Fonts - The Zotmeister
solving the puzzle of life one entry at a time
May. 12th, 2006
02:48 pm - Fonts
Ah, fonts. Text can be such a terrifically different medium than speech at times; fonts, in a subtle way, help close the gap by lending some identity to printed words: they offer a sense of style, giving the reader an impression similar to that when hearing a voice. Just as a person can recognize the source of a previously-heard voice, giving speakers their own fonts distinguishes them from each other, allowing readers to immediately know who's talking (not to mention saving me from writing "[speaker's name] said" approximately every 2.5 sentences).
Most authors, especially outside the realm of comedy, never employ such a tactic. Maybe they only want you to hear the author's voice in your head. Not I - I want you to hear a different voice actor for each speaker. I want to encourage your imagination. To that end, I developed the tactic of assigning text styles to each character in a story - every speaker gets es own font, variant, and color combination. Including myself: you have perhaps noticed that I've been writing in Verdana; those that have known me for awhile (pre-journal) might have noticed that I used to write in Tahoma and switched over around the time Windows XP came out. What can I say, I liked it better.
In my writing, I've been known to think long and hard about what font to assign to a speaker. Sometimes the choice is obvious, such as Rockwell for gargoyles; other times, I have to do quite a bit of searching to locate the proper expression of je ne sais quoi I'm aiming for. The problems, of course, are that fonts - like most other created works - are copywritten, and unless I start putting all my text into graphics, which is a process I detest due to lost translation potential, not only do I need to have a font file for each font I want to use, but so do all the readers. Now I'm not opposed to copyrights, but suffice it to say that there are serious legal issues that render some options just plain unacceptable - the last thing I'd want to do is make readers have to spend money just to legally read something the way I wrote it.
Therefore, I have decided to do something that will likely prove unpopular, but in true Zotmeister fashion I'm doing it anyway: I will use freeware fonts in my fiction. I'll continue to use Verdana for myself and other hopefully-standard fonts for many characters, but certain signature characters will get their own signature fonts, and I'll make them available here. I've found quite a few sites lately that offer a very large number of very functional fonts indeed, and at no cost. Some of these fonts have their own stories; font-making is apparently as much an art form as any other. Think of this as a showcase of that art, and if you feel up to it, download those you like and watch them magically be used for some speaker in one of my tales. I will add to this list as I add more fiction.