Do writers have signatures that have nothing to do with the style of the words themselves? This writer does.
When I was a kid, in a surprising recognition of the pursuit that consumed me even then, my folks gave me a portable typewriter. A blue one. In its own case. A thing I adored, even though I couldn’t—and still can’t—touch type.
Remember the IBM Selectric? I had one of those, too. More than the action of that little ball, more than the sound, more than the built-in erase feature, I loved something I’d only just discovered would consume me for the rest of my life: Type fonts.
In my early days in adverstising, I used to sit on the floor of art directors’ offices in every spare minute, looking at type books. A world had been opened to me. The poetry of vertical and horizontal lines, the power of fonts to express the character of the words they carry: I was in love.
That fascination persists today. I am possessed by the choice of fonts that represents me on the computer screen; I am fussy and particular about it. Is there more than one font that’s acceptible? Sure? If I can’t find a single one to love? Hinkiness ensues.
Last couple of years, the font of choice has been Palatino. A number of years ago, Americana. Tomorrow—who knows? Bodoni caught my eye. Whatever the choice has been or will be, a set of emotional criteria guide my choice. A non-stodgy grace. An elegance in the thin strokes. A roundness. A sense of forward movement. Serif, almost always. Trying to read my own work in an unpleasing font? No.
I’m curious to know whether other writers feel what I do; whether they, too, are finicky about the type styles that are comfortable in their eyes, that represent an expression of their souls. For me, the art of the font is one of the most unexpected, startling, delightful understandings of my life.