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April 24, 2008

The Rather Difficult Font Game
Posted by Teresa at 10:01 PM *

Just as it says: it’s a Rather Difficult Font Game. Have at it and tell us how you do. (Thank you, Mark Dirksen.)

Comments on The Rather Difficult Font Game:
#1 ::: B.<font style="color: white ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2008, 10:09 PM:

Sadly, I only scored 22. I consider that to be fairly pathetic.

#2 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2008, 10:15 PM:

23. And some of those were only good guesses.

#3 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2008, 10:19 PM:

I don't think I can even play. I looked at the first one and I'd never even heard of any of the choices.

#4 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2008, 10:21 PM:

17, but that's with a certain amount of knowledge involved. I know I overthought some choices.

(The "certain amount" involves knowing that some fonts are serif and
some sans, but I've never heard of some of those fonts before. I think
I shall look up Rosewood and see if I like it.)

#5 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2008, 10:23 PM:

Hey, I only got 22, first time through.

#6 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2008, 10:33 PM:

I got 24. But sometimes it was by elimination. I mean, 'Comic Sans'
just doesn't go with a serif italic. (I haven't heard of some of those
fonts, either.)

#7 ::: Tucker ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2008, 10:35 PM:

21, but that's with a combination of "clearly this is italicised and only one of the choices says 'italic'" and "well, that looks like it ought to be a Rosewood/Playbill/Baskerville." I've heard of maybe a quarter of the fonts in question.

#8 ::: Lea ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2008, 10:36 PM:

I scored 26, and it said that was good enough for the Hall of Fame. Go me. (Good Lord, I need a life.)

#9 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2008, 10:36 PM:

I got 19, five or six of which were blind guesses.

#10 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2008, 10:37 PM:

14 of 34. ***sigh*** Entertaining, though...

#11 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2008, 10:40 PM:

I was amazed at getting as high as 16, though I too was helped out
by having a clue as to what "italic", "roman", and "sans" mean.

#12 ::: Patrick Connors ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2008, 10:40 PM:

19, and a number of them were guesses.

#13 ::: melissa ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2008, 10:43 PM:

15. Sigh. I did make the Hall of Fame. (that makes me think less of the Hall of Fame)

#14 ::: c. ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2008, 10:47 PM:

17. like others, i was helped by knowing the terminology to some extent.

#15 ::: Lawrence Watt-Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2008, 11:01 PM:

23 for me. There were a couple I should have gotten, but didn't.

#16 ::: Yatima ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2008, 11:02 PM:

Twenty. Aiee.

#17 ::: Dan Blum ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2008, 11:08 PM:

19, but I only actually recognized maybe 6 or 7 of them. The others
were gimmes (the only "italic" option for an obviously italic example)
and lucky guesses.

#18 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2008, 11:13 PM:

I got a 14. Pathetic.

#19 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2008, 11:15 PM:

19, and some of them were overthought. I was torn between two, and went (I think) for the wrong one.

I'll try again tomorrow when the examples aren't fresh in my mind.

#20 ::: JaniceG ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2008, 11:19 PM:

17, of which at least 7 were courtesy of clues in the choices
(italic, thin, etc.) And I used to work as a typesetter, too *sigh* Of
course, that was in the Stone Age when we didn't have typefaces named
Yvonne :->

#21 ::: NelC ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2008, 11:21 PM:

25, but I'm supposed to be making
a living designing. OTOH, I wouldn't know Diavalo, Rogers, Bolton, or
that one ending in BB if they fell on me from a great height, so maybe
I didn't do too badly. Certainly the Frutiger, Univers, Helvetica,
Times, Optima & Garamond weren't terribly difficult to spot.

#22 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2008, 11:23 PM:

I took it a few days ago. I think I got 29 or 30.

#23 ::: Alma Alexander ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2008, 11:24 PM:

22, and a few of those were simply knowing what the damned font was NOT and paring it down from there.

Still. 22. TWENTY TWO. I didn't think I had it in me.

