I supported myself in graduate school in part by working as a typesetter. The work was tedious but relatively lucrative (compared to writing for The Daily Californian for five cents per column inch); what kept me engaged were the typefaces themselves, and especially their names, each of which suggested a rich history: Futura Condensed, Broadway, Bookman, Canterbury, Times Roman, Helvetica. If I were setting type today I'd have hundreds more fonts to choose from, with far more inventive names. I keep in touch by means of the MyFonts.com e-newsletter, which each month delivers a fresh batch of funky, elegant, or mysterious typefaces along with well-written stories about type designers. Here are a few of the font names that have caught my eye lately:
By the way, the ubiquitous Helvetica typeface celebrates its fiftieth anniversary this year. A new documentary about Helvetica had its world premiere last week at SXSW, and in its honor the Manage This blog is sponsoring a contest for the best font-related haiku. Deadline is Friday, March 23. My favorite submission so far, from DJM:
i shot the serif
left him there full of leading
yearing for kerning
That's a whole lot of word play in seventeen syllables! For the uninitiated, "leading" (rhymes with "bedding") is the space between lines of type; "kerning" refers to space adjustments between letters. There are excellent explanations of these terms and more here and here.
Update: Just looked at this post online. I have no idea why the haiku looks so squirrelly. It's only three lines here in Typepad.
Second update: Aha! Got it.