Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Meme: Desert Island Fonts

So. Design deity Andy Budd (who's just plain cool) started this whole "Desert Island Fonts" thing... and I could have just ignored the meme, but I love fonts... love love love them. There's just something so magical about how the curve of an "a" or the swoosh of a "Q" can convey so much.

At any rate, here's are my "six fonts I'd use if I could only own six"... and like almost everyone else, I'm referring to font families which can actually include dozens of typefaces. But who's keeping score, right?

Helvetica Neue

Adobe Garamond Pro

P22 Edward Hopper

Stephanie Marie


Voluta Script Pro

Of course, this isn't really fair. I have 1500 fonts in my library, and choosing just six comes down to my choosing what would get me the most mileage... without regard to the 20 or so fonts whose attack I find wholly enchanting — if only _because_ they can't be used so widely.


Justin H said...

I'm an aspiring font snob, and totally get your fascination with a beautiful typeface. I know my tastes may run to the pedestrian, but I'm currently coveting:

Bembo (the lowercase f just does it for me)


I've worked a great deal in Galliard (I like the cut used in the scriptures with the shorter x-height, but I've worked with the regular size most often), Adobe's Caslon, and Minion.

Anyway, great entry. And I really like your blog.

Silus Grok said...

You're very kind, Justin.

For me, Rs and Qs are the clincher... the stroke on the upper-case Q and the Rs are just so difficult to do well, that I make the (erroneous) assumption that if the font designers can do them well, that they probably do everything else well, too.

Anyway... I appreciate the kind words. I hope to see you around in the future!

Oh, and be sure to click-through to Andy's posts on typefaces for more typographic goodness.

Justin H said...

I already clicked through, bookmarked, and will be coming back in the future. (And was happy to see that some of my favorites were cited by those guys, too!)

I'm with you on the tail of the upper-case Q. Have you seen the Q in Adobe's Caslon Pro? It's quite nice without being too flashy.

Silus Grok said...

Yes, I have... Caslon is nice.

: )

Rusty said...

Silus, you are wise to choose Helvetica Neue first. Garamond is not a bad second. You lost me a bit on the following two scripts, you sadden me with Officina, but redeem yourself with Voluta. Not bad (except for Officina, but we can pretend you never suggested it :)

My six desert island fonts:

Is there another sans serif?

Akzidenz Grotesk
A beautiful alternative for those rare days you are tired of Helvetica

Is there a more beatiful letterform than a Clarendon #2?

Bodoni (including Poster)
Is there another serif font?

Is there a more elegant display font?

Beautiful. What can I say more?

Heofler Text
The most usable serif font

Gotta bring a slab

Obligatory trendy font

Yeah, as if I can only bring six... they're FONTS, not gold bullion!!!

Silus Grok said...

No fair: that's NINE typefaces.

: P

And what, pray tell, is wrong with Officina? It's understated and versatile.

I love Akzidenz, but who _needs_ a grotesque when they have the entire Helvetica Neue family?

Didot is nice... but feels too much like Bodoni, without the fine detailing.

I'd not seen Filosofia before... that's a lovely font. Of course, nearly everything that Emigre touches is gold.

Hoefler is also a great foundry... what do you think of their Mercury Text?

And I'm sorry... but Gotham is just nasty.

* shivers *

Good thing we're friends... that last choice was a whopper.

Silus Grok said...

Oh, and Rusty... why scripts, or just why those?

I use "hand writing" a lot, and Hopper is one of the best out there... legible, quirky. Stephanie is a great all-round script: very legible. Very open... but not overtly feminine (at least to my eye).

Rusty said...

Officina is the bastard child of Meta (designed by Erik Spiekermann). Just a bit too clunky for me and it was on too much stuff in the 90's for me to still like it.

Akzidenz is a great alternative when you're sick of carving Helvetica into coconuts or something.

Bodoni is better for text, Didot is better for headlines, IMHO.

Mercury is not bad. And with Gotham, like I said, it's trendy right now (and I don't mind it). Hey, you've got your Officina, I'll take Gotham over that in a second.

I'm not a huge fan of handwriting fonts because I hate the idea of a repeated form. I would rather just write it myself. It's more genuine that way. Since they've come out in fonts now it makes it all more rigid, IMHO.