#24 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2008, 11:30 PM:

I'm so ashamed, I can't bring myself to reveal the depths of my
hideous failure. A decade and a half in fields related to typesetting
all gone to waste. Thank Ghu I at least recognized Palatino and I
wasn't the worst one posted here.

I guess I lost my Font Snob certification today.

#25 ::: Matt McIrvin ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2008, 11:40 PM:

30, with a lot of guessing from elimination.

#26 ::: Chris Quinones ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2008, 11:44 PM:

14. Hey, accounting major here; I'd ace the Asset, Liability, or Equity test, if there was one.

#27 ::: Mary Frances ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2008, 11:55 PM:

11. I was halfway through before I caught on to the gimmes.
Sometines it's a disadvantage to use only two or three fonts . . . ever.

#28 ::: oliviacw ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2008, 11:58 PM:

My first try, with an earlier version of the game (the only text
example was "fargo" then), was 18. Now, they've added some new fonts,
and sometimes they say different things. Not that it made much
difference - I made it all the way up to 20.

#29 ::: David Moles ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2008, 12:18 AM:

24/34. (And I want to know the answers to the ones I got wrog, dammit!)

#30 ::: Madeline F ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2008, 12:21 AM:

22! I'm smug. Alright, so the average is 23... I once had a fellow
student in college give an incomprehensible lecture on Dutch font
history that lasted more than 40 minutes, 10 of which were after class
had ended before I just left... So I understand there will be those who
break the curve. :)

#31 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2008, 12:31 AM:

17, but I think I'd do better on a second attempt. A fair number of them were "well, it has to be either this or that", and I guessed wrong.

It does help that we use a lot of fonts for the buttons, stickers, and shirts. Especially the buttons...

#32 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2008, 12:32 AM:

If it feels Mormon, it's Optima. If it feels right, it's Gill Sans.
If it feels default, it's Helvetica. If it feels like unreliable
Helvetica, it's Univers. If it looks like the GEnie SFRT, it's Monaco.
If it's the typeface I see when I close my eyes to remember how a word
is spelled, it's Century. Caslon: the other Garamond. Bembo has the
goofy ampersand with the bump in it. Anything with "Bodoni" in its name
has exaggerated thick-and-thins. Consolas looks like it was typed with
a Selectric ball. The Yanone Kaffeesatz lc "a" is like a dog that's had
its tail cut off. The Antique Olive lc "a" needs a bra with better
support. Playbill, Old English, Wingdings, Copperplate, and Comic Sans
are gimmes. I should remember Frutiger, but I never do. Charlemagne
gets sliced off before it can come to a point. Baskerville Old Face
looks old, and like Baskerville. Perpetua looks slightly melted. Andale
Mono is monospaced: another gimme. The Verdana "6" and "9" always look
kinda cheesy to me.

#33 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2008, 12:35 AM:

Best I've managed so far is 33, but I'd taken it a bunch of times by then, so it doesn't count.

John D. Berry would get them all the first time around. My in-laws probably would too.

#34 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2008, 12:51 AM:

With a lot of guessing, much of it bad, I got 19. I did learn how to
set type in high school, but it's all down the drain since.

#35 ::: Cynthia Wood ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2008, 01:00 AM:

Sigh. In three runs my best (by far) score was 17. I'm not admitting to my lowest score.

#36 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2008, 01:02 AM:

27. IIRC I only missed one when I tried it a few weeks ago, but they've added a bunch of fonts since then.

#37 ::: Sylvia Li ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2008, 01:03 AM:

I'm supposed to be learning this stuff now, so I didn't
treat it as a game but as a homework assignment. My score doesn't count
-- I looked everything up, including the ones I thought I was already
sure about, and all the wrong answers. Even with that, I got one wrong!

But Optima is one of the first two fonts I fell in love with, about
twenty years ago. Sleek, subtle, a lot like a serif font except -- not.
Teresa -- what the heck do you mean, it looks Mormon?

#38 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2008, 01:07 AM:

#32 is a poem in itself.

I got 5 out of the first 8, then stopped. No way should my score be that high from so much guesswork!

I am pretty good at "who painted the cover of this SF novel?" but fonts are not my strong suit.

#39 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2008, 01:09 AM:

I was going through a lot with: nope, not monaco. Nope, not comic sans. Nope, that's not a roman.

I am ashamed though, I mixed up helvetica and arial.

Oh the shame.

#40 ::: Wirelizard ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2008, 01:18 AM:

23 here; I'm a strictly amateur design geek but a bit of a font geek too. (ie, I own a copy of The Elements of Typographic Style, because I kept borrowing the library's copy...)

Interesting game - like some of the other posters, I want to know the right answers to some of the ones I got wrong!

#41 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2008, 01:23 AM:

18, with a fair amount of guesswork.

#42 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2008, 01:29 AM:

In the end, a more sedate 16. Not bad, I think, for a complete amateur.

#43 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2008, 01:54 AM:

Xopher @18,

14? You complain at 14? You are a font of wisdom at 14. A veritable
safont. Me, I tried more than once, and, well, let's just say my scores
have been weighted and have been font wanting.

#44 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2008, 02:15 AM:

15. I love fonts. I used to do calligraphy. I love looking at different fonts, but I can never seem to remember their names.

#45 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2008, 02:32 AM:

The Rather Impressive Hall of Fame accepts anyone, I think. The only ones that actually show up are perfect 34s.

(14.)

#46 ::: Lois Fundis ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2008, 02:37 AM:

20 for me. I may seek a rematch tomorrow.

#47 ::: Calton Bolick ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2008, 03:02 AM:

Twenty points here, which I find disturbingly low for someone like
me who likes looking at typefaces and has since high school. Even worse
is retaking the test and getting a LOWER score.

#48 ::: Mikael Vejdemo Johansson ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2008, 03:49 AM:

After scoring 2 out of the initial 10, I kinda gave up.

But it's a cool game!

#49 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2008, 03:51 AM:

I stink at font recognition. I am a shame unto my family and my craft.

But I'm comfortable with that fact.

#50 ::: miriam beetle ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2008, 04:38 AM:

17. & a lot of it was clues from the names of things.

i... like looking at fonts, & am an extremely amateur print
designer* (i.e. self-publish my comic books), but nothing like a maven.
my score pleases me ok.

*so i knew the ones i use, like optima, & the ones i'll never
use again, like comic sans. too bad they didn't have myriad, i font i'm
sure i like mostly because i like my own name so much.

#51 ::: martyn44 ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2008, 05:13 AM:

I took one look and my brains started leaking out of my ears. I've
had to spend the last half hour cleaning up my keyboard. And I'm at
work.

Cue Vincent Price laughter.

Thank you for a day laid to waste!

#52 ::: Sam Kelly ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2008, 05:46 AM:

18 the first time through, and a fair few of those were by
elimination. It vaguely surprises me how many I could recognise on
sight still, though admittedly it's the less normal ones - Copperplate Light,
Playbill, Old English. (Yes, I was the guy who designed student-society
posters in six different fonts, using MSWord. I got better. Really, I
did. No, no, not the red pencil...)

Monaco too, but that's mostly because I use that in my code editor.

#53 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2008, 06:50 AM:

14, and I feel that anything above chance (which would be about 9) is ok with me, since I've never paid much attention to fonts.

However there was one I loved, and I got it wrong, and didn't find
out till too late that what I should have done was send a screenshot to
the author, nor did it occur to me that I could have googled.

It isn't Bodoni or Optima, the two fonts that have gotten love so far.

It had thicks and thins (what's the opposite of monoline?). There
was a lot of space between the letters. The 'e' was very round and the
loose end came to a point. What might it have been?

#54 ::: Paul ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2008, 06:52 AM:

A measly 15.

#55 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2008, 06:56 AM:

I got a pathetic 18. Typography is not my art, I guess.

#56 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2008, 06:59 AM:

TNH: Surely, Baskerville should have a hangdog look.

#57 ::: John Chu ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2008, 07:14 AM:

I scored 21. There were a few where I could narrow down to two.
However, I've never mastered the subtleties that distinguish some of
the san serif fonts. (e.g., Helvetica, Arial and Verdana) I, more often
than not, got those wrong. (It's distressing to find out that I can't
recognize Helvetica when I see it...)

