It’s a hobby of mine. Mostly it happens inside my head, because there isn’t anyone around to tell about a particularly egregious sighting. But my more geeky friends, or those who could become it or who don’t mind my showing it, may have heard me pointing out a typeface as we drive by it, or an outstanding design adaptation, or a horrendous mix-up. Once I saw seven different fonts used on one sign for one business. Seven! Can you believe it? Well, at least it wasn’t a book cover, though I’ve seen that too, and it was not pretty. That would be a curse of fatal death.
There are two main things that bother me in public font use. One is when people use really common fonts that are standard issue and way too overused. Put some effort in, people! I’m not talking about book or blog body text, those need to be clear and plain. But signs and titles are different. The other large problem is when I spot a type of lettering I’ve used myself in a design project—a book cover, a logo, a website. It was mine, dangit, and I probably spent days hunting down just the right one, only to see it grinning back at me from a car yard or restaurant sign. Well, at least those things have a limited local sphere of visibility. Mine are all over the internet, after all.