Fonts I have loved to hate

Comic SansThis month’s blog is a contribution from Robin Wasteney, Senior Art Director at Cooper Smith & Company.  This month is part two of the two-part series on the fonts she loves. Last month Robin shared her favorite font with us. This month…the fonts she loves to hate!

You can’t be a designer without noticing bad type. It’s everywhere. Many people don’t recognize what the style of a typeface communicates independently of the words it produces. They like how a font looks, so they use it. That’s fine for your email signature (your personal email signature—don’t even get me started!) or a party invitation. But bad type choices are everywhere. And they’re often big. Really big. Like on trucks. And on buildings. And on big, backlit signs.

Being the type geek that I am, I have a growing collection of bad found type. I have photos of signage, printed samples, t-shirts, Pinterest boards, you name it. Most, though not all, involve bad uses of Hobo. (If you’re not familiar, check out a Classic Tan location.) It’s downright addicting to look for it.

Hobo has been around forever (since 1910). It’s is a display font, meaning that it’s meant to be used in small amounts, usually large, rather than paragraphs. It’s also a ‘novelty’ font, meaning its used mostly for fun (and not generally business appropriate). It’s awkward and goofy looking (there are no descenders at all), and it’s hard to miss.

Most recently, I snagged a photo of a heating and cooling company van that had everything from the company name to the phone number set in it. Not the font you want to use if you want people to be able to read your information, let alone think you’re reliable.

I’ve snagged Iowa State (non-endorsed) apparel—for adults, not kids—with everything from the name of the school to Go Cyclones! set in Hobo, right along side the athletic logo (ISU has since put the brand smack down on things like that.

And of course, there is the aforementioned tanning logo, which I always just shake my head at—nothing about Hobo says classy, or beauty, or women, or tanning to me.

Ban Comic Sans?
Hobo ranks right up there with Comic Sans and Papyrus as one of the most wholeheartedly disliked, overused fonts out there. There are entire web sites dedicated entirely to ridding the world of Comic Sans (fortunately the designer of Hobo missed the age of internet backlash by quite a few years.)

The next time you’re bored on a family road trip, try a game of font bingo. You might become a type geek too. And keep an eye out for Hobo—it’s everywhere!

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Fonts I have loved

Mrs.Eaves This month’s blog is a contribution from Robin Wasteney, Senior Art Director at Cooper Smith & Company. Robin is a huge fan of typography. This is part one of a two-part series on the fonts she loves. Check back in August for part two: the fonts she loves…to hate!

You don’t get to be a designer without developing some kind of love, or at least respect, for typography. My love for type goes more into the geek range. It’s often the first element I choose when I begin to put a layout together on my screen. And despite all the options out there, every designer has a handful of ‘go-to’ typefaces they use more often than any others, whether just for a few years, or for some, across their career. Mrs. Eaves—an Emigre font designed by Zuzana Licko in 1996 has hovered around the top of the list for most of my career.

For me, Mrs. Eaves is to typography what FRIENDS is to sitcom television—a college favorite that never disappears. Friends is still always on some channel somewhere, and if there’s a project that doesn’t involve monster trucks or retirees, Mrs. Eaves is probably on my screen for consideration.

Most recently, I have been using Mrs. Eaves as the body copy for YogaIowa. Since we had free reign on this project to do what we wanted, I don’t believe I even considered another serif option.

Can we make it bigger?
Mrs. Eaves is a serif typeface that has a lot of unique quirks. The letterforms are slightly wide, with delicate serifs and beautiful ligatures (those characters that connect two letters together). It’s a little feminine but friendly and elegant. What’s also unique is that the x-height (the height of the main part of a letterform) is short, which causes some people find it difficult to read.

I fell in love with Health® magazine years ago because the whole magazine was set in it—I actually subscribed for a year or two until they redesigned, no doubt in part because the editorial staff had too many complaints that the font was hard to read.

Almost without fail, there is a ‘can we make the body copy bigger’ discussion when I use it with a client over the age of 30. But it’s worth the battle over appropriate point size every time.

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Pinterest Best Practices

Pinterest_blogThis month’s blog is a contribution from Julia Duvall, Account Services Coordinator at Cooper Smith & Company.

 

I love Pinterest. I find browsing on “Pinny” or “Pinster”, as I like to call it, to be such a pleasant experience. The user interface is seamless, to the point that each click feels native and intuitive. I personally started using Pinterest to organize my recipes, and have since fallen in love with the platform.

Working Account Services on the Cooper Smith & Company team, I have honed my love of this social media tool to implement Pinterest best practices for our clients. Social media is all about increasing brand reach by making meaningful connections with both loyal fans and new customers, and Pinterest is no different. Below are five tips I use to connect with both new and existing followers when managing Pinterest accounts.

Find Friends
Link your social networks together to help build a stronger Pinterest base. Under “Settings”, navigate to “Social Networks”. Options are available to connect with Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Gmail, and Yahoo. Once connected, “Find Friends” will show fans from other social networks that also use Pinterest.

Make It Easy
I hate to find a really cool recipe/blog post/etc. but no “Pin It” button. Sometimes I’m too lazy to copy the URL and paste it into Pinterest, so I don’t pin the content. Don’t lose lazy pinners! Adding a “Pin It” button to various pages on your website will increase the likelihood that followers will pin content.

Be Strategic
As tempting as it might be to pin 500 images in one day, this will clog your followers’ feed and likely be annoying. Create a few pins on a consistent basis, rather than in huge spurts. Don’t have the time to devote daily to Pinterest? Facebook recently added a scheduling tool for posts, so hopefully Pinterest will follow suit soon. In the mean time, there are a variety of pin scheduling tools available, such as Go Pixel or ViralWoot. Check out Viraltag’s free 14-day trial, no credit card required, to determine your best time of day to pin.

Curate
Arrange boards with the most popular or eye-catching at the top. A follower might not identify with the brand as a whole, but perhaps will be intrigued enough to follow one board. Periodically comb through pins and boards to ensure pins are up-to-date.

Get Real
Followers understand that a real person is managing a Pinterest account, and want to see some personality! Keep it classy, but don’t be afraid to have fun.

Pinterest has become an important tool to the social media strategy of any brand, and shouldn’t be ignored. If you’re new to Pinterest, start smart. Focus on just one or two of these tips as you begin to grow your follower base, and watch your “Pinny” presence grow!

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