I was once fond of a font

Posted on December 11, 2000

Today, we will start with a short rhetorical quiz. This means you actually don't have to say the answers out loud or bubble in letters on a standard form. All you have to do is keep reading, and the answers will be revealed!

Question 1: How is a font used in HTML?

A. To carry holy water from URL to URL

B. Either to sacrifice a runner to second or third, or you can try the suicide font, which means someone scores

C. To define what text will look like on a certain page

Answer: C. Some Web developers will define fonts by using the &amp lt FONT&amp gt tag. Even if the font is defined in this way, you can change it. Under Preferences or Internet Options, depending on what browser you are using, you can define the type of font and the size you want to use.

Question 2: What are Geneva, Helvetica and Palatino

A. Names of girls who I've dated

B. Names of girls who have beaten me up, then I dated

C. Names of fonts

Answer: C. Contrary to popular beliefs, I do not know anyone named Helvetica. Back in the Preferences and Internet Options area, you should have a choice of fonts from which to choose. You select a Variable Width Font, which usually is the text on pages, and Fixed Width Font, which usually appears in forms or anywhere the width is fixed (duh!).

Question 3: What does CSS stand for?

A. Central Service Station

B. Cause for Self-destructing Salami

C. Cascading Style Sheets

Answer: C. (By now, you should see some type of pattern, and you should be able to complete the remainder of the quiz with ease. If not, please note Question 2, choice B., and send me an e-mail). Web designers know of CSS styles, which is redundant (Cascading Style Sheets styles?), but no one cares. Cascading Style Sheets were introduced as a World Wide Web Consortium recommendation on Dec. 17, 1996. These are used primarily if a designer does not want to give viewers the ability to change font faces or sizes. For an introduction to CSS styles, read Robert Every's Cascading Style Sheet Editor . This is a little-known fact, But Every married a None -- Geneva None, to be exact, but the font ran dry and Every's no where to be found.

Question 4: What is the difference, when dealing with fonts, between points and pixels?

A. There is no such thing as a 3-pixel shot.

B. They both begin with 'p,' end with 's,' have six letters and work as maintenance men at the Central Service Station.

C. Platforms read point size differently, whereas they read pixels the same.

Answer: C. Make sure you read the whole question! Choice B was tricky. Point widths really define only what something would look like if it were printed. Pixels, however, have absolute meaning on every monitor because that's how resolution is measured.

Question 5: What is the best way to really get to know your fonts?

A. Take them to a bar and try to order a 3-pixel shot.

B. Don't EVER tell them you know anyone named Palatino.

C. Try different ones, pick what you like and be aware of the changes.

Answer: It's C again! If you made it this far, congratulations! I barely made it as well. If you were expecting to learn something from this quiz, I hope you did. If not, just be careful if you meet someone named Helvetica. And whatever you do, don't mention the suicide font -- she may break out in hives or at least some random font face.