Whether book text, advertising message, car number plate or monitor display, the form of the characters is influenced by the purpose they fulfill. The main consideration, which might be legibility, readability from a distance or giving a company its own unique “face”, is decisive. Fonts reflect the zeitgeist and trigger emotional responses. They are not merely designed as part of a creative game, and factors like size, proportion and the technology in which the font is to be used are of critical importance. Letters might be carved in stone, written with a quill, cast in lead or engraved in metal.
Many of today’s fonts are based on Antique predecessors or forms of writing used in the 15th-19th centuries. Others are new creations designed for special applications or came about by chance.