For those of us in the digital world, every piece of communication seems to be directed towards SXSW, right now. Between social media updates, app reviews, articles about events, and general news, the pace of SXSW is a quick one. Which is why we were so pleasantly surprised that Font Men, a fascinating and calming documentary short about Jonathan Hoefler and Tobias Frere-Jones, was a SXSW 2014 Official Selection.
You might be wondering how a documentary short can be calming, but when the topic is typefaces, we get to see the way that art and function come together on a page (or screen). As designers, we work with fonts constantly and are always having to decide how a brand is best represented through letters. Many of our clients are amazed by how many fonts exist and how subtle differences between two fonts can change the way we feel about words and about brands.
When we’re designing a logo for a new company or rebranding an existing company, typefaces are one of the first things we consider. They are building blocks for the rest of a brand’s identity. For example, a strong masculine font will set a strong masculine tone for the other visual elements in the logo. A whimsical font will spread its whimsy into the entire project.
Font Men is interesting to both those in the design world and outside of the design world because whether or not fonts are something you notice and admire, they are a part of your life and shape the way that you interpret certain words in certain contexts. As designers, we’re extremely aware of fonts in everyday life, from street signs to billboards, but that’s because it’s part of our job (or I guess we could say that we chose this career because we naturally notice these things). I encourage you to think about the letters you see today and what your emotional response to them is. You may never look at letters the same way again!
Before you run out and stare at the sign above the door in that coffee shop across the street, take a few minutes and watch Font Men by Dress Code.