I Love Typography

My favourite fonts of 2009

the DECK

Perhaps the most difficult part in compiling this list is not what to include, but what to leave out. There are, then, many other typefaces that should be in this list, but aren’t. Perhaps some of your favourites from 2009 coincide with mine; perhaps they don’t — I’d love to hear about them in the comments below. Without further ado:

Trilby

by David Jonathan Ross

Trilby from Font BureauWho: David Jonathan Ross; Where: Boston; Foundry: Font Bureau; Other types: Manicotti; Climax.

Out of the clumsiness and inelegance of the Egyptians and Fat Faces, came, in 1845, the Clarendon. It toned down some of the extremes and the gargantuan slab serifs, introducing a little modesty; in the process making it suitable for settings beyond gaudy display.

The French Clarendon is a twist on the (English) Clarendon — quite literally, a twist or rotation of the stress (see figure opposite). Though Trilby most certainly doesn’t hide its roots in types like P.T. Barnum, it’s much less quirky. In reducing the contrast, this French Clarendon eschews Cowboys and Indians, and emancipates itself from the circus (the French Clarendon has been dubbed the «circus type»).

David obviously has something for reverse-stress types. His as yet unreleased and delicious Manicotti is an ultra reversed-stress display face that was awarded the Certificate of Excellence in Type Design by the Type Directors Club. But I digress. Trilby, in toning done the excesses, lets the best and most useful of the French Clarendon shine through. Brilliant:

Allumi PTF

by Jean François Porchez

Allumi PTFWho: Jean François Porchez; Where: Paris; Other types: Sabon Next, Le Monde Livre PTF, Le Monde Courrier PTF, Anisette, Ambroise, Parisine PTF, Le Monde Sans PTF.

ILT interview.

When looking at any typeface for the first time, I try to think of three words that sum up what the face is about. For Allumi those were: modern, tech, and tensile. It’s certainly very different to anything Jean François has ever drawn. He describes it as Eurostile meets Frutiger, and that captures exactly what this typeface is about. The broad geometric forms of Eurostile with a dash of the warmer, more friendly Frutiger; and though not designed expressly for extended texts, it’s better suited to it than Eurostile. I wouldn’t be surprised to see it taken up by tech titles: magazines like dot net, perhaps, or for identity for tech and engineering companies. Xavier Dupré, writing about Allumi PTF for the French Le Typographe [English translation] blog, suggests that it would be the perfect typeface for architecture and design magazines. He’s right.

I think it would also play nicely with some of the broader Japanese ‘Gothics’. And don’t forget, it would be a fine choice for a modern logotype (though make sure you license it first).

Allumi PTF

Trilogy

by Jeremy Tankard

Jeremy TankardWho: Jeremy Tankard; Where: Cambridge, UK; Foundry: Jeremy Tankard Typography; Other types: Bliss, Enigma, The Shire Types, Shaker.

Trilogy Egyptian

Where do I begin with this one! Super-family is inadequate to describe Trilogy, so I’ll go with über-super-family. A wonderful undertaking and exploration of the century that gave birth to the Grotesque, the Egyptian, and the Fat Face.

Trilogy comprises … wait for it … one-hundred and three fonts: 80 for Trilogy sans (40 roman & 40 italic), 18 for Trilogy Egyptian, & five italic fonts for Trilogy Fat Face. I won’t list all the weights. I particularly like the lowercase in Trilogy Egyptian with its deep cuts — a nice solution to the overweight junctions that plague so many of the Egyptians (see figure opposite).

This really is a super suite of fonts and I’m beginning to think that Trilogy deserves a post of its own. I’ll think about that. If Jeremy is reading this, yes, that’s a hint. In the meantime there’s a great write-up in the PDF Footnote 11.

The aim of the project was not to dictate how the types should be used, and certainly not which types should be mixed together. Rather it is intended to show that types can be used and mixed together in unexpected ways and in so doing very different levels of visual interest can be achieved.
— Jeremy Tankard

Trilogy from Jeremy Tankard

Calluna

by Jos Buivenga

Jos BuivengaWho: Jos Buivenga; Where: Arnhem; Foundry: Exljbris; Other types: Museo, Museo Sans, Fertigo, Fertigo Script, Museo Slab, Anivers. Type Radio interview.
ILT interview.

