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Flash Professional Basics

The rules and how to break them

Choosing fonts and using them properly requires subjective, not objective decisions. Still, there are some very loose guidelines for font usage you might wish to consider. You can also feel free to break them if the right opportunity presents itself.

The origin of serifs and other useless information

Nobody can say with any accuracy how serifs suddenly arrived on the scene. The most plausible explanation has to do with the lettering in Rome.

At the time, letters were carved into stone columns and so on. These letters were carved after a scribe, using a brush, "painted" the letters onto the stone. The serif appeared when the scribe stopped the brush and lifted it, leaving a bit of a brush edge on the letter. The carver, not seeing the error, simply chiseled that edge out of the stone as well. Thus the serif.

Another explanation is the serif was developed by scribes adding a stroke when the hand drawn letter was finished.

Another of our other favorites is the origin of the "gibberish" or "Greek" that is used for text placement- Lorem Ipsum. The origin of "Lorem Ipsum" actually goes back to the early 1500's when typographers would create specimen books of their fonts. Where did they get it? Before and After Magazine,, Volume 4, Number 2 offered a rather interesting explanation.

According to the article, the phrase is Latin and is taken from Cicero's "de Finibis Bonorum et Malorum" which was written in 45 BC. The actual phrase is: "Neque porro quisquam est qui dolorem ipsum quia dolor sit amet, consectetur, adipisci velit ..." The early typographers simply scrambled it up.

Each of the letterforms in a font is there for a specific reason. Never forget, for an instant, that the use of certain "marks" can actually destroy the understanding of a word or even change its meaning to something completely opposite to the original intent.

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photo Tom Green
Tom Green

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Teacher, author, raconteur. Here's a run down of what I have been up to over the past few years. My Bio.

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