Turn it up to 11

For some reason I prefer my fonts to be in size 11.

Writing term papers and essays ruined me of Times New Roman size 12, as I'm sure it did many others. I specifically remember being in junior high on our family Compaq and discovering Times New Roman size 10. It was a glorious moment. Somehow size 10 looked beautiful and different. It was like when I uncovered sans serif, only better. Times New Roman was normal, overused, boring. Arial was the "cool font." I didn't want to be cool and I didn't want to be boring, so when I found the uniqueness of size 10, I was sold. I'm pretty sure it was my AOL Instant Messager font for at least a year.

Discovering size 11 was even better. It was like a magnificent land where only the nerds would dwell, somehow standing out but probably not getting noticed. Knowing about size 11, I felt special. I would laugh in the face of my peers who couldn't even figure out how to change their font. Well, I didn't really laugh in their faces. But I was pretty snarky about it. In my head only. On the outside I was never snarky. In fact I don't think my peers ever knew I was into fonts.

Anyway. Let's talk more about fonts.

Is anyone else sick of Papyrus? I can't tell you how many restaurants and restaurant menus use that stupid font. We're not in some kind of half-scripty ancient Egypt times, people. I know you're typing, not scrawling on freshly pulped paper. The only thing Papyrus tells me is that you were too cheap to hire a graphic designer for your signage, which means you're probably too cheap to spend money on fresh produce, and you probably only carry domestic beers. No thanks.

I mentioned AIM a few paragraphs up; does anyone remember how much time and effort we spent making our "profile" look super sweet? This was back in the day where "profile" meant a giant text box that was not capable of HTML, just color coordinating and moody song lyrics and the occasionally-way-overused "~*~*~*" design. Every time I needed a change in life, I would spice up my AIM profile. When away messages were invented… the possibilities were endless. "Sorry, I'm not here" quickly turned into "I wanna run / I want to hide / I wanna tear down the walls / That hold me inside" or some other expression of angst. And that, of course, would be in Courier New. Bold.

I remember when Verdana and Tahoma came into my life, soon followed by Lucida Sans. For some reason I think of those fonts in that order exactly. Verdana and Tahoma are always paired up in my mind. Lucida Sans was a sweet revelation. I'm not even going to get into Comic Sans. If I was laughing super hard during an AIM conversation, which happened quite often, I wouldn't just say "LOL" and be done with it. Hell no. I would turn my font size up to 48; bust out the bold, underline, and italics; and change that font color to red, baby. Fonts mean something.

So next time you open up Microsoft Word (sidebar: remember Word Perfect?), take a moment to think. Don't let those default fonts wear you down. Change it up to a nice Helvetica or Calibri, or maybe a Gill Sans for good measure. Nothing says classy like Book Antiqua. And admittedly, as much as I love changing up my fonts on the regular, I'll still rock an Arial size 11 or a Times New Roman 10 when I'm feeling saucy.

What are your favorite (or least favorite) fonts?