Arnhem has quite the reputation for producing strong typefaces. Jos continues in that tradition. Many will know him for his hugely popular Museo and Museo Sans. Jos had the idea for Calluna whilst taking a break from his work on Museo, initially intending to draw a slab serif; a happy accident, and many months of hard work later came to fruition in Calluna, a delightful text typeface, that has already found its way into at least one book. Relatively light on the page, replete with numerous subtle details that make for a beautifully even colour. Nice tension in the italic, a broad character set, and everything else you need for setting extended texts. Moreover, those serifs really come into their own when the type is used at display sizes.

Calluna from Jos Buivenga [link to MyFonts]

Alright Sans

by Jackson Cavanaugh

Okay TypeWho: Jackson Cavanaugh; Where: Brooklyn; Other types: Elefans, Superfont, Snibbles.

A grotesque at heart, though with a little humanist sans running through its veins — particularly apparent in the italics. Comes in eight weights for both the roman and italic, replete with small caps (all styles and weights) and all the usual OpenType features we have come to expect from our fonts. A very accomplished sans indeed.

Giorgio Sans

by Christian Schwartz

Giorgio SansWho: Christian Schwartz; Where: NY, NY; Foundry: Commercial Type; Other types: Farnham, Guardian, Stag, Stag Sans, Graphik, FF Unit Slab; Accolades: In 2007, Schwartz was awarded the prestigious Prix Charles Peignot.

You think you’ve seen tall x-heights until you see Giorgio Sans. Commissioned for the New York Times T Magazine, this one screams high fashion.I’m only hoping that fashion titles will drop their tired and overused Didones in favour of this modern, elegant, slim, clean, and tall, beautifully drawn display face. The titling alternates (though there are just a few — rounded forms of C, D, G, O, Q; and a higher contrast G & Q) really give the face extended versatility. They work beautifully to punctuate, to let in a little extra light. With six weights, this will certainly find applications outside of high fashion.

My only surprise is that there aren’t any weights heavier than bold — would like to see how they might work. Despite its leanness and cleanness, Giorgio Sans has enough carefully crafted details to resist frigidity, and sing sweet songs on the page. And a serif accompaniment? Easy! Try its sister Giorgio.

Giorgio Sans [link to Commercial Type]

Biographer

by Angel Koziupa & Ale Paul

Who: Ale Paul & Angel Koziupa; Where: Buenos Aires; Foundry: Sudtipos; Other types: Feel Script, Semilla, Kewl Script, Compendium, Candy Script, Matagrosso, Koziupack, Mousse Script, Miss Le Gatees.

The Ale-Angel collaboration has already produced a number of good scripts. After the recent success of Diplomatic, comes Sudtipos’ last release of 2009, Biographer, an Upright, unconnected script (I could easily imagine that lowercase giving birth to an italic). Love those flat tops and the Q that is saved from toppling over owing to its tiptoeing tail.

A gorgeous fluid script with enough swooshes, swashes, ligatures, and contextual alternates to keep you entertained for an eternity. Broad language support, alternate forms, and numerous other OpenType features are the icing on this very sweet cake.

Memoriam

by Patrick Griffin

Canada TypeWho: Patrick Griffin; Where: Toronto; Foundry: Canada Type; Other types: Ronaldson, Treasury, Bouwsma Text, Informa; Clarendon Text; MyFonts interview.
Memoriam for the New York Times T Magazine

The first time time I set eyes on Memoriam, I thought Bank Script on acid. An inelegant comparison, I know. With its extreme contrast between those sweeping broad strokes, and delicate, wispy tendrils, Memoriam is both voluptuous and fine.

This is not a script for the fainthearted — it’s not easy to set well, what with those insane swashes reaching hither and thither; but with a little time, respect and careful planning, this one glides in and out of the page like threads of glistening silk woven through a glorious tapestry. Having said that about its use, it can be used to good effect en masse in other non-text-centric designs (see sidebar).

Whilst big and bold, it should not be used at small sizes (and you’ll need to set it even bigger if you’re going to use it on screen). Some of those hairlines are just 1000th of an em wide! High contrast and a smattering of ball terminals lend the face a certain elegance, even sobriety, thus eloquently fulfilling its original brief from the New York Times magazine.

Memoriam from Canada type

Phaeton

by Kevin Cornell & Randy Jones

Phaeton from VeerWho: Kevin Cornell & Randy Jones; Where: Philadelphia/Santa Clara; Other types (by Randy Jones): Olduvai, The Mopeds, Eason.

