Last week was a big week for Instagram. The social media platform released its clunky rip-off of TikTok called Reels, which was immediately met with bad reviews. However, Instagram also made four more fonts available for widespread use in stories. Now, this was news. Considering that the world is trudging through a pandemic, we’re about to enter into the most pivotal election of our time, and there is deep societal unrest, fonts are not the most pressing issue of our day, nor are they life altering. But we'll take any chance we can to hyper-analyze trivial social media choices.
We all know font choice says a lot about a person. Times New Roman and Calibri are basically rival gangs in undergraduate English classes across the nation, and nothing outs you as uptight and petty quicker than having Century Gothic as your standard email font. Instagram’s new options range from standard to a thin, artsy option that was directly ripped from The Cut’s website. Instagram did not provide us with names for the new fonts, so we have taken the liberty to do so. We have also modelled them. We then assigned each font a personality, so you can make an educated decision on which you feel most spiritually connected to. What do the new fonts say about who you are as a human being? Which is right for you and your strategically curated online persona?
This user either doesn’t know you can change the font, or is making a very deliberate, stylistic choice to show people that they aren’t trying too hard and don’t take their own Instagram stories that seriously. They are a would-be typewriter font user, but slightly more self-aware. Normal is boring, but normal is stable.
This font user stands directly in front of the subway doors instead of moving to the middle of the train. They still wear their Bonnaroo wristband from 2017, and they have an entire monologue prepared for when anyone points out that the unraveling piece of string on said wristband is a breeding ground for bacteria. They prefer an amber ale, and they make extended conversation with the people at the neighbouring table until their friends decide to stop inviting them to dinner.
The cursive user lives in a very particular, curated world. Using the cursive font suggests to people that this user is just not going to see the bad things going on today. This person has been to High Tea with their mother before. They do photo collage stories wishing every single one of their old sorority friends "happy birthday." They match their lipstick to their nail polish colour and they colour coordinate their bookshelves.
The Almost Published font (aka the Typewriter font) user only posts photos that are micro or macro. This font is used by the comically introspective. If you happen to wrangle their phone away, you’ll find a whole litany of unpublished poems in the Notes app. The content? Absolutely incomprehensible. This person would decorate their apartment with a rustic, industrial vibe if they had the money, but the poems… they just can’t get them to sell. One day. This person always asks their date if they’ve ever heard of A24 before. You know, the film studio?
To use the BRO font is to make it plain and clear: You own a lot of Nike shit. This is the hypebeast of fonts. This user likes sneakers, even though they have removed themselves from sneaker culture. It’s toxic, man. The person who uses this font utilises it to post their Strava bike routes to their stories because they’re really proud of their 20 miles per hour time. No one outside the biking community really knows what that means.
Comic Sans Adjacent
This font is absolute chaos, but what makes it so appealing is that the chaos can take so many forms. At its most innocent, using Comic Sans on Instagram is the kind of move a mom in her early 40s might make. She has manic, “I have to get out of this grocery store” energy. On the other end of the font spectrum, Comic Sans might indicate that you're dealing with a psychopath. Have you ever watched a movie where a doll comes to life, and there’s that split second when the doll is alive but not killing anyone? That’s Comic Sans energy. That’s the vibe they’re giving off to their follower list.
Using this font is like wearing a red Gucci belt bag in 2020. People who use it are likely confused as to why The Cut never responded to one of the eight resumes they’ve emailed directly to the managing editor. They don’t Instagram any photos with blue backgrounds because their feed is uniformly pale pink and that would ruin the overall aesthetic. They stalk themselves frequently. They are redecorating their apartment right now with lots of feminist printouts because the future is female, squad. And they would like to take the seat on the side of the table with the neon sign in the background, if that’s okay!
This font gives off strong and distinct Android-user vibes. It’s the least performative of the fonts – when you use this, you’re actively trying to not put too much out there. Why not the normal font then? Because this one suggests its users have personality without getting mucked down in the weird nuance that comes with leveraging a serif to make a point. The Android font user is a kind soul. A mediator among friends. They don’t care about their follower/following ratio. This is someone who is willing to put up with the group decision to get Mexican food, despite having said multiple times that they’re not a fan.
New Money Serif
This font is about the illusion of wealth. Using it suggests opulence without any proof that its user knows anything about money. This font has a Roth IRA, even if its user doesn't. There is a simplicity in this font, which is what makes it so alluring. The simple serif. The fine lines. Using it says that you take yourself seriously, but also beware. This font is favoured by people who want to seem wealthy, but all it takes is a couple joint hits at a Chainsmokers concert in the Hamptons amid a pandemic, and they'll find themselves back on the BRO font, outing themselves to everyone.
This Instagram font decision is a long-term commitment. Don't fuck it up, because using multiple fonts is even more chaotic than just choosing Comic Sans.
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