It was novelist Jonathan Safran Foer who asked writers he admired to send him the next piece of paper they would write on. Of course, these pages were blank, but the next one, the one they didn’t send, would have to have something on them. I’ve never been asked for my next sheet of paper (recycled from the mail or other one-side printings) though I have been asked whether I write longhand or on a computer (I start with a longhand draft and then move to MS Word). But what about font? When writers do get to a computer, with what font do they choose to compose? That’s an interesting approach to gaining insight into individuals, ala What’s on your iPod? or my own column, What are you reading? But what does it actually reveal?
I wish I could illustrate my favorite font choices here, though I must admit I’m not too fussed about them, but I’m only allowed Arial, Courier, Georgia, Lucida Grande, Times, Trebuchet, Verdana, and Webdings in this program. (I still haven’t grasped the point of W-dings, in which the preceding sentence would appear as: I wish I could illustrate my favorite font choices here, though I must admit I’m not too fussed about them, but I’m only allowed Arial, Courier, Georgia, Lucida Grande, Times, Trebuchet, Verdana, and Wingdings in this program.)
So I’ve written this post in Courier, since that was the majority choice of a few “prominent” writers surveyed about their font choices for a recent Slate article. One of those writers is Caleb Crain of the blog Steamboats, which I make a point to visit when I have the time to browse. He writes in Hoefler Text, and his reasoning is wonderfully thoughtful and precise, though that paragraph explanation tells me more about Crain than his font affinity.
Still, writers like words, and talking writing with other writers, so when I saw the link to this article on my Mediabistro newsfeed in my inbox this morning, I went right to it. When I saw the top pick, my reaction: Courier? Really, Courier?
Now, what does that say about me? I guess I do put thought into fonts, after all.