culture, music, and identity politics musings from a 20-something Australian-Asian living in Washington D.C.

The Online Georgian Revolution and the overthrow of Arial and TNR June 30, 2007

Filed under: Art,Society,Type,Web — itslateagain @ 4:24 pm

Georgia love

I love typeface. I go through periods of hyper-sensitivity to various things: in high school, I obsessed over athletic shoes like Air Jordans and fancy runners; before that, I was extremely conscious of passing people’s bodyshapes. Now that I am in my twenties, I’ve moved past mere human beings to the fonts in which we cast our lives: our thoughts and desires, noble efforts to inform and, never far away, the desire to sell and manipulate.

Which is why I am so happy for the Georgian revolution, which is currently sweeping across online papers and publications near you.

I believe it was led by the New York Times, which over the past couple of years has transformed itself from an overly busy, smallish-print jumble into its current marvel of elegance and beauty. In large part, it was the work of Georgia. I’m not sure how long they’ve been using it, but I do remember noticing that it isn’t Times New Roman, a font whose place on a printed page I don’t mind, but whose role on the web page should be abolished, and soon. There’s nothing that says: “We live in a globalized, clever world capable of solving major problems and our civilization is not necessarily facing impending apocalypse” like opening a firefox window to the Times’ front page.

And how the others have followed! The Guardian, the Age in Melbourne, now even Wired magazine…all of my favorite news sources are jumping aboard the Georgia parade, in all its handsome, serifed majesty, overthrowing the turgid hegemony of Arial (itself a bastard child of Helvetica) and thus issuing in a new era in web aesthetics (“font 2.0”, anyone?). It doesn’t cost anything (to my knowledge) and offers all of us a more pleasant, beautiful online world in which to wander.

To who do I owe this marvellous graphic design coup d’etat? Who is the Lenin, the Mao, the FDR, the Churchill of this great movement?

Perhaps, Bill Keller, editor of the Times. To which I say, for all of us tired of the pure fugliness of Arial and TNR: thank you oh liberator.

A google search of Georgia offers the following: an IHT article which speaks of a Georgia ‘revival,’ that it was designed in 1993 by a Matthew Carter for Microsoft (wiki), and that it was designed specifically for the screen.

Now, if only I could work out how to change my own template’s body font to Georgia…

PS: How could I forget mentioning my beloved host, WordPress, and their own role as blogosphere Georgia trailblazers. Well done, WP!


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