Monday, May 12, 2014

Font Control

For the past three years, I have been fortunate enough to have full control over the AP Statistics program at our school.

This came with a lot of perks, as I got to control the pace, schedule, assignments, and assessments.

If I wanted to make a last-minute adjustment that I thought was in the best interest of the students, I could do so without consulting anyone.

But one of the biggest perks of having full control over what you teach — in my opinion, at least — is something you’d probably not consider immediately:

I get to decide what fonts to use.

Typeface Collage

Yes, I care about font control.

Typeface on the first day handout sets the tone.
Typeface on the first day handout sets the tone. (Unfortunately, Gotham is everywhere now — even on that “this preview has been approved…” screen at the movies — so I may move on to something else)

Hey, scoff not. After all, why does one bother dressing up fancy for a job interview? Because the way that one presents themselves — both in terms of aesthetics and in substance — matters. Presentation matters.


It makes me cringe when I see a PowerPoint dressed in Calibri… or Cambria… or — Heaven forbidComic Sans.1 I would classify these as “MOST OFFENSIVE”.

Brings a smile to my face that I'm gifted enough to have students call me on this sort of thing.
Brings a smile to my face that I’m gifted enough to have students call me on this sort of thing.

“MILDLY OFFENSIVE” would be Times New Roman or Arial.2

One of these days, I am going to be working with a team of wonderful teachers who will come up with a wonderful assessment for us to give to our students, and it will be written in Times New Roman, and when that happens, a small part of me is going to cry.

Back in 2010 when I started teaching Statistics, my predecessor and mentor, Cathy Morgan was particular3 about her fonts. While she used a lot of Comic Sans (gasp), she did introduce me to another gem of a font:


I like using this one when warning students about watching out for classic traps… or to remind them to SHOW THEIR WORK — BUT ONLY IF THEY WANT CREDIT!

"Creepy" in action (along with my serif of choice, Adelle)
“Creepy” in action (along with my serif of choice, Adelle)

Call it what you like… but it has its moments.

Earlier today, I managed a peek at next year’s AP Exam schedule. It appears that our AP Exam will NOT be on Friday afternoon next year4 — we’re back to the 2nd Wednesday5 while Calculus interestingly gets bumped up a day to Tuesday.

Screen Shot 2014-05-12 at 10.47.18 PM

  1. While I coded the html/css of this post to use the actual fonts, I realize that iOS does not have Comic Sans installed, so while I meant for this to be in Comic Sans, it might not actually render in Comic Sans on your mobile device. And that might not be a bad thing. []
  2. In the past I would put “Helvetica” in this category, but thanks in part to Apple with iOS7, Helvetica is currently trendy… []
  3. and peculiar… []
  4. Good riddance! Although, truthfully, in spite of my complaints, ending the week with the AP Exam had its perks. []
  5. and I’m not exactly overjoyed of being knocked back into the 2nd week []