#58 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2008, 07:58 AM:

Sylvia (37), Optima Regular, all caps, centered, used to be the
standard typographical spec for official Mormon doings, not that I ever
used that knowledge to create the perfect nudge letter for a certain
Tor author who was overdue on a project ...

I love Optima. I don't care where it's been or what it's done. If I
had to spend the rest of my life using only a half-dozen typefaces, it
would be one of them.

Nancy Lebovitz (53), do you know from Identifont? Good for figuring out which font you're thinking of. Notice also that they'll turn your handwriting into a typeface.

#59 ::: JKRichard ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2008, 08:15 AM:

Back to font school I go...

#60 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2008, 08:19 AM:

19. almost entirely guesses.

#61 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2008, 08:32 AM:

I took this a couple of weeks ago (heard about it from Daring
Fireball), and got something like 21 or 22 -- which was rather better
than I was expecting. (I was able to game the test slightly by
remembering some of my mistakes from one stage to the next: if I had
narrowed a particular typeface down to one of two choices, and then
gotten it wrong, that sometimes helped me later on...)



Teresa Nielsen Hayden @ 58:

I love Optima. I don't care where it's been or what it's done. If I
had to spend the rest of my life using only a half-dozen typefaces, it
would be one of them.

Me, too. (Though I'd never have associated it with things Mormon...) I remember reading John M. Ford's Growing Up Weightless in trade paperback version, and loving the fact that it was set in Optima.

(There's an argument to the effect that long text should not be set
in something sufficiently notable or idiosyncratic that the reader notices
the typeface. In this particular case, at least, I didn't care; if
anything, the presence of Optima added an extra frisson to the
aesthetic experience of reading an already wonderful story.)

#62 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2008, 08:35 AM:

20, by the ancient and honorable method of making wild-ass guesses, unless one of the choices was italic.

#63 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2008, 08:58 AM:

13 for me, but only because I knew some of them (from selecting them for my own work). I wish I knew more.

#64 ::: Elayne Riggs ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2008, 09:03 AM:

Only 12, but I don't play with fonts as often as I used to back when they came on sheets you pressed down onto the paper.

#65 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2008, 09:15 AM:

Teresa @58 -- I just spent way too much time at Identifont. Cool, thanks!

Unfortunately I wasn't able to find a font I used to like, but can't
remember the name. IIRC, it was standard to MS-Word 7, and was rather
art nouveau-ish, possibly cursive. Does this ring any bells with anyone?

#66 ::: Kerry ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2008, 09:27 AM:

I got 15. Not bad for guessing all but a few. I mean the italicized
ones with only one choice that said 'italic' were kind of obvious.

Obviously, some of you played more than once.

#67 ::: Chris Quinones ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2008, 09:41 AM:

Teresa at 58 re: Optima: Looking at it, I wonder if I've seen other
denominational publications in that same typeface. It does strike me as
having a peculiarly...pastoral feel, and I was raised lapsed Catholic,
so it ain't an LDS thing.

#68 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2008, 09:41 AM:

20 -- not too bad, I guess, in this company. I actually did better
on the sans serifs than the serifs, and I don't generally use a lot of
sans fonts. Palatino is usually my default, but I'm guessing it was the
Optima that really caught my eye as a potential new favorite -- I'll
have to go back and take a closer look at it now!

#69 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2008, 09:55 AM:

22. I'm below average, but I did better than I expected. Near the end, there were fewer to choose from, for some reason.

ps: When I see "Moderator" and "Teresa" in close proximity, the
first thing my brain tells me is "Mother Teresa." Perhaps that should
be "Den Mother."

#70 ::: Victoria ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2008, 10:08 AM:

15, mostly through process of elimination and eeny-meeny-miny-mo

I think I'll try it again, though.

Victoria

#71 ::: Keith ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2008, 10:17 AM:

10 out of 34 is not up to my usual standards. Not good at all.
Though I am rather proud that I was able to tell the difference between
Ariel, Monoco and Helvetica. and I knew which ones weren't Caslon or
Garamond. So that's at least a good thing.

#72 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2008, 10:20 AM:

Aha, got 34! But I've been playing around with it a lot.

(Nancy, is it Benguiat you were thinking of?)

It's a relatively tough test. An easier one would have you
identifying more disparate fonts (University Roman, Lincoln Log,
Poptics, Grotesque Extra-Ugly, Venusian). A fun one would be to hand
the test-taker a list of typefaces and have them put them in order by
date at which they would have been fashionable to use on a non-ironic
non-retro magazine logo or restaurant sign: Acadian, Korinna, Broadway,
Murray Hill, Avant-Garde, Arnold Bocklin, Peignot Bold, Friz Quadrata,
Lubalin Graph, Lithos ...

#73 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2008, 10:21 AM:

Aha, got 34! But I've been playing around with it a lot.

(Nancy, is it Benguiat you were thinking of?)

It's a relatively tough test. An easier one would have you
identifying more disparate fonts (University Roman, Lincoln Log,
Poptics, Grotesque Extra-Ugly, Venusian). A fun one would be to hand
the test-taker a list of typefaces and have them put them in order by
date at which they would have been fashionable to use on a non-ironic
non-retro magazine logo or restaurant sign: Acadian, Korinna, Broadway,
Murray Hill, Avant-Garde, Arnold Bocklin, Peignot Bold, Friz Quadrata,
Lubalin Graph, Lithos ...

#74 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2008, 10:33 AM:

This reminds me of one of V.S. Naipaul's characters (Ganesh Ramsumair in The Mystic Masseur)
who had a deep aversion to Times Roman. I wondered at the time I read
the novel whether Naipaul himself disliked the font and imprinted the
dislike on the character.

#75 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2008, 10:41 AM:

Garamond: the 'a' has a cap that looks a couple of sizes too large.

The one ending with 'BB': modern art calligraphic.

#76 ::: VT ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2008, 10:53 AM:

I got 32 out of 34, but then, I'm an art director who just last week
explained typeface families to my intern. So I was paging through my
old font books, refreshing my memory, not quite fair. Yanone Kaffeesatz
was brand new to me. I love Steve Martin's all-purpose Random Weird
Font name: Namby-Pamby Narrow.

#77 ::: Carol Maltby ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2008, 11:19 AM:

Teresa, could we persuade you to expand #32 to a page, with more
fonts, and each comment on identifying the font done in the font that's
being described?

Pretty please?

#78 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2008, 11:34 AM:

Teresa, Identifont is massively cool and thanks for pointing me at
it, but it gave me Americana, and I'm pretty sure that isn't it.

Unfortunately, Identifont don't ask "Is it smackdab in the middle of what you feel letter forms should be?"

I don't think it's Benguiat, either, though that one's got the right
weight. Is weight the right word for ratio of thickness of major
strokes to the heights of the letters?

Benguiat is quirky. What I loved about that font was that it
was lively but totally classical. It had no quirk. Or at least no quirk
that I remember. Unfortunately, what I remember is my emotional
reaction, a blurry overview, some of the 'e', and the useless fact that
the words were 'stumbleupon'. Possibly 'stumbleupon.com'.

As an example of the quirk issue, the 'e' I remember has a pointed
open end, but Benguiat has a serif on the 'e'. One more thing about the
'e'-- it was very circular rather than oval.

While we're talking fonts, can anyone recommend a good historical majority Italic font?

What I mean is that the default modern italic is imho a miserable thing, too light-weight
or crowded or with excessive serifs or something to be fit for body
text, even though people sometimes use it for prefaces. Mercifully,
long-form italic seems to have gotten rarer.

Modern italic fonts are based on historic calligraphy, but it was a
hand that wasn't nearly as common (at least to judge by what gets into
calligraphy books) as something a little heavier, straighter, and more
legible.

The second type example is what I mean by default modern italic.

Here's
a pretty good example, if a little crowded, of what I mean by the more
common historical italic. I wasn't able to find an actual historical
example online.

