The Big Valley of curly type

Doyald Young inscribed one of his books to me with this phrase, “To Sean, a friend, classicist, and typophile.” I take this is a compliment. I hope Doyald didn’t mean classicist as a bad sense of class distinctions. Perhaps at his dinner, I shouldn’t have insisted his maid not look me in the eye. I appreciate this compliment, and consider myself fairly traditional typographically. I have friends who have taken their children to some of Paris, London, and Rome for cultural education. They visit the Louvre; take classes in pasta making, and tour private collections. I’d like to say I did the same, hence my refined sense of classical typography. But my cultural influences were born in a small cow town in northern Nevada, and a ranch with endless volumes of National Geographic and Nevada magazine.

As I grew older, I went through that bad phase, when I rejected all of that. I moved to New York, only used a handful of classic fonts, the finest papers, and sat at only the right dinner parties. Dumb. I know now that the best dinner parties are the wrong kind of dinner parties. What fun is it until someone is in tears, something breaks, or a fight starts? And I rediscovered my low-end cultural influences. Curly type, bad silhouettes, odd western typefaces, and terrible photography are much more fun.