Making of Phaeton. Bearskin Rug.

A brilliantly talented and prolific illustrator (& writer) hailing from Philadelphia, PA. Part super-hero, part … something else, you probably know him for his work at A List Apart, the Superest, or Mojo.

Looking hand-drawn and with its trousers pulled up high, this condensed serif display face is oddly wonderful. Randy Jones was just the right chap to bring Cornell’s lettering to digital fontdom. Wobbly cup serifs and a smattering of bouncy ball terminals combine to make this single cut a delightfully eccentric face that’s really fun to use. It bears some of the hallmarks of Jones’ Olduvai, and comes replete with numerous wordmarks and pictographs, plus a number of stylistic alternates. I wonder what Batman and Robin have up their other sleeves.

Phaeton [link to Veer]

Leksa

by Alexandra Korolkova

leksa and Leksa Sans from MyFontsWho: Alexandra Korolkova; Where: Moscow; Distributor: MyFonts; Interview

An impressive text debut for Russian type designer Alexandra Korolkova. In form, Humanist (or Venetian or early Old Style); in colour, lighter and carrying a more generous x-height, and great for extended texts. Quite broad set, and fairly loosely spaced with particularly short ascenders.

The lowercase roman z is interesting in its reversed stress (something usually reserved for its italic counterpart.); it is unusual, though by no means unique (e.g. see the typeface Eusebius, in Anatomy of a Typeface, p. 60; and more recently, Xavier Dupré’s Malaga).

I’m particularly fond of details like the parentheses and the creative percent sign. The italic is a much more modern affair, owing nothing to the 15th century. It is unfussy and fairly loosely set, and on the page compliments the roman very well. It’s accompanied by a humanist sans (sharing the advanced widths of the serif) and a Cyrillic (quite an undertaking for a first text face). As I don’t set Cyrillic texts, I don’t feel qualified to comment on it, though it was awarded Paratype’s 2009 Modern Cyrillic prize.

Leksa and Leksa Sans [link to MyFonts]

FF Yoga & FF Yoga Sans

by Xavier Dupré

FF Yoga & FF Yoga SansWho: Xavier Dupré; Where: Who knows!; Foundry: FontFont; Other types: FF Absara & FF Absara Sans, FF Sanuk, Vista Sans, Vista Slab, Malaga, FF Masala;

As quite the fan of Xavier’s types, I was pretty excited to see this major release right at the end of 2009. This itinerant type designer already has some beautiful type under his belt. With the release of FF Reminga in 2008, I was wondering what he was going to grace us with in 2009. FF Yoga climbs to first place in my favourite Dupré types. Designed primarily for newspapers (though it will most certainly print well in numerous other environments), this serif plus sans family is so very good, and so very Xavier Dupré. In the details it’s sometimes idiosyncratic, or downright odd; but those details are not a type designer’s whim — instead they work together to fulfill a purpose: a solid and rugged text typeface that sets beautifully on the page. It sometimes feels a little like Malaga, but is softer in the details, smoother in the transition from straight line to curve.

I’m beginning to feel the same way about FF Yoga & FF Yoga Sans as I do about Martin Majoor’s FF Scala & Scala Sans; not that they look alike — they certainly don’t, but in the complimentary nature of their serif plus sans marriage. Interesting too is Dupré’s approach to this super-family: as the serif and sans appear to share the same skeleton, I imagined he had drawn the serif first, and then tackled the sans, using the serif as the basis for the letterforms. However, in an interview with FontShop he reveals that he worked on both forms in tandem.

In the details, I particularly like the extra weight in the bracketing of serifs that terminate thin strokes (see figure opposite).

Mr Eaves Sans & Modern

by Zuzana Licko

Mr Eaves Sans & ModernWho: Zuzana Licko; Where: Berkeley, CA; Foundry: Emigre; Other types: Mrs Eaves, Mrs Eaves XL, Filosofia, Triplex, Matrix II Display, Soda Script.

Zuzana Licko published Mrs Eaves in 1996; then came, in 2009, Mrs Eaves XL with its narrower set and larger x-height. Though many have prayed for a sans accompaniment to Mrs Eaves, the release of Mr Eaves Sans & Modern, to me at least, still came as something of a surprise — a very nice surprise indeed.

Both sans borrow something of the colour, loose set, and proportions of Mrs Eaves; and, for the most part, the letterforms share the same skeleton, though, of course, with a reduction in contrast (more so in Mr Eaves Modern).

Mr Eaves Sans is avowedly a humanist sans, while Mr Eaves Modern carries less contrast and is more geometric in form, with one foot and three toes in the geometric modernist sans, and two toes (perhaps two and a half) in the neo-grotesque. Of all the styles, Mrs Eaves Sans Italic is definitely my favourite, working beautifully in text, and really charming at display sizes. Some lovely details too, like the leg of the R and the tail of the Q, reflecting the form of its seriffed counterpart. An absolutely beautiful accompaniment to the hugely popular Mrs Eaves. It’s been a long time coming, but it has certainly exceeded my best expectations. Now I’m really looking forward to the planned XL versions. I’m just hoping that we won’t have to wait another decade. For more details about the design, head on over to Emigre.

Mr Eaves Sans & Modern

Sentinel

by Hoefler & Frere-Jones

H&FJWho: H&FJ; Where: NY, NY; Other types: Vitesse, Tungsten, Archer, Whitney, Gotham, Verlag, Ziggurat, Requiem, Knockout.

* The very first Clarendon was cut by Benjamin Fox for Robert Besley’s Fann Street Foundry, Aldersgate Street, London, England, 1845. See Walter Tracy’s Letters of Credit (Boston, 1986), pages 81–83.

** Be sure to read H&FJ’s very interesting & informative Sentinel’s Ancestors.

From Aldersgate Street,* London in the mid-nineteenth century to 611 Broadway, New York at the beginning of the twenty-first, it’s been a long time coming. Sentinel from H&FJ is trademark Clarendon with its slab serifs, small aperture, vertical axis, confident ball terminals, and large eye. But just as the Clarendon marked a watershed in the evolution of the slab serif, so Sentinel marks a high point in the development of the Clarendon.

Historically**, the Clarendons were employed primarily for emphasis within text (in much the same way as we now use the italic or the bold roman), so there really was no call for an italic cut. For decades the roman Clarendon walked alone. 1953 saw the release of the thoroughly unremarkable Consort, an oblique or sloped Clarendon; but we’d have to wait several more decades before serious attempts at a true italic were made. With the release of Sentinel, we now have a grown-up, more mature Clarendon that’s suited to both display and extended texts. Coming in six weights from light through book to black, all with delightful italic counterparts.

Looking for a sans serif accompaniment? Try a neo-grotesque like Helvetica, Franklin Gothic, or FF Bau; or, if you’d prefer something from the same stable, then go with Whitney (maybe), or one of the Gothams (definitely). Sentinel, the definitive Clarendon:

Catacumba

by Rui Abreu

Catacumba from Fountain TypeWho: Rui Abreu; Foundry: Fountain Type; Other types: Orbe.
Catacumba video.

Inspired by the painted inscriptions of the Igreja de São Francisco catacombs in Porto, Portugal, Catacumba comes to us in six styles: the two contrasting titling cuts are Excelsa (cloven hoof terminals — split and splayed), and the higher contrast Moderata, that takes its cues from the Didones; the additional four fonts can be used for longer runs of texts, though this is by no means a text face. A great follow-up to the award-winning Orbe.

catacumba

Adios Script

by Ale Paul

Ale Paul. AKA Script KingWho: Ale PaulWhere: Buenos Aires; Foundry: Sudtipos; Other types: Feel Script, Semilla, Kewl Script, Compendium, Candy Script, Matagrosso, Koziupack, Mousse Script, Miss Le Gatees, Business Penmanship.

Inspired by commercial lettering guides of the 1940s, this is a thoroughly charming, floral, fluid, graceful, elaborate, and elegant script. With 1,470 glyphs and hundreds of alternate forms, this one should keep you blissfully occupied for a long, long time.

Mostra Nuova

by Mark Simonson

Mark Simonson StudioWho: Mark Simonson; Where: St. Paul, Minnesota; Foundry: Mark Simonson Studio; Other types: Kinescope, Lakeside, Filmotype Zanzibar, Snicker, Proxima Nova, Coquette, Anonymous Pro.

Fortunately for us, Simonson wasn’t born much sooner, (later going on to star in 1950s thrillers), so we can watch him create one wonderful face after another, whether it be a dashing 40s-inspired brush script like Kinescope or Lakeside, a masterful & respectful digitization like Filmotype Zanzibar, or an Art Deco-inspired masterpiece.

