Yalies familiar with designers Michael Bierut and Matthew Carter probably understand what they mean by “font nerdiness.” In an essay published in the New York Times yesterday, “Mistakes in Typography Grate the Purists,” Bierut, a critic at the School of Art, and Carter, who created the Yale typeface seen on all the signs outside Yale buildings and on University publications, admitted to having a strong sensitivity to seeing their beloved fonts misused.
“I think sometimes that being overly type-sensitive is like an allergy,” Bierut told the Times. “My font nerdiness makes me have bad reactions to things that spoil otherwise pleasant moments.” Bierut said his time at his weekend house in New Jersey is always momentarily ruined by seeing the font Cooper Black — “a fat, happy font associated with the logo for ‘National Lampoon'” — on a restored Carpenter Gothic church near his home. (Good luck to anyone taking classes with him!)
Carter pointed out that period movies and TV shows often use fonts that were designed years after the period in which the scenes supposedly take place — yes, even “Mad Men,” which is known for its attention to 1960s accuracy. “I still find it bizarre to see type or lettering that is wrong by years in a period movie in which the architecture, furniture and costumes are impeccable, and where somebody would have been fired if they were not,” Carter said in the essay.
Read the full story here.
Watch Michael Bierut in the 2007 film “Helvetica”: