I enjoy the writing process. From thinking of an idea to putting it down to a phrase and then expressing it in the form of words till it sounds similar to what it did in your mind. Of course, there is the elaborate writing and drawing parallels from our daily routine to make it easier for the audience to relate to. In between the ideation and the first draft, I particularly enjoy a process that adds a unique value to the idea – choosing the font to write.
I spend time picking the right font for the words to communicate with the audience.
You might wonder why someone would be crazy to spend as much as 15 minutes to figure out the best font to use when there are bigger things to crack. For me, as much as the idea, the thoughts, and the arguments are vital to a story; I feel the font is also an essential element that decides the tone of the story. It’s almost as if these words prefer to be written in a particular way, adding a unique flavor to the story. Just like a narrator.
Two incidents helped me realize the importance of choosing the right fonts. The first incident was when I had to work on a few documents for a Customer, a few years back. The template given to me had uninspiring fonts and made the document look ugly. I didn’t have the satisfaction of doing a good job. I wondered if anyone would have the patience to read or glance through it. I could see my four days efforts go down the drain. The second incident was when iOS updated the default Notes app, and I had to bid a tearful farewell to Markerfelt. I felt so cheated when they used another font in their latest version. I downloaded all note-taking apps I could find on the App Store, hoping that at least one of them would have a font that I liked. Finally, I gave up my search and half-heartedly started getting used to the default Notes app. Both these incidents made me realize how much I depend on choosing the right font to write.
I have the habit of writing my first draft using Notepad. When my mind is brimming with ideas and my hands can’t keep with the speed at which the ideas churn out, the distractions posed when MS Word unleashes its wiggly red and green lines were annoying. I was impressed with Calibri, but that would mean having to use MS Word. I tried writing a few stories in Word, and I noticed there was something about that font that made me write more. Inspired by how well I was able to write, despite the red lines, I wondered how amazing it would be if I could use Calibri in Notepad. It then struck me that it would require a simple change in the settings. Voila, now I could use Notepad with Calibri without bothering about the red lines. So much for ensuring my words get the right typeface to express themselves!
I admit it, Calibri was love at first sight. With not many options to experiment previously, it was like a breath of fresh air when MS Word 2007 came up with Calibri. All of a sudden, my ideas looked a lot better, and it gave me a sense of satisfaction to see my words presented beautifully. However, not all pieces look good with Calibri. For me, it is a very casual font. Sometimes when I’m writing at work, I tend to opt for either Georgia or Cambria. They make everything look pretty and slightly more formal. Once I started using a Mac, I switch between PT Serif and Baskerville. In Google Docs, which I use pretty often these days, I stick to the gorgeous Alegreya (I’m writing this piece in Alegreya).
When something is visually appealing, it naturally evokes an interest. If you’re writing, you want to write more, and if you’re reading, you want to read more. Now you know why many companies prefer to share their experiences in Medium and why it’s an absolute delight to read stories in Medium. As much as the words matter, the way you choose to present the words also matter. And that’s the reason I spend time choosing the right font.
I can see many of you wondering if a font matters to the extent I’ve spoken about them. Love them or hate them, but you can’t live without them; can you?
Image Courtesy: Pixabay