Our favourite fonts – part one.

 

Now, this is exciting. What happens when you cross a word nerd with a font geek? Well, this fantastic list of course. Introducing our font A-Z. A hitlist of notable and available fonts. Included either because of their glorious usability, or their cult history.

Have we missed out your ultimate go-to typeface? PLEASE let us know in the comments. It hurts to think of those cold, unused moveable type pieces huddled out there in the cold.

Let’s start from the top.

 

AVENIR

Uses? An all-rounder. Readable body text or headlines.

Avenir draws inspiration from‘Futura’, as hinted in its namesake, the word Avenir meaning “future” in French. But unlike Futura, Avenir has an ‘o’ that is not a perfect circle, shortened ascenders and vertical strokes that are thicker than it’s horizontals – not that I was looking. These nuances aid in readability and give Avenir a readable and sensible appearance for both texts and headlines.

 

 

BASKERVILLE

 

Uses? Credibility: Newsprint (not exclusively). An elegant serifed font that has been proven to cultivate brand integrity.

In 2012 The New York Times conducted a study, in which it A/B tested Baskerville against other fonts by asking 45,000 of the paper’s readership a question. The result proved that Baskerville could influence the responses of readers by making them more compelled to agree with the paper’s content. Not bad for a 250-year-old serif.

(READER DISCLAIMER: ANY ATTEMPT TO HYPNOTISE YOU WITH FONTS IS PURELY FOR RESEARCH PURPOSES. HONEST.)

 

 

CENTURY GOTHIC

Uses? An all-rounder. Readable at most sizes. Ideal for headlines, display work and small areas of text.

A classic that will probably last forever. However, inevitably somewhat overused after its sale to Microsoft. Century Gothic is a geometric sans-serif where the ‘O’ and ‘o’ characters create perfect circles.

 

 

DROID

Uses? All-rounder. Readable at very small sizes, designed specifically for screens.

Droid is a font which was created for and named after the mobile operating system Android. Launched in 2007 and specifically created to be readable at small sizes on small screens.

We mention it as 2 billion Android users will see this font daily, and it’s nice to put a name to a (type)face.  

 

 

EMOJI

Uses? Bringing joy to the masses. Communicating complicated emotions in a single character. Try to avoid them in emails to your CEO, unless your CEO uses them first.

OK, so not  [two finger emoji] t e c h n i c a l l y [two finger emoji] a typeface. However, I’d like to put forward a case. Originating on Japanese mobile phones in 1999, emoji became increasingly popular worldwide in the 2010s after being added to several mobile operating systems. And of course they did! Emojis became the text messagers bestie, by helping to decode the tone behind the message.

 

How often have you heard someone say ,with a huff, ‘Things get so lost in translationin text messages’? Enter the Emoji.  Now a cult communication technique, we should all be keeping an eye on these little yella fellas.

 

 

 

FUTURA

Uses? All-rounder, but not for the faint-hearted.

A personal favourite. One of the major typeface developments to come out of the Bauhaus movement. Designed by German-born Paul Renner in 1928, the Futura family is highly versatile due to its large range of weights. Its long characters (see lower case ‘f’), wide line spacing and it’s heritage, give it a classic cult feel. So, when using this for branding purposes make sure it sits OK with your tone. Personally, I think it’s just splendid.

 

 

GARAMOND


Uses? Credibility with flair. Famously as a typeface in print publications – namely books. Excellent for adding credibility to a written piece or brand document.

Garamond is an elegant, old-style serif typeface. The original designs came from one famed designer named Claude Garamond. However, most of today’s iterations stem from a design by Jean Jannon, done 60 years after Claude Garamond’s death.

Garamond has been famously used in Dr Seuss books, as well as the U.S. editions of the Harry Potter books.

 

 

HELVETICA

Uses? All-rounder. This font looks classic and readable in just about any level of the visual hierarchy. Helvetica Neue is the younger, sexier version of it’s more classic style and is lovely in print.

Originally designed by Max Miedinger and released by the Haas Type Foundry of Switzerland. I don’t think Helvetica will ever date. The Helvetica family can be applied seamlessly to most applications. From websites, and print, to signage. In fact, it is famously favoured for road signs.

Next time you’re on the motorway, give your old friend ‘H’ a wave.

 

 

IMPACT

Uses? Cliche/irony. Originally designed for posters. Today, it is associated with memes.

Impact is a sans-serif typeface, composed by Geoffrey Lee in 1965. Lee was an advertising design director and designed Impact with posters and publicity material in mind. However, like many of the more characterful fonts released with Microsoft Windows 98 and it’s kin – it is now resonant with a cliche.

Today, this iconic and somewhat-overused-in-school-presentations font, has been granted cult status and is synonymous with memes.

 

 

JOHNSTON:

Uses? All-rounder. Highly versatile in print or signage at varying sizes. Easy on the eye.

We have mentioned road signage – but, how about public transport? Johnston was designed for purpose, as the corporate font that would represent Public Transport London; and has done since 1933. Johnston has survived rebrands, revamps and retroreflectors (ok, just kidding about the last one); and has come out on top.  It’s clear. Relatable and readable character had a galvanising effect the direction of type design, and all type designers who followed.

 

KABEL.

Uses? Titles and stand out headers. An elegant typeface to use for posters, and titles. Both readable, yet with added flare Kabel has famouly been used on album covers and in magazines.

I have included this little guys because he’s a rule breaker. Oh yes.

Designed by Rudolf Koch and released in 1927. Kabel is a result of a trend in ‘geometric’ style sans-serifs that was emerging at the time. A Geometric sans-serif typeface is based on geometric shapes, like near-perfect circles and squares.

However, Kabel applies a number of unusual design decisions, such as a delicately low x-height (although larger in the bold weight), a tilted ‘e’ and irregularly angled terminals. This attributed to the fact that Koch was an expert calligrapher which was reflected in his design style.

 

Enjoyed this? Give us a follow on Twitter, where we’re always banging on about all things content. And tune in next month, for our favourite fonts part two.