Mostra Nuova is inspired by a style of lettering often seen on Italian Art Deco posters and advertising of the 1930s. Six weights, from the very thin thin through to the blacker than black black; served with a sprinkling of deliciously drawn alternate forms, and you have on your plate a full-fat, don’t-skimp-on-the-cream display face.

Hopeless Diamond

by Jonathan Barnbrook & Marcus Leis Allion

Virus Fonts Hopeless DiamondWho: Jonathan Barnbrook & Marcus Leis Allion; Where: London, UK; Foundry: Virus Fonts; Other types: Exocet, Infidel, Patriot, Mason, Priori Acute.

I wrote about four drafts trying to describe and explain Hopeless Diamond, then gave up. So let’s go with: It’s an insane display face residing in some twilight zone betwixt Stealth Bombers and the specimen books of 19th century wood type. Oh, and it has slab serifs, kind of. I love it. You could have hours of fun using this — set it solid, interlock the glyphs, or throw away the chalice and create the misnomer that is typographic art.

The name is derived from early models of the F-117, dubbed the hopeless Diamond owing to its shape — and that it looked completely un-air-worthy. Hopeless Diamond, then, is a Bumblebee of a typeface. It shouldn’t fly, but it does. And who doesn’t love the Bumblebee.

foot note rule

Permalinks to individual entries: Adios, Allumi PTF, Alright Sans, Biographer, Calluna, Catacumba, Mr Eaves Sans & Modern, Giorgio Sans, Hopeless Diamond, Memoriam, Mostra Nuova, Phaeton, Trilby, Leksa & Leksa Sans, Sentinel, Trilogy, FF Yoga & FF Yoga Sans.

2008 list.

Others I’d have included had I time: Alpine Script, Typotheque’s Nara, Malabar, Tungsten, Karbon, Fugu, Vesper, Liza Pro, Opal, Buttermilk, and many more besides.

Other best of lists: Fontwerk (German), [Google translate link]; Typefacts (German) [Google translate link]

I hope that you find this wide format more suitable for this kind of post. I’ve been meaning to do something like this ever since reading Jason Santa Maria’s A New Day post; and was further inspired by Oliver Reichenstein’s recent What’s Next in Web Design? Feedback from both sides of the fence most welcome.

Now, it’s over to you: the first three words that come to mind for any or all of these typefaces.



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  1. It’s always fascinating to see how many lists there can be with hardly any overlap – and each one completely making sense!

    Great one, Johno, congrats!

  2. My first thought was “wow, beautiful faces.” My second thought was “damn, it’s expensive to be well-stocked with quality fonts.” To buy all of the fonts listed here, you’d have to shell out close to $6,500. But my third thought was “actually, some of these are really reasonably priced.” Calluna (Jos’ fonts are always absurdly affordable), and Sentinel, for example, pack a lot of bang for the buck.

  3. I agree with Christoff - very unique and all from different designers. Leska is just gorgeous!

    De. Groovy.

  4. Oops. I meant “Phaeton” is gorgeous. The title/sample relation threw me. :-)

  5. Glad to see Sentinel included. Wonderfully designed font, that I have been going to more frequently the past few months. In fact I have been on a slab obsession lately. Of course to take the edge off of this ongoing habit, I pair it with a one of the sans mentioned above.

    As far as costs go, as Alec had alluded to, Sentinel is one of the best bargains out there.

    ~ A

  6. This is a super end of the year list John! There are some big, obvious picks (for good reason), yet you still remained eclectic and unique with the overall composition.

    Thank you also for the nod to Vesper!

    The format is a fun change too. Curious to see if future posts will visually follow this one or if it is a special case. (Only criticism, the comments are a bit wide.)

    Great job again :)

  7. Waho, great selection !
    I’m proud of this little french touch :)

  8. Jan Middendorp

    A great list with some wonderful surprises. Thanks, John!

  9. MLA

    Pleasantly surprised to see Hopeless Diamond included in your list.

    Trilogy is a very interesting design. Particularly like the lowercase g and y in the Egyptian Italic—inventive and inspiring. Look forward to a more detailed follow up post.

  10. Johno ~ What a luscious list!

    I’ve been a big fan of Jeremy Tankard for years (Enigma was my first introduction). So glad to meet Trilogy.

    Calluna was a recent purchase that I’ve been very happy using.

    Phaeton! How did I miss that?!

    As usual you explain things so well. Thank you.

  11. roberto

    Iam missing the UNI SANS, the FF Unit Slab and the FF YOGA.

