Design is funny.
For a reason that is unbeknownst to me, the only typeface I see these days in storefronts, on menus and in advertisments is Papyrus. It’s a pretty ugly [PDF] font. By that I mean that it’s both pretty and ugly. Mostly kind of ugly.
Designed in 1983, this font has been around a long time and it’s been part of the Linotype collection for a while. For the past few years (perhaps as many as 4), Apple purchased the rights to include the font in every installation of OS X and, thus, every hippy, gardener, menu designer, aesthete, movie goer, spa owner, granola maker, yogurt eater, book binder and peace activist who has purchased a Macintosh of late has had access to Papyrus.
The font looks like a hand-written, or slightly scrawled, message that was seriously bitten around the edges by termites and other semi-natural phenomenon. It has nice, large and easy-to-read capitals and a set of equally legible numbers, making it great for prices of beet juice. And the lower case text is round and real and slightly old with a slightly sweet face, looking much like a wide, wizened raisin in the sun of funky valley. The totality of the experience of seeing this font used over and over and over again is, for me, one of regret, desperation and remorse. Must anything remotely peaceable, naturalistic or organic have this font floating around it like a buzzard on a bison? Isn’t it possible that cold, aloof, and downright mechanical fonts (like ol’ Helvetica, new Gotham, or fine Locator) also could signify the possibility of social progress, the aspirations of non-GMO farming or the health of the soul?
Design is funny.