A font of one’s own

bitstrip future door7 February 2014

Virginia Woolf believed ‘a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction’.

She published this in 1929, attributing the dearth of recognised women writers to the absence of financial freedom for women of her generation and thus the personal liberty to write when, where and how as one chose.

Poverty still restricts access to education and opportunities to choose one’s destiny, but in the developed world millions of women are writing constantly – facts and fiction – because we have the means, our own ‘rooms’ … aka our own personal computers, laptops and tablets.

And what we write, particularly on social media sites, is often very personal (and often too personal) because we have the means and opportunity to be as expressive as we like.

With Bitstrips, for example, I can convey what I’m feeling in a comical way, sharing my state of mind and heart with cute visuals and pithy captions. My avatar is an impish extension of myself.

How far might this go?

Rigas Harbilas from Brand Odyssey suggests that

“In the future we will all create and use our own individual fonts. A computer will ask us to write certain letters and words from which it will construct a stylised digital version of our handwriting that we can use as our personalised font. A postscript conversion of some kind will allow others to read your font on their devices. Therefore our written communications will become a true personalised (and stylised) extension of ourselves.”

Bad luck if you hate your handwriting and you only started communicating with the written word by choice because even tapping with two fingers shapes the letters better than your whole hand and a pen!

Why do fonts matter?

I think fonts are already very personal. The ones we choose on each occasion reflect our personalities and our view of how we’d like the reader to understand it. And there are thousands to choose from right now!

If you received a letter or email of condolence typed in Curlz or Jokerman from someone you didn’t know very well, what would you think about the sincerity of their regards? About their maturity and life experience?

Font choice tells the reader how much you care about transferring your message into meaning for them. The harder it is to read, the longer it takes to decipher each letter, the more likely you’ll lose their interest, respect and rapport.

When the font looks like it belongs with the rest of your branding cues, the reader is more likely to trust your ability to deliver a reliable, desirable, consistent standard of service or product.

How will a font of my own make a difference?

Remember what happened to ‘the artist formerly known as Prince’ when he changed his name to what was essentially a logo? We couldn’t say the logo and most devices couldn’t replicate it as a word in a line of keystrokes, so we needed six words to identify one unique individual. The world gave up and went back to calling him ‘Prince’.

Maybe reading personalised fonts will be too hard and we’ll all revert to what comes standard on our devices.

That’s if we’re not afraid to try them first. We might need money to pay for them, but they won’t restrict our freedom to write when, where and how we choose.