On All Caps

There is just something about all caps that annoys me.

I don’t exactly know what it is. It’s ugly, but not horribly unpleasing. It’s harder to read, but not unreadable.

Maybe it seems angry or arrogant, as if screaming. But all caps doesn’t necessarily sound that way in my head. Maybe it’s just entirely superfluous. But a lot of things are.

Regardless of the reason, I’m always annoyed when someone needlessly uses all caps in some form of design. It’s high up there on my list of typography pet peeves.

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On Alignment Tab Characters

One of my pet peeves is the use of tab characters for alignment. Sure, this might have been acceptable in the early days of computing. But it’s really not a good idea any more.

Tabs display differently depending on the settings, since they do not come built-in with an alignment configuration.

Rather, tabs should be used for delimitation. For instance, separating the values in a table with tabs is often superior to doing so with commas.

Tabs should not be used for indentation. This is true of both code and word processor documents. Spaces are much more portable and flexible. The TAB key, on the other hand, is a perfectly reasonable shortcut for an editor to automatically indent code with spaces, or for a word processor to apply the appropriate indented paragraph style.

Multiple tabs should not be used to make tables look “nicer”. It’s the responsibility of the editor to display TSV files in a sane format; using multiple tabs is simply not portable and semantically wrong.

I realize this is a somewhat contentious topic—some people to this day still prefer tabs to spaces for indenting code, for example. My personal view is that indenting code with tabs is utterly ridiculous. I don’t personally see why this is even a debate.

Embracing Sans

I used to be a big fan of serif fonts.

I still am, to large extent. But over the last few months, I’ve developed a love for sans-serif fonts also.

Sans-serif fonts are attractive because they’re minimal. They’re clean. They’re nice to look at. And once one gets used to them, they’re just as easy to read as serif fonts are.

Serif fonts have their uses. They give a classic look to works. They’re familiar, and they’re readable. At the time of this writing, this blog’s default theme used Lora, a serif font. But, increasingly, I’ve started to prefer sans-serif for many things. Like my website, which at the time of this writing is now using Ubuntu, a very clean and modern sans-serif font.

Maybe one day this blog will switch too. I’m ready to embrace sans.