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Font Choice in a Digital World

This is a repost from my neglected library blog Stacked in Our Favor edited slightly for this readership.

A member of a writing group I was in got me thinking about typeface and professional behavior. For a long time New Times Roman has been a default of style and professionalism. It is the default typeface in most word processing programs. It is the font considered to be the professional choice to use when submitting work that matters.
I have to question whether this is really in our best interests in a digital world. 

Years ago a favorite professor of mine stated that she would appreciate it if work submitted to her digitally used a non-serifed font. Her choice was Verdana. The reason? The non-serif font is easier to read from a computer screen. For someone who does a great deal of work reading online submissions, this is a critical issue. From that moment forward, I have used a non-serif font on my digital submissions when I deemed it appropriate. Over the years, I have found that it does, indeed, make a difference to me. That is why I have chosen to use Verdana as the typeface on my blogs. 

I also wonder about how the default affects children who are growing up online. Adults who are not aware, default to a serifed font. This is not as easy a transition as one might think for the emerging reader.  The letter “a” in particular, causes children distress. 
After thinking about these things I have changed my way of selecting font:
1.    For my own digital creations, I use a non-serifed font. You will find this on my blogs, in my course materials, and in many of the more personal submissions I make.
2.    For formal submissions, I follow the guidelines. If there are no guidelines, I usually submit in Times New Roman as that is considered the standard professional font.
3.    For elementary school students, I use a non-serifed simple font giving particular attention to the lower case “a”. This is for any computer generated materials including the materials children may be accessing digitally as well as the materials which I produce digitally to print and hand out.
4.    Love letters, I write by hand.
I’d love to hear what people have to say about font choice in a digital context. Have you thought about it? How do different fonts make you feel? Do you always go with the default or are you a font manipulator? Do you think that the default font will change as we are increasingly a digital society?

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