Our Favorite Typefaces of 2013

Reviewed by Typographica on March 11, 2014

favorite fonts of 2013This year marks another step in the typographic diversi­fi­cation we observed in our previous annual. The global spread of independent font makers and variety of new ideas in type design continues unabated.

As evidence of that diversity, the 54 typefaces selected from 2013 were created by designers from at least 21 countries, including:

  • Argentina
  • Austria
  • Canada
  • Croatia
  • Czech Republic
  • France
  • Germany
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Lebanon
  • Mexico
  • The Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Portugal
  • Russia
  • Slovakia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • United Kingdom
  • United States

This new phase of globalization and democratization of the font market began in earnest about a decade ago, propelled by newly accessible digital tools, online commerce, and post-graduate education in type design. It is a sea change. For centuries, places like Argentina, Brazil, Croatia, Lebanon, and New Zealand were vastly under­repre­sent­ed in a type design community that was dominated by western Europe and North America. (And that speaks only of Latin-based type. The burg­eon­ing production of fonts in other scripts tells another fascinating story.)

The diversity of the contributors to our annual is also invig­orating. This year’s writers are almost as international as the typefaces they cover. More importantly, they represent a variety of perspectives from both sides of font making and using. Type designers, print and web designers, educators, writers, historians — we can all learn from the manifold ways that people from such divergent backgrounds perceive a typeface.

In Review

Now in its eighth edition, “Our Favorite Typefaces” continues to present a good overview of the most interesting new fonts on the market. It is, however, by no means comprehensive. The list of other notable releases hints at how many other typefaces deserve attention, and custom type commissioned by clients for proprie­tary use is often overlooked. (This growing segment of the trade deserves its own feature.) As a reminder, this annual is not a compe­tition in which submitted entries are awarded by an official jury. (That format has its own drawbacks, but I think it’s still a valid one.) Instead, I invite people whose opinion I respect to write about a release from the past year that excited them. This means that the reviews are not necessarily rigorous critiques — although many contributors do offer a fairly in-depth analysis. Their opinions are mainly positive because that’s the point of the call.

This caveat acknowledges the fact that, while the “Favorites” feature will always have its own kind of value, there is also a very real need for true type reviews — in the proper sense of the term, in which type (both good and bad) is tested and appraised. With the help of some able cohorts, I intend to address that deficit soon via a new venture. Subscribe, follow, stay tuned.

— Stephen Coles, Editor

“Our Favorite Typefaces of 2013” was produced with generous assistance from Chris Hamamoto, Caren Litherland, Tamye Riggs, Laura Serra, and Tânia Raposo. Huge thanks also go to the contributing writers, and to the type designers and foundries who provided samples and imagery.

This feature coincides with a Typographica font palette refresh, including Sutro Deluxe by Jim Parkinson for the nameplate, Nocturno Display by Nikola Djurek for headlines and pullquotes, and Fern (unreleased) by David Jonathan Ross of Font Bureau for text. We continue to use the durable JAF Bernini Sans by Tim Ahrens for all the small stuff. The “Type of 2013” graphic features FF Quixo (and a color I can only describe as “Sherman Peachorange”, nabbed from a little site called Fonts In Use).

Selected by
Eben Sorkin

Noe Display

Selected by
Caren Litherland
Nocturno specimen

Nocturno

Selected by
Chris Hamamoto

Ladislav

Selected by
Frank Grießhammer

Pufff

Selected by
Indra Kupferschmid

Mauritius

Selected by
Dyana Weissman

Odesta

Selected by
Tiffany Wardle de Sousa

Magasin

Selected by
Stephen Coles

Portrait

Selected by
Chris Rugen

Erotica

Selected by
Dan Reynolds

HWT Tuscan Extended

Selected by
Paul Shaw

Carlyle Quaint

Selected by
Frode Bo Helland

MVB Solitaire

Selected by
Wael Morcos

Dala Moa

Selected by
Alice Savoie

Louize

Selected by
Rob Saunders

FF Quixo

Selected by
John Boardley

Domaine

Selected by
André Mora

TXT101

Selected by
Jan Middendorp

Line

Selected by
David Sudweeks

Post Grotesk

Selected by
Conor Mangat

Apeloig Type Library

Selected by
Tânia Raposo

Audree

Selected by
Tamye Riggs

HWT Gothic Round

Selected by
Marian Bantjes

Maestrale

Selected by
Florian Hardwig

Eskorte

Selected by
Mark Simonson

Dark Angel

Selected by
Michael Surtees

Clear Sans

Selected by
Ivo Gabrowitsch

Duplicate

Selected by
Mark Simonson

Cadogan

Selected by
Benjamin Shaykin

LL Circular

Selected by
Claus Eggers Sørensen

Lava

Selected by
Marian Bantjes

Diversa

Selected by
Ellen Lupton

Program

Selected by
Yves Peters

Daphne Script

Selected by
Robb Ogle

Brooklyn

Selected by
Indra Kupferschmid

Sarre

Selected by
Hrant Papazian and Mark Jamra

Arek

Selected by
Ksenya Samarskaya

Huronia

Selected by
Christoph Koeberlin

Lumin

Selected by
Matthew Butterick

Fira Sans

Selected by
Colin M. Ford

Balto

Selected by
Maurice Meilleur

Remo

Selected by
Patric King

Programme

Selected by
Thomas Phinney

Charcuterie

Selected by
Robin Rendle

Brandon Text

Selected by
Grant Hutchinson

Noodge

Selected by
Christian Palino

Founders Grotesk Text

Selected by
Dan Reynolds

Brevier Viennese

Selected by
Nick Shinn

Baton

Selected by
Gerry Leonidas

Capita

Selected by
Carolina de Bartolo

Rolling Pen

Selected by
Tim Brown

FF Dora

Selected by
Jan Middendorp

Karol

Selected by
Shelley Gruendler

Braxton

Selected by
Dan Mall

Salomé

Selected by
Stephen Coles

Other Notable Font Releases of 2013

9 Comments

  1. Hrant says:

    I thought there would be fewer selections this year! So glad that’s not the case — there’s a lot to celebrate, and learn from.

    Most of all though I’m happy you waited for the year to actually finish, thus including the December babies in the family.

  2. Hrant, there actually were fewer selections this year — but only six fewer.

  3. What a year in Type Design. I’m a little disheartened that Tribunal didn’t make the main list though. It’s a wonderfully functional workhorse with a very unique story!

  4. Hrant says:

    So last year there were at most 1.5 libre fonts among the 50-something favorites. How many are there this year? (BTW this happens to be pertinent to a conference talk proposal I’m working on…)

  5. There are two libre families among the selections: Fira Sans and Clear Sans. Also Salomé, which is not libre but the Regular is free with a tweet or Facebook post.

  6. Paul Shaw says:

    Just a reminder that the list is one of favorite typefaces not of the best typefaces of the past year. For instance I chose Carlyle Quaint only because it was so unusual. I would have been just as content to have chosen several others, including some that are on Stephen’s honorable mention list, which are better in the sense that they are far more useful.

  7. […] Have you seen Typographica’s favorite typefaces of 2013? We have a new FontList with all the fonts chosen that are available at FontShop! You can also […]

  8. Charbel says:

    Lebanese Typographers cater to the whole Arab world. A small country with much to offer to such a niche.

  9. J says:

    Favorite typefaces of 2014??

  10. Coming in February or March, as usual.

  11. […] “This new phase of globalization and democratization of the font market began in earnest about a decade ago.” (2013) […]

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