Finding just the right typography for a project is a classic conundrum for a designer. Do you go all out for something unique to give the piece real character, or is it better to opt for something neutral and classic that doesn’t overwhelm the rest of the design?
In order to be both versatile and consistent within a project, without becoming repetitive, it helps if a typeface includes an extensive family of fonts that cover different styles, weights and widths – this also takes the sting out of pairing complementary typefaces.
The notion of an extended, organised type family (or ‘superfamily’ if it contains different classifications too, such as a serif and a sans serif) is a relatively new concept, and has only been around as we know it today for just over a century – but nowadays there are plenty to choose from. We’ve rounded up 20 of the best to help with all manner of design projects.
Type meets thread in a new trend for hand-stitched typography
Handmade typography with paper and set design is becoming popular amongst creatives working in all fields for the last few years. Few, however, have taken to stitching. One such illustrator who experiments with type and thread is Peter Crawley, his January piece being a good example of what’s possible with the often frowned upon medium.
Another illustrator experimenting with thread and craft is Australian Dominique Falla. Her work for Wired where she illustrated the logo using nails and string being particularly cool.
Is there a way to know what fonts will work together? Building a palette is an intuitive process, but expanding a typographic duet to three, four, or even five voices can be daunting. Here are four tips for navigating the typographic ocean, all built around H&FJ’s Highly Scientific First Principle of Combining Fonts: keep one thing consistent, and let one thing vary.
It’s the interplay between fonts that gives them energy. The more distant the moods in a typographic palette, the friskier the design will be. Here, three fonts with distinctive silhouettes have been chosen for their contrasting dispositions: the unabashed toughness ofTungsten is a foil for both Archer’s sweetness, and the cheekiness of Gotham Rounded.
Three type families with nineteenth century roots, thrown together in a cheerful typographic riot. Choosing type families with different features helps prevent redundancy: here, the brawny variations of The Proteus Project are reserved for headings, Sentinel’s six weights of romans and italics recommend it to text, and Knockout’s nine different widths helps the sans serif fill in the cracks.
What do a neoclassical modern, a suave sans serif, and a sporty slab have in common? All are meditations on precision, though each has a different texture. H&FJ Didot achieves its crispness through the thinnest possible serifs, Verlag through its insistently geometric motifs, and our new Vitesse typeface through its pairing of machined edges and racy curves. Together, these three mechanical faces create a dramatic typographical tension.
A clever way to combine typefaces with similar proportions is to assign each a different purpose, and to limit each to a specific range of sizes. Here, two hard-working typefaces are assigned supporting roles: the seriffed Mercury serves for text, and the sans serifGotham furnishes all the annotations. The star of the show is the sophisticated Hoefler Titling, which preserves its spotlight by appearing only occasionally, and always in large sizes.
There are over 400 typefaces in the Google web fonts directory. Many of them are awful. But there are also high-quality typefaces that deserve a closer look. Below are examples of these typefaces in action. Click the examples to get the typeface from the Google web fonts directory.
Attention all @typecrazy friends and family… consider this a not-so-subtle gift suggestion!
If you’re a fan of typography, then it’s only reasonable to think that you’ll be a fan of Scrabble Typography Edition ($200). The highlight of this luxurious set is the solid walnut tiles featuring a wide variety of different, interesting fonts. They’re joined in the set by a solid walnut storage case with drawer, a six-panel solid walnut magnetized gameboard with non-slip cork backing, and metal tile racks. Oh, and each set will include a numbered certificate of authenticity signed by the creator — Drew Capener himself.