-height", thus retaining its roots in calligraphy (or handwriting), unlike Georgia, which is more regimented and mechanical. You can knock Comic Sans out because it's meant to be playful. Helvetica is dispassionately Swiss and Trebuchet, with its roots in Eric Gill's wonderful Sans Serif, is personable but unquestionably less authoritative than the goofy, quirky Baskerville, where the hand of the "authority" is still visible in its design.

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