I received a letter today from a young lady named Hanna Donohue who lives in West Chester. I know that’s her name and how it’s spelled because of a label on the envelope she sent me.
Hanna also signed her name at the end of the letter. Her signature is less legible. Had it been typed I would have not had any problem at all reading it. And if she had typed it she would have had to make a choice of fonts.
Which, after all, was the point of her letter because a week or so ago we printed a story about West Chester Borough and its obsession with the fonts used on their meeting agendas and other borough documents.
Daily Local News reporter Jeremy Gerrard wrote in his article that the borough was keenly aware of what he described as a “font faux pas.”
Here’s a part of Jeremy’s article:
As of February’s monthly meeting, all borough agenda and website documents will utilize the standard Georgia font opposed to the long-used Comic Sans.
“(Comic Sans) has never gone away, I don’t know what it is about the aesthetic, it’s kind of a stupid looking thing,” said JoAnne Mottola, a graphic designer with West Chester University who has studied typeface.
Discussion to change the font used on borough documents popped up on the agenda of the borough’s Kaizen, Technology and Communications Committee in February.
Borough Councilman Stephen Shinn added it to the agenda after considering the fonts used by other municipalities which appeared more formal than the font on borough documents.
In her letter, Hanna, a high school sophomore, wondered why we chose to put this story on the front page of the newspaper.
“Don’t get me wrong, the story was important and relevant to Chester County,” she wrote. “There are conflicts all over the world…I would ask that next time, you would be more sensitive to global issues rather than esteeming local issues over these global problems.”
Hanna, the problem here is that while the story was well written and researched by Jeremy, the point was that we felt borough council was wasting a lot of time and energy on such a trivial matter. So to disagree with you, no, this story ISN’T important and it’s NOT relevant. It’s a change that someone should have yelled from one borough desk to another borough desk. There. Done. End of story.
But no. Councilman Shimm actually addressed this as it was something truly important.
“We use something that look a little more kind of casual so I guess my suggestion would be that we move in a more sharp, professional looking way,” Shinn said at the meeting.
Borough Manager Ernie McNeely said there has never been and formal discussion on what font to use before recent meetings, and the use of the Comic Sans font evolved over time, according to Jeremy’s story.
To see how silly all of this is, here’s more from Jeremy’s article:
The Kaizen Committee is a new committee added to the borough as of January.
According to the definition, Kaizen literally translates from Japanese to “continuous improvement”. Kaizen is a philosophy dedicated to improving productivity by maintaining slow positive change.
Among the committee’s first discussed items was a comprehensive update of the borough’s website.
Decision on the font was tabled to council’s work session a week after the committee meeting so members could compare prepared samples.
After a brief discussion the decision to move forward with Georgia as the borough’s standard typeface was put on the consent agenda for the regular council meeting.
Agendas for the council meeting jumped the gun, anticipating a font change by printing in Georgia before an official vote could be taken.
So yes Hanna, we agree that there are all sorts of important world events happening and we agree that those stories should and do belong on the pages of the Daily Local News. And there are all sorts of very important local stories.
In this case, the choice of fonts for borough printed and website materials wasn’t one of them. Which is precisely why we chose to write about it?
Confused? I would understand if you were. We were just as confused when we heard about the great lengths the borough was going to to resolve such a major issue. It makes no sense to us and is a huge waste of time.
— Andy Hachadorian