Friday, May 14, 2010

Serifs, Tropical Island Paradees, Discuss

(Or is that "Parodisi? Probably not. Sigh. So long since Latin class, so very little retained).

I will admit right now, this is a filler: gripping as the news of the day might be, I am on my way to the Dayon Hamvention even as you read, unless I'm there already. Or at least I sure hope I am!

Turk Turon and I fell to discussing fonts the other day -- hey, look, do I criticize what you do for small talk? -- and the subject of serifs arose.

He figured it had something to do with a writing instrument of yore; I opined the Romans were the first to use them and they carved 'em in stone. (Casual Roman handwriting, on the other hand -- you think your penmanship's bad? Ha! At least by modern standards, ha! Cicero's grocery list, you could not have read even if he wrote it in English which he couldn't've and would not even if he did; he had people to do that for him).

Turns out, we're both right, probably:
...broadly but not universally accepted: the Roman letter outlines were first painted onto stone, and the stone carvers followed the brush marks which flared at stroke ends and corners, creating serifs.
Emphasis mine. How 'bout that.

Meanwhile, possibly near the Seychelles (though not collecting seashells on the sneschal's seashore), one finds the Serif Museum on the so-called Virgule Islands of (where else?) San Serriffe. Better known (at least outside the U.S.) for their hard-charging Rugby Union team, the Kwotes, these beautiful islands may well be at the leading edge of typographic and font historiography and preservation, and deservedly so.

14 comments:

Joanna said...

possibly near the Seychelles (though not collecting seashells on the sneschal's seashore)

*rolls up magazine* No! Bad! *whack whack whack* Get back here!

/jealous I didn't think of it first

reflectoscope said...

Hook, line and sinker.

Jim

elmo iscariot said...

When I become Supreme Emperor of the World, I will generally leave people the hell alone and ratchet government back to a minimum.

But there will be exceptions for the worst offenses against decency. Near the top of the list will be public flogging for anybody who designs a typeset with no serifs on the capital Is.

Nathan said...

http://somuchpun.com/2010/04/28/funny-pun-photos-but-i-didn39t-shoot-no-comic-sans/

Sorry, couldn't help myself.

Stranger said...

Slash and burn blogging. Very nice.

Of course, Cicero's grocery list was a slave's memory. Things less transitory went on beeswax tablets until they could be set over a fire to be erased. So the first shredder was a melter.

Serifs? I have seen samples of Dorian funerary work that appeared to have serifs. Probably a deliberate attempt on the part of the chiseling artists (both ways) to make the work appear solidly based.

And Ten-Tec is supposed to have something up its corporate sleeve.

Stranger

Ed Rasimus said...

You seem to overlook the fact that the angels were involved in that writing. The marks at the ends of the strokes were the influence of the upper echelons, sort of the senior NCO's and Field Grade officers of the legions, the Seraphim.

At least that's the way that Sister Mary Elephant explained it to me...

DirtCrashr said...

Writing in Cuniform is all serif all the time.
Meanwhile here's a bamboo Vespa on another tropic isle.

Borepatch said...

I shot the serif

Borepatch said...

Rats - Nathan beat me to it.

But there's sumdood who has a web site by that name, who's handing out free Truetype fonts, some of which are pretty cool

Chas S. Clifton said...

Yep, Father Catich is the man. Or so my college calligraphy teacher taught us.

rickn8or said...

Dunno so much about serif, but there is a genuine need for a sarcasm font.

D.W. Drang said...

Borepatch: But there's sumdood who has a web site by that name, who's handing out free Truetype fonts, some of which are pretty cool
Heh. "Fudd." For EBR-hating hunters.
Hmmm, some of those are neat...
Back to trying to figure out how to import fonts into Blogger...

John A said...

co-inky-dink -

font gunned down

John A said...

Apologies, I had not realised Nathan posted much earlier.