#79 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2008, 11:38 AM:

I should have done better than I did. I had just seen the movie Helvetica last week, preceded by a 45 minute talk by type designer Charles Bigelow!

#80 ::: deCadmus ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2008, 11:46 AM:

I scored 30 of 34, and --actually-- I think that's wrong. I'm almost
certain I picked at least one answer that it scored as correct.

#81 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2008, 11:46 AM:

Nancy @ 78

Which Benguiat? There's more than one.

(I'd go off to another place, such as Fontage.com, and look at them,
but I'm supposed to be working. Identifont is nice, but you have to
have samples in front of you to go through the process.)

#82 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2008, 12:00 PM:

14 by picking the third choice from the top every time.

#83 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2008, 12:05 PM:

13 for me, mostly guesses except for the ones with an obviously italic font and only one italic choice.

#84 ::: Shay ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2008, 12:14 PM:

19 for me. One point better than my roomie, the former graphic
design student. (In his defense, he was still asleep when he attempted
the test.) Apparently I have learned much by osmosis.

#85 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2008, 01:27 PM:

I got a 17, mostly by wild-ass guessing, mixed with a little bit of
"well, that's an italic, and that's not a sans, and that *must* be
wingdings...."

#86 ::: Evelyn Browne ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2008, 02:10 PM:

21, with a lot of wild-ass guessing.

#87 ::: Evelyn Browne ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2008, 02:10 PM:

21, with a lot of wild-ass guessing.

#88 ::: Julian ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2008, 02:14 PM:

18, and I don't know my fonts at all. I was just using what I knew
of the terminology, the occasional obvious one, and later on, picking
the font whose name I hadn't seen before.

#89 ::: Ame ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2008, 03:24 PM:

20, which seems pretty decent to me, since I decided anything over 50% was going to count as "good"

#90 ::: coffeedryad ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2008, 03:45 PM:

Raised Catholic here as well, and there's definitely something about
Optima. Missalettes, maybe, or anything with a relatively modern hymn
printed on it to be played by guitar.

#91 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2008, 03:53 PM:

Curiously, Identifont knows about Sabon but doesn't seem to be able
to identify it. (it's the font of the 1979 BCP, programmed into the
hindbrain of all modern Episcopalians.)

#92 ::: annaoj ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2008, 04:06 PM:

18, mostly guessing.

#93 ::: Sylvia Li ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2008, 04:33 PM:

Nancy, #78: For the historical italic, would you be looking for something along the lines of Chancellerie Moderne?

#94 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2008, 05:42 PM:

20. Mostly by knowing a few and being able to say when it wasn't one of those few...

#95 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2008, 05:49 PM:

24 out of 34.

#96 ::: Julia Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2008, 06:12 PM:

18, in spite of not knowing most of the fonts given as
possibilities. I'm another who did somewhat better than chance simply
by knowing what "italic" and "sans" mean.

#97 ::: Jon Baker ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2008, 06:36 PM:

22 of 34. Well, if there's one face I know, it's Optima, having set
up a sample page of it in college. So "Optima Italic" was almost always
not the right answer. Not that that helped a lot with the guessing.

#98 ::: Brooks Moses ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2008, 06:46 PM:

21. Didn't do too badly with the "that looks like it would have that
sort of name..." sorts of guesses, and there were several I knew
outright despite them not being actual gimmies.

#99 ::: Eileen Gunn ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2008, 06:54 PM:

Well, I got 17 without looking anything up anywhere, but I'm sure
John Berry will be very disappointed in me. I missed a lot of easy
ones.

#100 ::: Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2008, 08:19 PM:

34, but I am not going to push my luck. Next time I would probably get 2.

#101 ::: Kevin Riggle ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2008, 08:37 PM:

24. Like so many people, largely from knowing a few fonts, a number
of terms, and guessing based on names. (Over the summer, I should play
with the local letterpress again. I seem to have fallen in love with
Garamond accidentally.)

#102 ::: Claire Wolf Smith ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2008, 08:48 PM:

22, and this printer's daughter feels pretty good about it.

