Our Favorite Typefaces of 2007

Posted by Typographica on March 9, 2008

Best Fonts of 2007Typographica’s fourth annual review showcases the best in new typeface design. Twenty-five of the world’s brightest graphic and type designers selected their favorite font releases of the year. We welcome to our regular cast of contributors: David Berlow, Ellen Lupton, and Erik Spiekermann, among others.

This edition brings two changes. First, the description has evolved from “fonts” to “typefaces”. Yes, there is a difference. Mark Simonson explains it best:

“The physical embodiment of a collection of letters (whether it’s a case of metal pieces or a computer file) is a font. When referring to the design of the collection (the way it looks) you call it a typeface.”

Our feature is more accurately a celebration of new typefaces than new fonts. Keeping these two terms distinct may be a losing battle at a time when some have already declared the words interchangeable, but we’re going to go down fighting.

Also new this year is an expanded format. Each selection gets a larger sample image, its own comment thread, and (where available) examples of the typeface in real-world use. I hope the new format encourages discussion about each face and stimulates the typographic side of your design brain.

Finally, a word on who to watch for in 2008. I was tickled when our list was once declared “the Oscars of type design”. That label is too grand — but what the heck, let’s run with it. A few rare actors and directors are nominated for two Academy Awards in a single show. It’s just as remarkable when a type designer is honored for more than one typeface from the same year. Our latest crop of honorees has three such standouts: Tomáš Brousil, Christian Schwartz, and Kris Sowersby. Schwartz makes a perennial appearance on the list — no surprise there. But Brousil and Sowersby are newcomers, each showing incredible talent, range, and an ability to meet the needs of the modern graphic designer.

Without further ado, the envelopes please.

The 2007 selections are shown in the column at right.

Other notable releases from the year are listed below, with the editor’s favorites at the top of each class.

Suite/System

Chronicle
Publico
FP Dancer [FontShop]
Voice [FontShop]
Verse [FontShop]

Serif

Karmina [FontShop] [MyFonts]
Andralis ND [FontShop] [MyFonts]
Alida
Academica
Rebecca Samuels
Romain BP
FF Holmen [More Info] [FontFont]
TYMA Garamont [MyFonts]
Cosmiqua
Malena [MyFonts]

Sans

Neutraface No. 2
ARS Maquette
Deva Ideal [Typophile Discussion]
Ronnia [FontShop] [MyFonts]
Andrew Samuels
FF Good [More Info] [FontFont]
Seravek
FF Speak [More Info] [FontFont]
Executive
Morris Sans
Tangent
Volt, Volt A
Quantico
ARS Region
Economica
Botija [MyFonts]
Newsletter
Stag Sans

The “Type 2007” logo is set in Gloriola by Tomáš Brousil. Many thanks to our contributors for their excellent reviews, and to the brilliant blog wranglers at Apperceptive for bringing our rickety old site back to life. — Stephen Coles

Display

EsquireHeadline
MVB Solano [FontShop]
Soho [FontShop]
P22 Declaration [MyFonts] [FontShop]
Sibyl
Hellenic Wide
Jana Thork
Empire State Building
ARS District
Softmachine [MyFonts] [FontShop]
ARS Trio
Corpulent
PTL Attack [FontShop] [MyFonts]
Brasserie
Shango Gothic
Amity
Flexion [TDC2 Winner]
FP Head
Parcel [MyFonts]
Snicker [MyFonts] [FontShop]
Filmotype Glenlake [MyFonts]
Kartell [MyFonts]
Stripes
ARS Deviata
Area

Script

Candy Script
Novia [FontShop]
Feel Script
Casey [FontShop]
B-Movie Retro
RoyHand
Jezebel [MyFonts]
Joyscript
Contempo Élan
Brandy BF
Plumage [MyFonts]
Galgo Script

8 Comments

  1. Joe Garlick says:

    Heya,

    I really wanted to read this article but the tight line spacing, tiny point size and pointy typeface not really suitable for screen, coupled with my hangover, made my eyes hurt and made for a bad online reading experience. :) Most online reading sites have a point size of at least 16px and line height of something like 23px, (see recent redesigns like NYT, Boston Globe, Guardian) and I would argue the better online reading experience of Medium at 22px point size, line height of 33px is the most user friendly.

    J

  2. Hi Joe. We will look into developing a Hangover Mode switch for you. In the meantime, the beauty of the web is that you can enlarge any text using your browser whenever you wish.

