I am a self-taught graphic designer and I have been lacking some real understanding of typography. I know very little about the history of typography, it's technological evolutions and the rules of best practice. I see the world of typography as being as complicated and unfriendly as the messy font collection we have at work. When I dive into FontAgent at the office, I don't know where the fonts come from, what they where made for and how I can best understand and use them (nor does my boss).
I've been reading some intersting articles on different sites dedicated to type and I've learned quite a lot but I feel there is still a website to make about typography vernacular. The language used is often confusing, contradictory and esoteric. For exemple what is a font? Seems like a silly question since I use the word everyday, but if I think about it I don't really know where the word comes from and what it really refers to. Last night I was reading an advert for the excellent Enigma, it read “Enigma has 3 fonts, 2 wheights, and 4 styles”. Er... excuse me but I thought that Enigma was the font ?!
At this point I would like to recommand an article that has really helped me understand some of the fonts I am using at work. When typefaces were experimantal by Paul Shaw is the kind of essential literature for grahic designers to understand where those long lists of fonts in their machines come from. I just wish they were some more of that didactic stuff on the web or in books.
I have a straight question for you, it's probably not the most important but it really bugs me. Why do Herculanum, papyrus and odd fonts like that come standard with my OS X system?