  12. Wonderful choices! I particularly like Jos’s Calluna.

    Chris

  13. Diligent, intuitive, beautiful!

  14. Really great selection! Nice taste! :)

  15. roberto

    Oh the FF Yoga is included, i am so dumb.

  16. Jongseong Park

    The wide format definitely works well in showcasing these beautiful typefaces. I have a feeling I’ll be coming back to this post many times.

    Thank you also for mentioning type blogs in other languages, which thanks to online translation have become more accessible than ever before to those who don’t speak the languages.

  17. This list is well-assorted and was surely loads of work. It definitely meets my taste. I like the big showings! Big type makes me always happy. Thanks for your list, John.

  18. Bert Vanderveen

    This must have taken you a lot of time to put together, Johno. Respect & many thanks!

  19. Esben Thomsen

    Its a very interesting list, all of them deserves their individual interview with the typographer.

    Perhaps this is a google search away, but I was puzzled with the expression reversed stress in relation to “z” in Leska.

    960 px grids are starting to become too narrow with these specimens.

  20. WOOHOOO!!!! I LOVE THIS POST!

  21. John, thanks for including Sentinel among so many other favorites. It’s starting to feel like every year is a good year for typography!

  22. Great post / roundup. A few gems I had missed during the year, now to find projects as an excuse to use them! Sentinel and Trilby in particular should be quite useful, and I’ve been lust with Calluna for quite a while now. Well done!

  23. Gracias iLT. I m very happy to see some of our work in the middle of so many nice typefaces. Thanks again.

  24. Ah!, Gerusa came too late!

    Wonderful post! Cheers!

  25. I basically swooned when I saw the Trilogy italic. Thanks for introducing me to some of these great fonts. Great presentation format too!

  26. I’m very happy to see Calluna featured in such a great list of typefaces. Great presentation like this, John!

    (Thanks Alec, Deb, Chris & Jesse!)

  27. johno

    Rob
    Thanks. I’m already planning another page design for a wonderful upcoming article by Dan Reynolds (top secret).

    You’re right about the comments. Didn’t think about those when designing the post. Then, when the first comment was posted, I thought oops. I’m pretty sure I can fix those easily with WordPress’ brilliant custom fields.

    Delightful Deb
    Your alliteration is contagious. You may have missed Phaeton, but I dread to think of the releases I might have missed. I might have to pick your brains on backup options soon.

    Jongseong Park
    I like the wide format too, and it’s having me rethink the need for a sidebar on any article page. I’ll need to give it some more thought. You must introduce me to Hangul typography some day.

    Ivo
    Thanks. It was great fun to do, and I feel lucky that I can spend so much time looking at all these great faces. I’m already looking forward to doing the 2010 list.

    Esben
    Perhaps the graphic I used as a sidenote to Trilby is a little confusing. The reverse stress means that the thin and thick strokes swap places. So, for example, the roman z in Leksa has a thin ‘spine’ with a thicker top & bottom (the opposite or reverse of the ‘standard’ roman z). Hope that makes sense.

    Jonathan
    And I’m sure that that cat, once out of the bag, will make 2010 the best yet.

    Jos
    My pleasure. Wonder what you have planned for this year.

    everyone & all
    Thanks for reading and for your comments. I appreciate it.

    Thank you. Top to bottom: Biographer, Sentinel, Allumi, Mr Eaves Sans

  28. Those are some beautiful faces. Thank you for the mention on Alpine Script. :)

  29. Great post! ٩(-̮̮̃-̃)۶

    Mostra Nuova and Phaeton are my favorites.

    Thanks!

  30. This made my night!

  31. Great post as always, and I love the format. (Bigger specimens!)

    Hard to choose any of these typefaces over the others as the whole is of high quality.

    I really like Calluna, it’s very different, but different in a subtle way.

    They are all amazing fonts really! Hopefully I will find and excuse to buy and use them at some point.

  32. Big & Bold! Love it John, thanks for compiling this list but need to view it on my 24” images are huge. Great layout for this post, congrats.

  33. Anton

    This is great! Beautiful typefaces! And I absolutely love this wide format! So nice! I’ve noticed that my brain automatically skips all those sidebars and ads to somehow stay focused on what i’m actually reading. Sooo delightful when there is no need to skip anything. :) Thanks John!

