Harriet – The Typeface

While browsing through the typography website typographica.org I came across a typeface called Harriet. The name, a rather unusual one these days, is what initially caught my attention for my roommate and best friend is named Harriet. Upon reviewing the font more closely I realized that it was an elegant serif font and one of my personal favorites up to date. I’m partial to serif fonts and Harriet’s modern yet youthful transitional design is right up my alley. I read more about the font and applied my Typography 1 curriculum to my analysis, thinking more about why I liked it so much. Was it the unique “historical elegance too often lost in contemporary typefaces,” or the way in which it’s styles and weights ranged so seamlessly from delicate to downright fat? Although of course a combination of all of those things, it wasn’t simply that it was a joy to read, but that I associated the typeface with it’s namesake, my dear friend Harriet.

As I read the description of the font I found myself laughing at all of the parallels between the typeface’s “personality” and that of the actual, living Harriet. The classic “well-bred” origins of the serif were tempered with the freshness of the modified design. The article went on to say that although Harriet was effortlessly elegant, it “skirts nobility – its nose may point, but not towards the sky.” I sent Harriet the article and she got a huge kick out of it. Having no real knowledge of design or typography she was fascinated by the ability of both the type designer and the author of the article to turn a series of strokes and lines set in the parameter of the alphabet into a complex portrayal of a real personality.

Of course, it’s entirely coincidental that this typeface happened to be named Harriet and contain similar characteristics to my friend; however, what I took away from this was the profound idea that a typeface, through thoughtful and intentional design, has the ability to evoke powerful and visceral reactions in the viewer.

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