Wonky Type Wonderland

Let’s be honest, when I’m at a party I love when someone gets rip-roarin’ drunk and makes a crazy fool of himself. Usually that person is me, and I’m wearing the lampshade. I can’t say I recall any of the most embarrassing moments, although I did have a taxi go through a Jack in the Box drive thru at 2 in the morning.

I also love when type gets drunk and wonky. I’m not talking about type that is a tiny bit “wacky”. I like the stuff that is out of control all over the place. The 1950s and 60s were a haven for drunk type. I imagine, based on Mad Men, that the designers were smashed at work, so the type followed. Today, there is less crazed drinking at work (most days). This results in stand-up sober, polite typography. Which is fine when it’s at a meeting of neurologists or CEOs, but let’s agree that type should be let out to have a groovy time once in a while.

Wonky Type Round-up

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I can spot the issues of a counter in a bad cut of Bembo. I berate students until I see tears for the use of a bold serif (bad, bad, bad). Yet, I love wonky type. I’m not talking about über-hip hand-drawn letterforms on a gallery announcement. I’m talking about a 1965 Sprite can. There is something so happy and hopeful about wonky type. It’s spontaneous and communicates levity. This love, however, should not be taken as an excuse by any current or future student as an excuse to ignore tragic typographic choices such as ITC Garamond Bold Italic.