#103 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2008, 09:33 PM:

There are a few fonts that I am downright glad aren't overused. Footlight MT Light is one; I use it for anything that should feel between 1870 and 1940, because it feels about 1920s to me.

No, it wasn't on the test. But it is an Open Type font, which means you can stick it in PDFs without purchasing it separately.

#104 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2008, 11:08 PM:

25 of 34 here on one play, and as with many a fair amount of it was
elimination-followed-by-guessing: "Well, I've used Poster Bodoni and I
know it's not that, and it's probably not Optima and definitely not
Italic, so which of the remaining two sound like it should look like
that?"

#105 ::: Sylvia Li ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2008, 11:19 PM:

B.
Durbin, #93: As far as I know, Open Type has nothing at all to do with
whether one needs to purchase the font. Rather, it is a font file
format that's designed to work cross platform, kind of a successor to
True Type. Adobe and Microsoft developed it together.

There are plenty of free Open Type fonts out there, but there are
also a lot of commercial ones from big-name font foundries. Adobe has
converted its entire type library to Open Type -- and they do expect
you to purchase those. (Though a subset of the library does come
bundled with their Creative Suite.)

#106 ::: Sylvia Li ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2008, 11:21 PM:

Oops, I meant #103.

#107 ::: Chris Quinones ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2008, 12:39 AM:

Coffeedryad at 90: Just to clarify, I said I was raised lapsed
Catholic. I tried for a couple of years of preadolescence after the
folks realized, thunderstruck, that they'd forgotten something vital,
but it didn't take. This was around 1978-80, so in the thick of the
folk-mass era. (I still think "I Am the Bread of Life" kinda rocks,
dubious though it may be from an impersonating-a-supreme-deity
standpoint.)

I've never been confirmed, and the last church I've set foot in was
almost certainly Presbyterian. I might have been inside a synagogue
more recently than a Catholic church. (Church basements are another story -- I help my mother sell stuff at flea markets from time to time.)

But nevertheless, the church I don't belong to is definitely Catholic. Folk mass and everything, they have the best music.

#108 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2008, 01:24 AM:

Nancy, you could just take the test again. When you hit the one you
loved, grab a screenshot or just write down the four names and google
them.

#109 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2008, 02:29 AM:

Lea, #8, I got 14 and that was enough for the hall of fame. I
did a lot better with the fonts I'd seen before, but was able to winkle
a couple others out.

#110 ::: Glenn Hauman ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2008, 04:30 AM:

30, without resorting to reference. Which any real type user would do, but I wanted to see how I'd do without it.

#111 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2008, 08:49 AM:

19.

I knew a handful of the fonts on sight (some from work, one -
Garamond - from reading novels set in it and saying "That's a nice
font, what is it?"), did a lot of process of elimination ("That's not
italic! And it's certainly not Wingdings!"), and picked a few of them by clicking on the name that seemed the best match for what the font looked like.



I have met Identifont before, and have gone from enthusiasm about the
concept to weary irritation about the reality: there's a shortcut in
the implementation that makes it possible for the system to confidently
produce a "match" that conspicuously fails to correspond to the input
you gave (for instance, you're looking for a font where the 3 has a
flat top, and tell it so when it asks, and it still gives you a font
where the 3 has a rounded top). I understand how this happens, but that
doesn't stop it being annoying, especially when it happens to one
several times in a row.

#112 ::: Carl ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2008, 08:43 PM:

21. Not great, but considering I don't work in (or near) publishing,
and do all of my work in TNR, Courier New or Garamond, not awful.

#113 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2008, 12:08 AM:

Only 19, which makes me sad and ashamed because I like fonts, but I
tend to be familiar with the ones that come packaged with adobe
products, or with the fanciful ones off 1001fonts.com

#114 ::: Jakob ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2008, 06:49 AM:

26 - woo!

#115 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2008, 07:21 AM:

You scored 15 points out of 34

Not TOO bad, some were much easier than others, but on the whole, I guess I was more lucky than anything else.

