Andy Murdock is co-founder of The Statesider: “The most interesting US travel stories, delivered directly to your inbox.” Here he writes about the 222 fonts he found with names associated with US states.
Before 1984, I had never encountered the word “font.” Then a Macintosh computer showed up in my house.
A beige block with a too-small black and white screen and a thingy called a “mouse,” the first thing I saw when I turned it on was “Welcome to Macintosh” in what I would soon learn was a font called Chicago. Both the smily Mac and the Chicago font that greeted anyone booting up a Mac in the mid ’80s were designed by Susan Kare, and they both captured the friendly, accessible new era of computing that made the Mac so revolutionary.
There wasn’t much to do on it right away. I got a text adventure game version of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy because a clerk at Egghead Software dropped a shelf on my mom’s head and gave it to her as a “please don’t sue us” gift. Otherwise, I had MacPaint and MacWrite where I could draw and type whatever I could think of, and there was a menu of fonts to choose from — not just Chicago, but a list of fonts named for world cities. Monaco, London, San Francisco, Cairo. Words weren’t just words, they could be design, history, geography.