  34. The venerable John Boardley should be thank for this good selection of favourite fonts. What a pleasure to see my Allumi PTF along very nice17 typefaces favourites for the year 2009.

    Yes, as others, I like the new large width: A very good way to present fonts for large screens! Also a nice surprise the texts selected for Allumi PTF! Suddenly there is some Japanese feelings on it.

  35. These fonts are beautiful. It’s a shame that there aren’t free fonts showcased here though.

  36. It might be that there are no free fonts showcased for the same reason there is no free song in the end-of-year charts … ;)

  37. Calluna Regular is a free font.

  38. Esben Thomsen

    Thanks for the update, at first I thought of the reversed stress as a tilted stress. You are right the that the thick/thin strokes is the reversed part, learned something new.

  39. Allumi PTF Dingbats is an extract and free font

  40. Love the roundup of best fonts of 2009 - some great choices and definitely interesting fonts… can’t decide on my fav but allumni, leksa and trilliogy are right up there!

    Can’t imagine the hole in the pocket if one had to go out and purchase all these typefaces… at least there are some that are relatively reasonably priced! Why is it so expensive to own great fonts?

  41. Very nice work Johno! A very beautiful list, and a nice format too. Like this selection even more than the ones at Fontwerk&Typefacts…

    One minor flaw: The link to the website of Hoefler&Frere-Jones doesn’t work, there’s a p missing I think.

  42. Stephan Kirsch

    That’s a great list, John!
    However, I am a little surprised, that you didn’t mention Typejockeys, which for me is one of the most interesting new foundries of the last year.

  43. These fonts are beautiful. Sentinel is the best form me.

  44. Amy

    I am a novice.
    What is a safe way to buy fonts for MACs?
    I specifically need Braganza and I’d love Plumero Script also….
    Thanks

  45. John, I am always impressed by your posts and it’s great to see such a wonderful variety of choices - I can’t find a single face I’d disagree with. Looking forward to your posts for 2010. Cheers!

  46. Can’t help but notice the Nky sample above. What does THAT stand for? Nookie? If you put those 3 letters beside the same 3 set in Vendetta Medium, what do you get? FB Ironmonger Goes Venetian?

  47. Great choices for this list!

    Trilby was definitely a winner for me right off the bat!

    I’ll have to pick these up.

  48. Stephan Kirsch: I agree, I was suprised to see that Ingeborg didn’t make the list.

  49. Phil R

    Thanks so much for this, great choices and write up. As a student of Russian, I was glad that a typeface with Cyrillic support got on the list, and Leksa does seem to be a superbly designed font. Using the Russian news for language study, I was especially excited to discover that the author of Leksa made it on to national television, if only for a minute (http://bit.ly/9380I2)! Now how often does that happen?

  50. Great collection!
    My favorites are Giorgio Sans and Calluna.

    Best regards from Frankfurt / Germany

  51. I just wanted to throw in my thanks for the kind words about Trilby (in the original post and in the comments). What a wonderful surprise to see it in this list alongside so many impressive faces!

  52. Alexandra Korolkova

    Thank you John!

    To Esben Thomsen (and John too): this z can be explained with broad-nib pen writing (which is the base for Venetian oldstyle): it is much faster and more natural to write like this; Nicholas Jenson used that form and quite a lot of Venetian oldstyles use it too, e.g. Adobe Jenson, Iowan Old Style, Hightower, LTC Deepdene.
    But, of course, I am not Latin native reader (as my native script is Cyrillic) and I could make something that looks strange for people who read it every day since their childhood :) so please excuse me if it looks so very unnatural, probably I should make alternative z.

    To Phil R: the tv presentation was not about Leksa, it was devoted to completely different font, PT Sans :) but the fact of such a popularisation of type design (the font was commissioned by Russian Government and supports Cyrillic-writing minority languages) is very unusual and interesting, especially for Russia.

  53. A. Romeo

    Why do I get the feeling that Biographer is one of those fonts that typophiles will universally despise within the next few decades?

    Nice list!

  54. Phil R

    Alexandra – thanks for the reply, what a surprise! I was actually aware of that (Leksa probably isn’t best suited to road signage!), but perhaps I should have made it clearer in my comment. I just wanted to put it out there for interest’s sake as the fact you got media coverage is a very encouraging sign. I was also extremely grateful that PT Sans is free! Поздравляю вас, и благодарю за прекрасные шрифты. Удачи!

