I Love Typography

My favourite typefaces of 2008

This year has been a great year for type, with many new releases. Some of them are exceptional. Following is a list of my personal favourites of the past year. This is by no means an exhaustive list; there are, in fact, many others deserving of accolades.


Difficult to imagine a best-of list with no showing from Ale Paul. This one is no exception. Ale released several great faces in 2008, but my favourite has to be Compendium. A fluid, beautifully crafted script, made all the more wonderful with a large helping of OpenType wizardry:

compendium by ale paul

I wonder what Ale Paul has in store for 2009. I’ll be sure keep you up to date.


by Kris Sowersby, a TDC winner for his sans National, his serif Newzald is already one of my favourite serifs. Has everything you could ever want from a text face. I’m still waiting for it to be taken up by a newspaper.

newzald by kris sowersby


A TDC 2008 winner, and one of my all-time favourite a’s from Ludwig Übele:


MEgalopolis Extra

from the very talented Frenchman, Jack Usine. And it’s free:

megalopolis extra by jack usine


Although it hasn’t been released yet, David Březina’s text face Skolar is already looking pretty exceptional.


Skolar is slated for release in 2009 (probably March/April) through Type Together as a family of six weights (regular, semibold, bold, and their respective italics); and will support most of the Euro-American languages, and come replete with numerous typographhic niceties (five numeral sets, ligatures, superiors, inferiors, fractions, arrows, …). A working beta version — minus semibold and bold italics — will be available by the end of January. Contact Type Together for further information.


The hugely successful Museo, from Jos Buivenga. Available in 5 weights, three of which are free:

museo by jos buivenga


Ken Barber’s simple yet in your face letterforms, wrapped up in some really smart OpenType features. If you’re looking for a ‘blackletter’ display face that won’t be lost in the crowd, then look no further:



A very bold slab serif with minuscule slit counters — from Silas Dilworth:



Voluptuous, fun, and very sexy — from Ramiro Espinoza:



from Seb Lester, very talented illustrator and type designer who is finally starting to get some of the recognition he deserves. Both Soho and Soho Gothic are exceptional typefaces. Be sure to take a look at the Soho PDF specimen.


FF Utility

Lukas Schneider’s sans, FF Utility is one of the best you’re likely to see. A sans with real warmth and personality. I love it:

ff utility

I’d love to know your favourites of 2008. Please share them in the comments below.

I’d also like to wish you all a great Christmas, and I hope that 2009 will be the best year ever.

Up next …

A review of the font manager app, FontCase.


  1. Ah, finally a list for 2008. I think you’re the first this year to dip into the great pool of font releases and swim about them! Nice swimming.

    Silas Dilworth’s, Vandermark is very slick.

    Can’t seem to take my eyes off of it!

  2. Trever
    Yes, it’s good. Would like to see it in more weights/styles, though. Have you had a chance to use it yet?


  3. Very good list. Thanks

  4. reggyR

    Thanks Johno! I’m relieved you posted before the New Year. Have a good one. Looking forward to what you have in store for 2009. Cheers.

  5. I’d like to nominate http://fontstruct.fontshop.com/ , a web-based font construction set created in 2008. Some fun fonts are out these to share, and the site continues to grow.

    As a side note, happy holidays, thanks for typographic insights that inspire and delight, and best wishes for 2009!


  6. Very nice. Swimming in the deep end of nice fonts is definitely what you’re doing here. Nice new type and looking forward to the FontCase.

  7. Fakir rocks. Marat is great.

    I’d like to mention Comenia system, originaly designed by František Štorm, Tomáš Brousil and Radana Lencová for all levels of Czech education system, now available at Stormtype http://www.stormtype.com/typefaces-fonts-shop/families-92-comenia

  8. Magic Sam

    Thanks to Johno for showing us all these great typefaces, and a special thanks to Dean Meyers for mentioning Fontstruct! I just signed in and it looks like a lot of fun.

  9. I would have included Arlt Deco 2 from Pampatype

  10. Thanks for sharing all!
    Cheers for an exceptional 2009!

  11. Thomas Vanhuyse

    Thanks for the list, and happy holidays!

  12. Yes, excellent list! Going to bookmark this “Best of” list. Thank you very much.

  13. Half of these look the same, and also look like half the fonts designed in the last five years.

    Where is the next Cocon, I ask?

  14. I love the Museo family, and Facebuster is incredible! I really need more type, but my CC won’t let me buy anything untill January…

    I would like to show off my new experimental handmade font, Stenciluxe, available for freee download . I used Herb Lubalin’s ITC Avant Garde as basis for the work, done through stencil. Images and more info (in Portuguese) are available here and here.

    Happy New Year, John, and sorry for the links ^.^”

  15. Great list John, thanks for putting it together, and a Happy Holidays to you.

  16. Jackie Apel

    I love Megalopolis Extra, especially as you have used it on your I Love Typography header! Also, Facebuster is very cool. One of my other favorites is one that you showed a while back this fall in another newsletter, which was done by the same font designer who created Bickham Script Pro - it was another calligraphic font, I believe, with lots of swashes. There are so many fonts, it is hard to decide which ones you like best. I like many different style fonts, but that is what is so nice - the variety of font designs out there!

    Happy Holidays! and a Happy 2009!

  17. My favorite? That’s a tough question… I’ll get back to you. ;)

    Thanks, by the way, for mentioning Newzald. I haven’t heard of it until now and it looks amazing.

  18. Jackie

    … by the same font designer who created Bickham Script Pro …

    Sloop, perhaps?

