For starters, if you really love fonts, you won’t be using the word “fonts” at all. You will use the word “typeface”, which is much more dignified, and well, correct. Calling a typeface a font is like saying “Internet Explorer” when you want to refer to the World Wide Web.
A font — like an mp3 — is what you use. A typeface — like a song — is what you see. This matters. You’ll really appreciate the linguistics, if you really love typefaces.
You’ll also appreciate the details. Oh, the details! They are what make typefaces so beautiful. Some typefaces have counters more beautiful than Zooey Deschanel’s eyes, and others have finials that make your heart melt. You enlarge these typefaces on your screen, appreciating each ear and hairline. You obsess over the ligatures and the tails.
The smallest details make you squeal with delight, because you know it’s these details that will make a typeface render optimally on your screen, or help maintain each letter’s identity when printed on paper. You’ll type “AV” and “f)” and admire the genius of a well-kerned typeface. After all, the theory of visual chaos and randomness holds true with typefaces too. Nothing is ever really random, and simply drawing letters that are mathematically correct yields results that look wrong. So everything is a careful experiment in faking randomness and that just dazzles you. It takes your breath away. It makes your heart shiver slightly.
Typefaces are like movies, in a way. There are some classics that you might not love, but that you know are important, so you appreciate them. You know that Bembo is a 1929 revival of an old-style humanist typeface cut by Francesco Griffo around 1495. It’s a good book face, and that’s really cool. Even cooler is how the 19th century changed typefaces too, where newspaper fonts had lengthened serifs to prevent damage during the printing process (and that’s why we have slab seris like Clarendon).
You love typefaces so much they make you feel things. You can recognize the ones you love from miles away. They are a celebration of detail, functionality, and legibility. All in the smallest, most invisible visual element.
That’s why you get so excited when you stumble upon a new amazing typeface. It feels like Christmas! You instantly download it, lovingly storing it with the rest of your font collection, saved in alphabetical order. You design a few quick things, just for fun. You check it out when it’s really large and really small.
And you excitedly wait for a new project to test it out on.
Usually though, when the project comes, you end up resorting to your favorite typefaces. Your friends laugh when they see you use DIN. But Roba, they say, DIN doesn’t work so well in this project!
Shut up, you say. DIN always works. DIN is my best friend. DIN always looks perfect.
And you want to hug DIN and tell it you love it. It was the first typeface you ever fell in love with. You’ve fallen in love with others over the years too, of course. But it was your first love, when you were young and had just stumbled upon the crazy world of typography.
And that’s what it feels like to really, really love something as invisible as typography.
It feels like… a lot.