How sans serif is your beard? Are your chin whiskers more of a Bodoni, a Times, or a Comic Sans? Exactly what typographical allegiances does your facial ‘fro owe? And what is your favorite font’s beard brother?
These are the questions asked by the Typography Beard Guide, a humorous chart by artist and beard wearer Christian Goldemann, in which 25 popular facial hair styles are assigned a font based upon their layout and characteristics of its follicles.
Asked by Co.Design about what makes a good font brother for a beard, the Stuttgart graphic designer is the first to admit he can’t really explain it in words. “For most of the facial hair styles, I picked fonts based upon the shape of the beard or whether a particular person who wore that kind of beard would have favored a particular font,” Goldemann tells me. “But it’s more than just linking a certain beard to a font that was contemporary at a time, or to a person. There’s no set formula.”
Nonetheless, you can pretty easily intuit the method behind the madness of the Typography Beard Guide. A plain moustache like the one John Watson liked to wear gets paired with the Baskerville font because of the Sherlock Holmes connection. A Darwin style beard is font brother to the sensible and eminent Hoefler Text, which seems like a font Darwin would have liked. The Old Dutch becomes the moustache-less beard of righteous, no-nonsense Garamond, while wearing No Beard at all makes your face as bald, boring, and openly readable as Verdana.
Other pairings aren’t necessarily as obvious. For example, an Egyptian Goatee is paired with Clarendon, a font-beard combination that makes sense only if you know that Clarendon is a slab serif, or Egyptian, style font. Balbo and Bembo seem mostly paired for the pleasing typographic similarities of their names. And some combinations are hard to figure out at all: Pairing Futura with Z.Z. Top is befuddling at best.
For the most part, though, the Typography Beard Guide does somehow grok with our own internal expectations of the types of facial hair the fonts living inside our computers would actually wear. Of course Franklin Gothic wears a prim, fastidious Hungarian moustache. Flamboyant, flashy Zapfino would obviously wax up its Dali before making an appearance anywhere. Helvetica Neue is the typographic avatar of Frank Zappa, and as for Akzidenz Grotesk, what better beard for that font than Rasputin’s beard of choice, the Garibaldi? Rasputin, after all, was stabbed, shot, poisoned, strangled, beaten, and drowned. Talk about grotesque accidents.
As for the legendary pornstache? What other font accurately conveys its oiliness, its misplaced confidence, its sleazy sensuality better than Fago? You could tattoo the word “moustache” across your upper lip in the font for the exact same effect.
In a recent blog post, A Song of Ice and Fire author George R. R. Martin describes what the “real” Iron Throne — the one he imagines when he’s writing the books, not the one from HBO’s Game of Thrones — looks like. He points readers to this illustration by Marc Simonetti, which depicts the Iron Throne more as the author intended.
This Iron Throne is massive. Ugly. Assymetric. It’s a throne made by blacksmiths hammering together half-melted, broken, twisted swords, wrenched from the hands of dead men or yielded up by defeated foes… a symbol of conquest… it has the steps I describe, and the height. From on top, the king dominates the throne room. And there are thousands of swords in it, not just a few.
This Iron Throne is scary. And not at all a comfortable seat, just as Aegon intended.
In the blog post, Martin goes on to highlight the differences between the show’s Iron Throne and the novel version of his own creation:
The HBO throne has become iconic. And well it might. It’s a terrific design, and it has served the show very well. There are replicas and paperweights of it in three different sizes. Everyone knows it. I love it. I have all those replicas right here, sitting on my shelves.
And yet, and yet… it’s still not right. It’s not the Iron Throne I see when I’m working on THE WINDS OF WINTER. It’s not the Iron Throne I want my readers to see. The way the throne is described in the books… HUGE, hulking, black and twisted, with the steep iron stairs in front, the high seat from which the king looks DOWN on everyone in the court… my throne is a hunched beast looming over the throne room, ugly and assymetric…
The HBO throne is none of those things. It’s big, yes, but not nearly as big as the one described in the novels. And for good reason. We have a huge throne room set in Belfast, but not nearly huge enough to hold the Iron Throne as I painted it. For that we’d need something much bigger, more like the interior of St. Paul’s Cathedral or Westminster Abbey, and no set has that much room. The Book Version of the Iron Throne would not even fit through the doors of the Paint Hall.
Over The Line is a group art show at Ltd. Art Gallery in Seattle featuring a collection of original artwork “paying tribute
to the many incredible films of the legendary Coen brothers.” The show opened on Friday, June 7, 2013 and will run through Sunday, July 14, 2013. You can still RSVP for the event online via Facebook.
images via Ltd. Art Gallery and credited artists