Saturday, December 24, 2011

Visions of Serif Fonts Danced in Their Heads

I'm in the midst of reading* Walter Isaacson's Steve Jobs biography**. I've never been one to idolize Jobs; I do, however, acknowledge that Apple Computers was essential in directing the course of my life. The biography is a fascinating "read", both in terms of realizing who Jobs was as a person and in how he influenced the design industry—for having an idea is just as important as knowing how to execute it.

One of Job's demands for the Macintosh project in 1984, was insisting the platform come with an array of fonts, vs. one pixelated computer font. Jobs had audited a calligraphy couse in college and was enthralled by typography, and the world of san serifs and serifs.

"The delightful assortment of Macintosh fonts... would help launch the desktop publishing industry and be a boon for Apple's bottom-line. It also introduced all sorts of regular folks, ranging from high school journalists to moms who edited PTA newsletters to the quirky joy of knowing about fonts."***

The Macintosh's original suite of fonts, created by
Susan Kare, were initially named for stops along the commuter rail in Philadelphia: Overbrook, Merion, Ardmore, and Rosemont. While Steve Jobs liked the idea of using cities as names, he wanted them to be "world-class cities" and the names were changed to Chicago, New York, Toronto, San Francisco, Geneva, London and Venice.

I'd like to thank Jobs for bringing fonts to the masses and thereby making everyone a DIY designer. I'd also like to thank Apple for 2003's 10.3 edition of Mac OSX that included Papyrus in it's font suite.

Sarcasm aside, I do thank Jobs [+Apple] for making my job easier and as a result, my life more user-friendly. I couldn't do it without you.

*listening to
**The book is a great read for anyone interested in design, innovation or leadership. And really, Jobs [+Apple] has done so much to change not only technology but also culture that I think it crosses over many interests. I highly recommend (and I'm only 25% done!)
***taken from the Walter Issacson Biography

No comments :

Post a Comment