  55. Alan

    Leksa is one of the most thoughtfully designed typefaces I have ever seen. Just beautiful! If possible, the Cyrillic is even better than the Latin.

    I am a fickle romancer of types. I love, possess, become disillusioned, forsake. But after much and varied use, Leksa is destined to be loved for life.

  56. Those are really nice fonts. I can’t stop using Calluna :)

  57. Alexandra Korolkova

    Phil, Alan, thank you!

  58. Chris

    Love Giorgio Sans!!!

  59. the fasion typography is quite simple. It’s thin fonts with a quite heavy top or bottom

  60. Leksa is a very nice and pleasent font, but I have some remarks on the cyrillic cut: 1. there are no alternative cuts (for the “д” and “в” for example); 2. there are no accented vowels, which is particular important because modern unicode software cannot deal with composed characters; 3. the italic “ж” is beautiful and not just slanted, but the italic “ц” and “щ” look like “и” and “ш” with hooks, which is not very legible. This is because the hooks shoud be connected stright to the right side of the letters (like in the capital “Ц” and “Щ”) instead of going up to the height of the endings of “и” and “ш”). The hooks in those letters are also for me a bit to curly, as they should match the hooks in the capital ones. But those, in my eyes “incorrect”, drawings of the italic “ц” and “щ” are not only in Leksa, they are typical for modern cyrillic cuts as Maiola and Garamond Preimier Pro for example. The italic cut of Garamond by Albert Kapr, as shown here, has, IMHO, the “right” “ц” and “щ”.

  61. Alan

    In answer to Plamen Tanovski: I can’t speak for the designer of Leksa, Alexandra Korolkova, but it seems to me she has considered the design very carefully. The letters simply blend and harmonize on the screen and on the page.

    Not every typeface should have the alternate ‘д’, and this may be one of those. It wouldn’t blend. I too would like to have the accented characters, but not so many Cyrillic typefaces do feature them.

    As for ‘ц’ and ‘щ’: the characteristic you dislike is found not only in recent Cyrillic typefaces. It is standard in such classic faces as Lazurski (one of the most beautiful Cyrillic typefaces), Kudryashev, Petersburg, and Svetlana. It is more rare that these lowercase letters match the capitals. It’s really a matter of taste, style, and the symphony of the design.

  62. To Alan: well, actually Kapr’s Garamond Cyrillic was rejected by the soviet apparatchiks as “don’t matching the russian tradition”. Kapr worked back in the 70ies and 80ies together with bulgarian font designers and they tried to made cyrillic more readable (for example by adding descender or ascender to some letters).

    Since you reffer to old russian cuts, I suppose, you don’t like the italic “ж” in modern cyrillic cuts (like in Leksa too), because it is totaly the opposite of the russian tradition.

  63. Alan

    To Plamen Tanovski:

    Actually, I do very much like the ‘ж’ of Leksa italic, because it suits its context. For me, it is all about how the letters work together.

    But thank you for making me aware that there are other traditions of Cyrillic alphabets besides the Russian.

    Your sample of Kapr’s Garamond Cyrillic is lovely too.

  64. very inspiring,great collection

  65. This is a wonderful resource some of these fonts are really nice but not a fan for hopeless diamond.

  66. Very good selection.
    Excellent blog - always worth a visit!

  67. Makes me wish I changed my major from art education to typography.
    Thanks for always sharing the crème de la crème of fonts.
    Fondly,
    Stacey

  68. Great collection. I’m lovin’ Trilby big time.

  69. Drool….
    My heart rate has gone up and I’m thinking would Sentinel and Mrs Eaves Sans be considered Needs or Wants? I’m pretty sure they are Needs.

  70. Michael Locke

    Nice list, beautiful.

  71. I adore ILOVETYPOGRAPHY! By far my favorite blog. Phaeton is beautiful!

  72. HMP

    Wow!! I’m an aspiring typographer. Any tips? Suggestions? I just LOOOOOVVVVEEEE these fonts. My favorite font is Futura. I know it is a very stock font, but I feel that it is worthy of this list.

    BTW, I am a MASTER at the font game

  73. HMP, This is a best of 2009 list. Futura was designed more than 80 years ago.

  74. Advertising & Marketing Man

    We would think that nobody could better the modern font classics of the 60s but this post here seems to prove that fonts are just getting better and better. Thanks for opening my eyes!

  1. Okay Type & Design—Feb 1, 2010
  2. Best fonts of 2009—Feb 2, 2010

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