Underlines Are Beautiful

Underlines, the standard, built-in signifier of hyperlinks, the core feature of the web, are beautiful.

This is objectively true. They are aesthetically one of the most delightful visual design elements ever created.

They represent the ideal of a democratized information system. They are a frail monument to the worldwide reach of ideas and discourse. They are proof of our ascension from trees and swamps, a testament to our species’ intelligence, and a witness to our inevitable downfall.

They remind us of the earliest printing press and our first effort at ubiquitous information sharing, the lowly typewriter with its single typeface and zero ability to style our words. They are proof of our skill to build within constraints and re-purpose the most mundane to become the most sublime.

Underlines are a symbol of our accomplishments as a species, as a society, and a constant reminder of everyone’s ability to elevate their voice.

But mostly I like the crunch in my molars when I click on them. The smell of ozone, the taste of pennies. They bring me the joy of Christmas morning, the calm of falling asleep in a library.

The confidence of the line, shape of the graceful rectangle, together have the beauty of a Stradivarius and the soul of wit (unlike brevity).

They are fearless in their willingness to tread the tails of the most elegant typefaces, no concern for the pomposity of the expense of a custom font or over-indulgence of a serif strapped to the descender. They are the punk rock of the staid design world.

They are as close to perfection as the face of the owner of His Noodly Appendage.

The power of the Web is in its universality. Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential aspect.

Underlines are the manifestation of this vision.

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