Our Favorite Typefaces of 2015

Reviewed by Typographica on May 9, 2016

type-of-2015-logoWelcome to our tenth annual celebration of what is fresh and interesting in type design. Who decides what meets that standard? No single writer. No editorial board. No consensus by committee. No superstar-studded jury (though there are some luminaries in this bunch). Those formats all have value. But what makes this list different — and maybe a little weird but, to me, always insightful — is that each contributor makes their own pick.

They bring their own views and voices to their selections. They speak from a range of experience in nearly every facet of typography: from letter drawing to font programming, from print publication to UX design, from education to art direction. Of the thousands of typefaces released in 2015, sixty-three are highlighted here, each chosen because it gave one typophile a particular bit of excitement or joy.

If there is a common thread among the selections, it is — as often seems to be the case — variety. This year, though, we benefit from an exceptional diversity of gender (in both contributors and type designers) and scripts (writing systems beyond Latin).

I’m especially pleased with (and humbled by) the non-Latin reviews. Typographica primarily reaches a Western audience, but globalization affects everyone who makes or uses fonts. We all can gain from learning about what makes a good Arabic, Cyrillic, Devanagari, or Hebrew typeface. This year, we’ve enlisted some experts to guide us on that multiscript path, both throughout the main selections and in a special addendum to the Other Notable Releases.

The Year in Type

Aside from the ever-expanding crop of fine new typefaces, other exciting typographic developments unfolded in 2015. Alphabettes, a collaborative blog and showcase for women in type, came onto the scene. The writing on the site is approachable, smart, and often hilarious. The ’bettes even picked their own Favourite Typefaces of a certain year. (I can’t wait for 1916.) The group is incredibly active, pushing out new content every week, yet maintains a high standard. Although it has only been around for a few months, Alphabettes has already established itself as a force in the typographic community.

Another new platform launched last year, this one commercial: Fontstand. Designers Andrej Krátky, Peter Biľak, and Ondrej Jób teamed up to respond to several needs of the market. The core selling point is a try-before-you-buy and rental system that makes testing and short-term font use effortless and inexpensive. That wasn’t an entirely novel idea — font subscriptions and cloud activation for desktop app use were already available via services from Monotype and Adobe —  but what sets Fontstand apart from most retailers is what it doesn’t offer. It’s all about quality control. Fontstand’s initial group of twenty or so foundries reads like a who’s who of premium, independent labels. The collection has grown since then — but slowly and deliberately.

2015 didn’t deliver the sea changes in webfont technology that we saw in the previous few years, but that’s probably a sign that the concept has reached a certain maturity. Nearly every major foundry now offers fonts in a web format or service, and by the end of the year WOFF was well on its way to becoming the de facto standard webfont format.

Housekeeping

Our annual arrives a bit late this year. The main reason for the delay is that we just rebuilt the place. Most of these pages should look familiar, but the seven-year-old code behind the site was substantially rewritten to improve the experience on mobile devices and facilitate future updates. Each of the 2015 selections, along with more than 350 reviews from previous years, and all the Commentary archives, are phone friendly at last. So now you can read about type while sitting on the toilet, as God intended.

Finally, a note about Typographica’s editorial policy and values. This site does not make anyone a living. It is largely a labor of love for the three people you see in the colophon. We are supported by our nameplate sponsor and the Deck. We also receive nominal affiliate fees from font retailers such as Fontspring and MyFonts. When a selected typeface is available from these shops, we link to them. I believe distributors provide useful services for both makers and users; when they treat type designers fairly, they can play a constructive role in the industry.

That said, I recognize that editorial publishers are not the only creators struggling to remain independent. I strongly endorse indie foundries and recommend licensing fonts directly from their makers whenever possible. In these annual reviews, our policy has always been to link directly to foundries from the bold typeface reference in the main text. Starting this year, we also include foundry sources in the sidebar. Those who sell their type directly from their own site will now be first on the “Get the Fonts” list. (Read more about our policy.)

