TypeFaces: An interview with Heather Mann of Dollar Store Crafts

Welcome to the first ever TYPEfaces interview series, a FontCrafts exclusive feature! On TYPEfaces, we talk to our fave crafters, illustrators, and bloggers about their font expertise, fun stories, and their love/hate relationship with all things type.

Our first featured artist is Heather Mann, founder and editor of a bevy of great sites including Dollar Store Crafts, Decor Hacks, Craft Fail, and Crafterminds!  If you haven’t visited her many sites, now is the time to start!  Heather is a driving force in the crafty and creative blogosphere and always has the most amazing articles, insight and advice to share!

Heather, in fact, inspired and encouraged me (Alexa) to get this site up and running, so it’s only fitting that she be the first person we interviewed!

So sit back, and enjoy the interview.  If you’re a font nerd from back in the day (like both me and Heather were), you’ll be able to relate to what she has to say!!

Which font do you love the most and which one do you despise?
After seeing the documentary Helvetica, I can’t choose any other font as my favorite. I know, it’s like picking vanilla as your favorite ice cream flavor. Most recently downloaded font is Japan. I have used it a few times.

Font that I despise? I’m skipping over the vanilla choice for this one (that would be Comic Sans), and going straight to Bleeding Cowboys. That poor font has been abused so much (especially by craft bloggers!). It’s basically a one-hit wonder. Once you use it one time in a project, you can never use it again. I have never used it, and as of this interview, I promise to never use it.

You’ve created a lot of logos for all your many sites and they each have their own unique flair. Do you spend a lot of time developing them?
I have pretty simple tastes when it comes to logo designs. I usually do the straight line of text in a single font and call it a day, mostly because I am lazy, and the quick and dirty versions of things often do almost as good a job as the long and tedious versions. Sometimes a simpler design looks more classy and professional and hides the fact that you are a less experienced designer.

Once in awhile, I have a good idea, and I am able to adequately execute it (I think I got it right on the Decor Hacks logo). I try to consider what the logo looks like in a square version (so often necessary for online profiles, etc), and what it looks like in monochrome vs. color. Also, how will I design the 16x16px favicon?

My husband is a graphic designer by day, and has designed a couple of our logos. He is responsible for the logo for CraftFail. He cut his own font out of potato stamps for the logo, complete with a backward F.

What do you think is one of the biggest typography mistakes people make when building their pages? Do you have any tips or suggestions for making a web page easier to read?

My love of fonts and clean layout dates back to designing pages for my school newspaper when I was in high school. I still adhere to principles I learned in newspaper layout when I design a webpage, a blog post, or any PR materials. The main requirement is readability. A good design and proper font choices make your material easier to read.

So, biggest typography mistake: choosing an unreadable font. Most decorative fonts are not appropriate for headlines (and certainly not for the body text of an article). And if you want to make a page more readable, make liberal use of paragraphs, as well as transitional text like headlines, subheads and bulleted lists.

Oh, and my bad. My love for fonts dates back to the late 80s/early 90s when we got our first PC and I learned the word “font.” My dad made this font cheat sheet showing all the fonts we had on our computer and what they looked like printed out at various sizes. I think I got most of my gross font abuse out back then when I used ten different fonts on every project when I was in junior high.

My favorite font in the early days was Tekton. I can’t imagine using that font anywhere today! And does anyone remember Treefrog? That was like the Bleeding Cowboys of 1993.

Heather’s fave font from yesteryear, Tekton.

4) Do you have any personal FontCrafts you’ve personally created? Please share and tell us about them.
Why yes, thank you for asking! I made a Recycled Tie Banner — I maimed some thrift store ties to make a Dadtastic banner, a Jointed Letter Banner (with downloadable template) — inspired by those cheap and cheerful jointed party banners, and Stenciled Decorator Tins.

5) What are some of your favorite FontCrafts you’ve seen on the web or featured on your many sites?
This Reverse Painted Sign by Cathe Holden blew my mind. The technique has so much possibility and the final product looks amazing. Plus, it’s a nod to the hand-painted typography of the early 20th century.

I liked this Designer-Inspired Number Art over at My Frugal Family.

I like this Free Polka Dot Animal Alphabet download at The Craft Begins.

One of Heather’s fave printables…Free Polka Dot Animal Alphabet by The Craft Begins.

And finally, if you had to pick a font that described your personality (this doesn’t have to be your favorite font, just a good representation) what would it be and why?

Well, this was a hard question so I got some help from PBS.org and took a quiz. And, shockingly, they totally pegged me with Impact. I’m not a LOLcats fan, but I have probably used Impact more in the last 20 years than any other font (besides the normal ones used for regular paragraph text, like Arial, Courier, and Times New Roman). Impact represents me well because it is all about simple lines, concise information, and good content. Anything you put in Impact makes a… well, an impact.

Heather’s quiz result from the PBS.org What Font Are You? Quiz

Thanks Heather for answering our questions and for being so awesome!!  You truly are FONTastic!


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