Being a graphic designer (and lover of type), I'd like to share a quick lesson on typography. Most people don't understand the simple science of typography and why certain typefaces (Papyrus, Comic Sans, Bleeding Cowboy) make a designer cringe and typefaces like (Helvetica, Gotham, Didot) make our hearts explode with happiness.
Anatomy of Type:
The above photo simply illustrates the anatomy of typefaces. It's really very simple and most of the words explaining each piece make sense. No need in memorizing it, but if you have any interest you now have a reference.
Most GD's love Helvetica and this is why. Helvetica is clean, it's simple, and yet it's versatile. It can take on many different personalities, yet it's beautiful almost
every time. They even made a pretty nifty film about it in 2007 entitled, well, Helvetica
Helvetica was created by Swiss typeface designer Max Miedinger with Eduard Hoffmann in 1957. Originally called Neue Haas Grotesk
, its design was based on Schelter-Grotesk
and Haas’ Normal Grotesk
The above image illustrates the variations of Helvetica. I highly recommend checking out the source, it provides a lot of examples using Helvetica.
Here are some famous logos you probably (unless you're a type nerd like me) didn't know were Helvetica. Even I sometimes have trouble immediately recognizing it.
Ok, I have to admit, I kind of love this. It's so true, Helvetica feels a little played out to us newer designers. I feel it's been used and hyped up a little too much, but I do feel it's a wonderful font that opened a lot of doors for other fonts. I also use Helvetica and probably will continue to. It has it's place, just not everywhere. The other thing I love about this is it's written in Helvetica Ultra Light... still from the Helvetica family.
This is one of my absolute favorites and I've used it way more than I've used Helvetica. I think Helvetica is a wonderful font and it's certainly proven itself, but there are other simple, clean, beautiful fonts out there and Gotham is definitely a prime example of this.
Gotham was created
by American type designer Tobias Frere-Jones in 2000. I believe Gotham, although widely used over the past decade, is really just now coming into it's own. It's being used more and more, but I think it's safe to say that it hasn't peaked yet.
Pretty snazzy, huh? Apparently it's been dubbed the Typeface of the Decade by some designers. I have to agree that it's a refreshing sight and I have used it on several projects and feel it's just as diverse as Helvetica.
Here are some examples of Gotham's wide use so far:
Here is an example of my own work using Gotham:
I used Helvetica for the body copy and Gotham for the headers. This is from an old Typography class. We had to re-design a newspaper using every single word on the front page.
Although I'm not generally a huge fan of serif fonts, I do love Didot when I need one. It's what I used on the Help Japan button to the right side of the blog.
Didot was created by the famous French type producing family, Didot. Brothers Firmin and Pierre Didot created and used the typeface. Firmin cut and cast the letters as type and Pierre used the letters in printing. Didot is classified as modern, or Didone and the Didot we use today was based on a collection of related types developed in the period 1784–1811.
Here are some examples of Didot variations:
Here are some examples of Didot in current design:
Now for me there are typefaces like Papyrus, Comic Sans, Bleeding Cowboy, etc that basically make me want to cry when I see them. For example, when I saw that Avatar (which I still haven't seen and don't care if I ever do, don't judge) was using Papyrus, freaking Papyrus, as their font a little piece of me died inside. Ok, melodramatic? Surely there was a more appropriate font out there that could have done a better job! You often see Papyrus on things trying to give it an old world appearance, something to do with nature, or for organic things or businesses trying to appear earthy. Below are examples of these fonts:
WARNING: These fonts sometimes induce vomiting. This is natural, do not be alarmed!
Comic Sans DISGUSTING
Bleeding Cowboy... yeah.
Basically avoid typefaces (and typefaces like these) like the plague!! I'm not saying that "decorative" fonts can't be utilized, but they have to be done correctly or it's best to avoid them. But, don't use the above!!
Also, stop using fonts that were specifically designed for a company. If it's called "Coca Cola" leave it there. It just doesn't work. It's like Bleeding Cowboy, I'm sure it worked for that one project, but everything since that just looks silly.
I guess I said more about good fonts because once you know what a good font is, it's easier to avoid the bad ones. And if you don't have Helvetica you can use its Microsoft cousin Arial, but I wouldn't advise using it otherwise. It's like RC Cola, no one really wants to drink that, but sometimes it's all there is.
Hope this helped anyone curious! Let me know what fonts you like or feel free to share any other comments!
I think this sums things up pretty well. Also, I love how it looks like someone ripped this out of a book. My God these sentences need to be justified correctly! Wow, I am a nerd...