— Stephen Coles, Editor

Caren Litherland’s deft editing helps make this feature possible. Huge thanks to Chris Hamamoto for his significant work on the redesign. Our new headline and text face is Contemporary Sans, kindly donated by Ludwig Übele, who indulged (and continues to endure) my many customization requests. It joins Eksell Display for the “Type of 2015” graphic. Florian Hardwig and Tânia Raposo also pitched in, helping with the list of nominees, creating specimens, and linking to our sister site, Fonts In Use. Most of all, thanks to the contributors for lending their expertise and patience.

Selected by
Benedikt Bramböck

Trianon

Selected by
Chris Rugen
Garibaldi specimen

Garibaldi

Selected by
Sonja Knecht
Stolzl Display fonts

Stolzl Display

Selected by
Patric King
Gloss Drop

Gloss Drop

Selected by
Maurice Meilleur

Ceremony

Selected by
Stephen Coles

Aphrosine

Selected by
Max Phillips

BC Mikser

Selected by
Eben Sorkin

Vito

Selected by
Ksenya Samarskaya

Kazimir

Selected by
Laura Meseguer

Tremolo

Selected by
Ferdinand Ulrich

Demos Next

Selected by
Elizabeth Carey Smith

Mallory

Selected by
Victoria Rushton

Blesk

Selected by
Tamye Riggs

Vinter

Selected by
David Berlow

San Francisco

Selected by
Nick Sherman

Hobeaux

Selected by
Norman Hathaway

Today Sans Now

Selected by
Robin Mientjes

Libé

Selected by
Frank Grießhammer

FF Hertz

Selected by
Sonja Knecht
Irrlicht specimen

Irrlicht

Selected by
Paul Barnes
Infini

Infini

Selected by
Tamye Riggs
Tripper

Tripper

Selected by
Pooja Saxena
Modak specimen

Modak Devanagari

Selected by
Marian Bantjes

Obsidian

Selected by
Marina Chaccur
Viktor Script specimen

Viktor Script

Selected by
Jean-Baptiste Levée

SangBleu

Selected by
Nina Stössinger
Khang specimen

Khang

Selected by
Paul Shaw
Eksell Display weights

Eksell Display

Selected by
Ricardo Cordoba
NSW01

NSW01

Selected by
Marta Bernstein
Noe Text styles & weights

Noe Text

Selected by
Conor Mangat

Chiavettieri

Selected by
Sibylle Hagmann

Buendia

Selected by
Tal Leming
ATF Brush

ATF Brush

Selected by
Tiffany Wardle de Sousa
Nitti Mostro

Nitti Mostro

Selected by
Erin McLaughlin

Quantum Devanagari

Selected by
Misha Beletsky

Hadassah Friedlaender

Selected by
Titus Nemeth

Bustani

Selected by
Tobias Frere-Jones

Neue

Selected by
Mark Simonson

ATF Garamond

Selected by
Christian Palino

Indie

Selected by
Dan Reynolds
Media77

Media77

Selected by
Jan Middendorp
Josef K font

Josef K

Selected by
Aegir Hallmundur
Gill specimen

Eric Gill Series

Selected by
Filip Blažek

Inka

Selected by
William Berkson
Blend

Blend

Selected by
Mariko Takagi

FS Brabo

Selected by
Jon Coltz

Greta Mono

Selected by
Michael Surtees

Clone

Selected by
Thomas Phinney

ATF Alternate Gothic

Selected by
Wael Morcos

Greta Arabic

Selected by
Reed Reibstein

Druk Text, Druk Text Wide

Selected by
María Ramos

Tenez

Selected by
Sol Matas

Quotes

Selected by
Toshi Omagari
Janko FY specimen

Janko FY

Selected by
Aoife Mooney

Echo

Selected by
Matthew Buchanan

Sanomat Sans

Selected by
Amy Papaelias

Beloved

Selected by
Frode Bo Helland
Sabre

Sabre

Selected by
Sonja Knecht

Macho

Selected by
Tânia Raposo

Double

Selected by
Gerry Leonidas

Brasílica

Selected by
Lila Symons

Quimbly

Selected by
Yves Peters
Bligh fonts

Bligh

Selected by
Jürgen Siebert

Frauen

Selected by
Stephen Coles

Other Notable Font Releases of 2015

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