  3. Joe Garlick says:

    Hehe. Scaling a page up using the browser zoom is broken UX though. You can’t scale up the line-height either. For a site devoted to typography you’d think it would be a priority to give the best online typographic experience. The typesetting looks nice if it was printed, not beamed into your eyes. Anyway, sorry if it seems snarky at all just some feedback, my intention is not to be an ass. :)

  4. Margaret says:

    I am especially pleased to see Cardea in the mix! Really wonderful selection overall with many of my favorites this year too.

  5. No problem, my response was slightly assy. As type gets larger there is less need for looser linespacing (especially if the line-height is specified in ems) so hopefully bumping up the size does the job for your personal preferences. In my view a lot of current web design is overcompensating with unnecessarily loose linespacing.

    The more pressing issue is that every visitor has a different reading experience and this is exacerbated by the multitude of devices with different screen sizes and densities. Typographica’s text looks great to me, but I understand it’s not everyone’s ideal and not everyone sees the same thing. Chris and I are well aware that the site is way overdue for a responsive redesign.

  6. Joe Garlick says:

    That’s an interesting point regarding loose linespacing. With a lot of the responsive redesigns hitting the web at the moment with pretty loose spacing I initially thought it was too loose too. Especially Medium, the design was fresh and well executed with great sense of space but felt oversized to me. But after spending some time absorbing articles on these sites I feel the reading is a smoother and quicker experience. When designing type for sites I often err on the side of too small, and bumping size and line spacing up feels intuitively wrong to my eye, but I feel it reads better.

    Anyway, sorry to derail your article comments thread – nice list! Some great faces I hadn’t seen before.

  7. Mike C. says:

    This is my first visit to Typographica, and I really like your approach for reviewing typefaces, type books, and design. Your content is well-informed, interesting to read, and useful for people who have a personal and professional interest in finding and using elegant typefaces.

    I must agree, however, with Mr. Garlick regarding Typographica’s tight line space and small point size. Although I think your site’s typeface is visually appealing, it really is too small to read on a computer. While I don’t suffer from a hangover, I do feel a headache approaching, and I need to grab some eye drops.

    Nonetheless, Mr. Coles is absolutely correct about the fact that too many websites have jumped aboard the Medium yacht and gone overboard with the loose linespacing. Medium’s publisher (the wealthy and former CEO of Twitter, of course) has managed to turn the use of a few rather mundane typefaces into a cultural phenomenon. But, alas, the only thing that is more boring than Medium’s typography and design is the lame content that routinely appears on the site.

    Finally, I came to Typographica via a favorable link from Daring Fireball, which is also a very informative website. When it comes to John Gruber’s choice of a typeface for his blog, however, the time has come for him to pay attention to the reviews on Typographica and select something other than the dreary Verdana at 11 points (or whatever that is) that he employs as the default.

  8. DC says:

    Always such a pleasure to read your yearly picks and commentary, Mr Coles! I’m especially pleased to see the DIN-ish French typefaces with their whimsical structure. I may have a new obsession there.

    Longtype’s site is particularly fun. My French is abysmal, so I have no right to poke fun, but it is amusing to see spellcheck fails like this:

    “If the Test Font feels adapted to the the project, it is then simple for the user to purchase the font to a subscription rate which includes substential disocunts.”

    Ahem… yes…

  9. […] “Small foundries have existed since the dawn of digital fonts, but now they are the norm.” (2014) […]

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Comments at Typographica are moderated and copyedited, just like a “Letter to the Editor” in a newspaper. Abusive or off-topic comments will not be published. Compliments are appreciated, but will not be published unless they add to the conversation. Thank you!

One Comment

  1. Torbjørn Caspersen says:

    Love the article, having the true mechanics of how typographic work revealed is like having magic tricks exposed. And it’s useful to be reminded that what you experience through your eyes is not necessarily the objective truth.

    But I think it’s more correct to say that this discrepancy is caused by the brain rather than the eye. The brain takes the limited signal from the eye and creates a 180 degree full colour experience. The eye gives us a narrowly focused area in colour and a large, blurry grayscale image. So I assume e.g., the weighing of horizontal and vertical lines happens when the brain processes optical signal to experience.

Post a Comment

Comments at Typographica are moderated and copyedited, just like a “Letter to the Editor” in a newspaper. Abusive or off-topic comments will not be published. Compliments are appreciated, but will not be published unless they add to the conversation. Thank you!