Sans Serif, A Font Too Far? And Other Alphabet Soup

“For manners are not idle, but the fruit
Of loyal nature and of noble mind.”

―Alfred Tennyson

Tennyson Poem

Kids today in school don’t learn cursive. I kid you not Mom. There will come a time when many will not understand the writing of the generation they care for in their nursing home.

I suppose Marshall McLuhan would have a field day with that. After all, the medium is the message.

Grandma’s notebook I found really says it all I think. Probably looks like chicken scratches to some, though, even now.

Cursive Writing

Been a gradual steering away from cursive writing, though, if you think about it. Grandma learned cursive first she said, then later they learned to print. So even her printing had tails. Then with you and I, it was reversed. NOW, they don’t even teach them cursive writing.

I guess typography has become something of a passion though since I started this blog. Probably goes back to our newspaper background you know Mom.

“While I dream;
Half in slumber I am gliding
Eastward indistinctly gliding
Down the stream.
~ E. Pauline Johnson

Pauline Johnson Poem
Those summers I spent at the paper, doing up all those ads, using all that is now antiquated technology. Standing there at those old wooden draft tables that lined the upstairs of the paper. Guess the whole ambiance of the place has stayed with me. Probably soaked in through my skin via all that newsprint on our fingers from tying up the paper every Tuesday night, since I was 12, for the Wednesday deliveries. Seeped into my bloodstream, and engaged my soul, I suppose.

Have gone back and forth, you know, with the typography on this blog. Sans Serif, or Serif. Back and forth.

Yet in the past I went the modern route, with sans the serif.
Missed those occasional frills and curls of Serif, for emphasis.

I do admit, I love the slanting, swirl of a serif font, for quotes, and bits of conversation. A story to me seems almost naked without that little tail.

Plus, since I started posting fiction, I can’t help but miss the typography of most of the books I’ve read throughout my life. Heck, half of them actually LIST the typography.

Yeah, so I guess I am a little on the fence when it comes to sans-serif vs serif still.

Serifs are used to guide the horizontal “flow” of the eyes; The lack of serifs is said to contribute to a vertical stress in sans serifs, which is supposed to compete with the horizontal flow of reading ( De Lange et al., 1993 ).
Cursive Handwriting
These are the most common claims when trying to make a case for the utility of serifs. However, serifs cannot in any way be said to “guide the eye”. In 1878, Professor Emile Javal of the University of Paris established that the eyes did not move along a line of text in one smooth sweep but in a series of quick jerks which he called saccadic movements ( Spencer, 1968, p. 13;​ Rayner & Pollatsek, 1989, pp. 113-123 ). Unfortunately many graphic designers and typographers continue to use this rationale for the existence of serifs, due to a lack of communication and cooperation with the research community.

~ Alex Poole Blog

Anywho, so I decided on serif for now. Just a personal preference, though. For now. That can, and probably will, change.

So, gotta go. Must force my lazy warm arse out the door to walk Irish soon. And maybe my water will be back on, so I can wash the damn dishes. Oh, such excitement in store today, I tell ya.


in response to the weekly photo challenge | Alphabet

8 thoughts on “Sans Serif, A Font Too Far? And Other Alphabet Soup

  1. Paula, this article is great! I loved reading it. Really interesting. Well, I still keep my (mostly travel) journals handwritten so far, but I am thinking of switching to typing it in my phone instead. But then, handwriting helps me to think of the ideas more clearly and brings some different inspiration…however, I am unsure about what to do with my handwritten diaries…thinking of copying the text in my computer, but it´s a whole lotta work that I don´t really feel like doing – but if I don´t, I won´t have any access to it when I travel or move abroad (it´s a lot of books to carry around…).
    Ad. cursive, in my country the kids still do learn to write cursive at first although they are already used to seeing typed fonts on the screens of their tablets and whatever else. They say it is important for the development of the hand muscles and fine skills (that´s probably not the right way to call it, haha), motorics and so…when I was at school, we used to hand in all the papers handwritten, can´t imagine doing that now…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. Yes, my nieces are all tablets and typing. As per transcribing the journals…I say just start…even if it takes 5 years to complete. Why not? Might be nice to stroll through again, one letter at a time :)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. They did away with short hand at our community college as well 10 or so years ago. My cousin and I used to write each other letters in short hand while in high school so our mom’s couldn’t tell what secrets we were divulging. So sad to see things like that go away.


    1. Oh, I totally agree. My grandmother was a stenographer, and she had all these notebooks with these hieroglyphic characters…:) The progression of language, writing…change, it’s inevitable. Kind of like death ;-)

      Liked by 1 person

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