Monday, January 24, 2011

Font Fun (aka 'Funt')

See that jaunty font up there, spelling out the overblown title of this blog? Have you seen it before? Do you know what it's called? Until designing Morrison's Nifty Drivelarium & Gubbins Repository I had never seen it, at least offered as a choice in those drop-down thingies where fonts live. Do you like it? Having chosen it, it stands to reason that I really do. It's comfortingly familiar, lively, cheeky and full of beans. Its name, on the other hand, is surely the work of a lunatic.

I imagine most anyone who has ever used a word processing program on a PC will have encountered, and could consequently recognize, '"household" fonts like Times New Roman, Arial, Verdana and so forth. But unless you work in or have a worrying fetish for design, I think it unlikely you'll have tripped over Mountains of Christmas before. Yes, that's what this font is called: Mountains of Christmas. How silly is that? It's so silly, in fact, that I feel the need to repeat it once more: Mountains. Of. Christmas.

How did it get its name? I see it now, actually...

A couple of designer types, Nigel and Sebastian, are hunched over a monitor at T.P.W.F.A.N. (The Place Where Fonts Are Named) HQ, staring at the character map of their breezy new font, straining their brains to come up with a moniker perfectly reflecting its personality.

"How about Meadowscript?" says Sebastian.

"Nah, far too rural and wet," replies Nigel. "I think we should go with ThunderScrawl. It's vital and urgent and urban and, like, funky, yeah?"

"Simply pathetic," scowls Seb, with a dismissive tut. "You listen to way too much Level 42."

Then the door bursts open and in staggers their boss, clearly worse for wear after a liquid lunch. Rattled, his underlings try to look industrious for a moment, then invite him into the discussion. "Sigmund, we've been trying to nail it, but it's just out of our grasp. Any ideas?" asks Nigel.

"Hmmm... what about... ooh, erm... (hiccup)... I know, yes... Loads of Lent?! No, that's not it. Damn. Ooh, oh, erm... yes, it's (belch) gotta be Heaps of Hogmanay!"

Nigel and Sebastian exchange surreptitious worried glances.

"Wait a minute! Wait. A. Minute! Mountains of Christmas! That's it! MOUNTAINS OF CHRISTMAS!" screams Sigmund, just before collapsing.

"Yes! Yes! Mountains of Christmas! Sigmund, you are a genius!" chirp Nigel and Sebastian, sycophants both, as their disgrace of an immediate superior crumples to the floor.

Sad to say, it is not true that the Mountains of Christmas font was named by a drunk computer typographer called Sigmund. I wish it was, but cannot lie. My not terribly deep research reveals that it actually seems to have been developed by a lady from Minneapolis called Crystal Kluge, who co-helms a company called, ahem, Tart Workshop. It's a new font, trademarked by Font Diner, Inc. (whose Stuart Sandler is the other tart) in 2010.

So, there you have it, the story of a font in forms both true and utter cobblers. But Crystal, Stuart, what's with the name? Did it swirl from the smoke of a crack pipe? Was it spelled out by chance in the fallen crumbs of a hash cookie? Was it born in the bubbles of a brewski? Captain Curmudgeon needs to know!    

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