  19. Thanks for the Facebuster mention, John. Best Christmas present I’ve been given today. Thanks to Trever for the Vandermark mention as well. I’ve actually got some weight and width variations on the drawing board. Happy Holidays!

  20. Jackie Apel

    I just got the December issue of My Fonts newsletter, and they have featured a really excellent font designer who is German. His name is Gert Wiescher, and he has some beautiful fonts. He has a lot of fonts, but some of the featured ones are called: Ellida - a script similar to Bickham Script, and Ayres Royal Bavarian. He also recreated the New Yorker magazine font, which is neat looking, and a series called the Bodoni Classic series, back in the 1990’s.

    Yes, and in answer to your question about the Bickham Script designer’s fonts - it was Sloop that you featured previously.

  21. Awesome set of fonts.

  22. Great list ;)

  23. Risto


    Great list, thank you!
    Actually Newzald has allready found its way to newsdesign - an Estonian daily tabloid Õhtuleht (circulation about 60K per day) introduced it as a body copy font on so called “Summer Life” pages in June 2008. In October Newzald became the body font for the whole newspaper (as a part of overall redesign). BTW Õhtuleht also uses Museo in section openers and page headers. If you are interested, i can send you some page samples.

    Happy holidays,

  24. Josef Go-Oco

    I think this deserves a mention.

    Thank you, John, for a wonderful year of type. Happy holidays to everyone!

  25. Great picks. These are all wonderful. Thanks!

  26. Josef Go-Oco
    Nice choice. Love those ornaments and borders.

    Would love to see them. Have just mailed you. Thanks.

  27. Alas, I am a poor university student! But, I have been looking for a font like Megalopolis for a while! Thanks for the list! I’m investigating more by Usine…

  28. Sean
    Gernto Bis is also worth taking a look at.

  29. Very lovely list, but somehow Tomate eluded me, but its a squeezer :-)

  30. Hey John are you busting out that “art direction” plugin to change the header for this post? Very nice, one way or another!

  31. Chris
    No, I just use a few custom fields (image url, height, & margin). If the fields !null then I simply echo the new masthead CSS in header.php. I’d like to play with that plugin, though.

  32. Nice. That’s probably even smarter than the plugin, as future updates can always break a plugin but they will never break core functionality.

  33. vandermark is used on an album cover for the band Underoath, as mentioned here and here.

  34. Some cracking faces, Marat & Newzald are probably my favourite new faces of 2008.

    The french mag, La Figero now uses Newzald as it’s main face for copy, I put a few photos on my Flickr if you want a look.

    on a side note, Happy Christmas to Johno & all iLT readers.

  35. Sye
    Thanks for those links.

    I’m a huge fan of those two too. However, that magazine isn’t set in Newzald; it is in fact Farnham: the ‘a’, and the lower stroke and terminal of the ‘e’ is the biggest give-away.

    Both exceptional faces!

  36. Great spot (& sorry for the ignorance ;) - I had best amend the description)

    Both very lovely faces, I love that V glyph from those spreads.

  37. hey johno, feels great to be on your top list!
    i love iLT! Wishing you all the very best for 2009!

  38. Lukas
    Good to see you here. Can’t wait to see what you have in store for us in 2009. FF Utility really is quite special.

  39. nice list! compendium is one of my favs along with burgues script. actually i love all of ale paul’s fonts. thanks for sharing your favs!

  40. great list!
    Museo ended up on my favourites list as well.

  41. Hello everybody. Thanks John to include Compendium. I hope I could do some good for 2009 and I ll let you know about next projects.

    Happy holidays to everyone.

  42. just found your blog. SWOON. love all these fonts. thanks so much for this.

  43. AleThanks for dropping by. Looking forward to what you have in store for the coming year.

    Welcome to iLT. “Swoon” — that would make a nice name for a really ‘swashy’, romantic script face.

  44. Wellnesshotel

    MEgalopolis Extra is a really fantastic font, thanks.

  45. this are really nice fonts.
    Greets Urlaub

  46. fantastic Fonts johno.

  47. Hey!

    Thanks a lot for reviewing ‘Tomate’.

    Much appreciated.

    Ramiro Espinoza.

  48. A nice surprise for a happy end of year ;-)
    Merci Johno !

  49. Nolan Webb

    Great website!!

    Just found your note on my photos and wanted to say thanks for the attention.

    More of my typography and lettering photography is here.

    happy 2009

    Nolan Webb

  50. Jack
    Bonne année à vous aussi.

    You’re welcome. Thanks for the additional link; off to take a look now.

  51. It’s not that easy to gather a top type list of the year. My 2008 best typefaces list looks completely different, but your chosen beauties are great as well. Nice work, John!

  52. Ivo
    Yes, it’s difficult. There are many more I’d like to add, but it’s knowing where to stop. I really should have included the Japanese typeface Junior; oh, and Archer, and …

  53. What a great list! I will have to check by here from time to time since I love a new font now and again! I’ll definitely be going for Museo (hey, it’s free!).

  54. Nick Matsa

    In my opinion Pf Centro Pro Family is worth to be mentioned, it was awarded by ED AWARDS last May.

  55. It’s worthy of mention, but it is not a 2008 font but from 2007.

  56. Got to give you points for one of the few ‘best of 2008’ fonts lists I’ve seen that actually has some interesting and original fonts on it. A couple of these are bland reinventions of old standards, but there are some gems as well. Most of the lists I’ve seen are just more of the same old standards with minor changes.

    Of course, there are so many fonts out there it’s not always easy to find the really original ones. But keep looking.


  57. Corey Hart

    The e in Tomate is grinning at me. Do you think she’ll go out with me?

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