Additional Math Pages & Resources

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Choose for yourselves this day

In the last few weeks I have written about the basic building blocks of math:
  • 4 main operations - add, subtract, multiply and divide
  • symbols for those and other things, like the equals sign =
  • a primary math tool - the pencil
  • numbers themselves
and so on. I suppose one could exhaust one's self in trying to describe everything that makes up the mathematics world. Luckily I can do this as a small part of making a living. And I enjoy learning about math. That makes it a lot more fun. Serving a demanding master (the deadline) is still hard work, but at least the work is tolerable.

You may think math is about numbers ( it is ) but there are plenty of keen math words too.

Remember the patented process I mentioned in the last blog, where software chooses the font that best describes the content of an image? Well I don't have that kind of trickery at my desk. It was a patent application, not reality. And its downside is that it takes away the artistic and creative judgement that provides much of the fun of publishing.

I do my fontificating* the old-fashioned way, by thinking, reviewing choices, imagining the look, and applying the font. Here are a few math words, in fonts and looks that my imagination could cook up:

This is much more fun than creating a serious Glossary, which is what you will get if you click on the link.

When you write a glossary, the words have to spelled correctly, the concepts must be checked over and over again to make sure they 1) are correct, 2) make sense, 3) are illustrated clearly, 4) page references match, etc. It's lots of hard work.

With desktop publishing we can stylize words and give them a look and feel that express their meaning. The look of the words can be what ever you um, err, ah choose!

Why don't you take your one favorite word and just for fun, design it like I have done with the examples here. You won't be the only one to enjoy playing with the look and feel of a word; I found this quote in a typesetting book:

"we said at the outset of this chapter that character formatting was like recess; the fun part of word processing. If that's the case, fonts must be like the shiny new curly-cue slide that all the kids line up to slide down"

There are plenty of fonts around; most of them underutilized and unloved. And believe it or not, fonts and math are completely intertwined. But that's another story, for another day.

* - not a real word.

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