#116 ::: Edward Oleander ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2008, 04:37 PM:

23, and damned surprised to do that good... many were just a matter
of eliminating the obvious wrong ones and some good guesses...

#117 ::: pat greene ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2008, 03:43 PM:

First time around, 16. Second, 29.

I knew the difference between Garamond and Caslon because in
February I typeset a catalog for a very small nonprofit using Adobe
Garamond Pro (and had to decide whether to use that or Ad. Caslon Pro
-- a decision which is about as boring as it sounds). I though of doing
the whole thing in something like Perpetua or Trajan but opted not to
on grounds of legibility and that it would be too cutesy by half.

Teresa, when you say that Optima "Feels Mormon," what do you mean by that?

#118 ::: Garrett Fitzgerald ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2008, 04:26 PM:

21 here, but I realized NoScript was turned on about 10 fonts in. :-)

#119 ::: Susan Kitchens ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2008, 09:18 PM:

Woo hoo! I made it into the hall of fame, with a score of 28 points. (and, like Glenn @ 110, w/o using a reference)

#120 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2008, 09:48 PM:

pat @117, Teresa back @58 revealed that “Optima Regular, all caps, centered, used to be the standard typographical spec for official Mormon doings”

Lordy, I am so not going over to try that, I can tell things are different sometimes, but remembering which is which name, nah.

#121 ::: Susan Kitchens ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2008, 09:52 PM:

After quickly posting my score, I have been reading the thread. Calligrapher? Yep. Graphic designer? yep.

In fact, when I saw Palatino and Optima, I thought of Hermann Zapf, who designed them both.

I never think of Mormons and Optima; I think of really crappy
tightly kerned mid-1970s everything newslettery with Optima. Then I
read Friedrich Neugebauer's The Mystic Art of Written Forms
and saw how beautiful Optima could be as a text font. The not-quite
sans serif boot-leg cut of the strokes makes it easier to read that
uniformly sans serif. If you set your letter tracking a little wider
than standard (but not by much), Optima is drop-dead gorgeous.

I just went to the web site for The Vietnam War Memorial Wall, and yes, the names are all set in Optima. capitals. Just found, at the bottom of this page, the last question in the FAQ confirms that it's Optima.

. . . .

Not that long ago, I spent a goodly amount of time trying to match a
font. San serif. Bold. It wasn't Helvetica. It was not Frutiger. It was
not Univers. I went to Identifont -- or some other site I'm too lazy to
look up at the moment -- where I answered a series of questions about
parts of letters, and in the end it announced that it was Arial / Arial
Black, and I gnashed and growled. So. obvious. in. retrospect.

What a lovely thread. This kind of arcane typographic knowledge is a light I usually put under a bushel. It's fun to bring it out from time to time.

#122 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2008, 10:01 PM:

I've seen text done in University Roman and it was quite readable.
(It wasn't a large point size, and it was mixed UC and lc cases.)

Peignot, on the other hand ....

We get a lot of junk faxes where I work, the kind with eight or nine faces used on one page. That's another kind of ouch.

#123 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2008, 06:46 AM:

Peignot, on the other hand ....
Quite
some time ago, where I work we had a recurring job copying a book of
news clippings. The cover page was always an index of the
clippings...set entirely in Peignot. I've had a strong aversion to Peignot ever since.

#124 ::: pat greene ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2008, 04:18 PM:

Thanks Epacris. I think I must have hit the page down button twice
and missed that comment. Pity, because I also missed Fragano's
witticism about Baskerville.

My favorite font is Palatino, although I am not sure why.

#125 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2008, 04:29 PM:

#123

I've had an aversion to it for several years, due partly, I think,
to the number of copies of it floating around. The rest is probably due
to misuse, if not overuse. (There are so many handsome fonts out there:
why do so many people use the same three or four (usually ugly) ones?)

At some point, I may actually get a count on how many times I've seen Peignot under one or another name.

#126 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2008, 10:17 AM:

Teresa:

Ye ghods. Arcane and poetic font neepery. I am truly awestruck.

Choose:
Smaller type (our default)
Larger type
Even larger type, with serifs

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