Bevy of Ball Terminals

Written by Stephen Coles on September 18, 2006

Bringhurst says the golden section is universally appealing. I submit that the same can be said for the voluptuous, rounded stroke-ending known (to the cheeky) as the ball terminal. So, today, let’s take a short break from talking like pirates to celebrate some fonts well-endowed with those sweet dollops of goodness that are rarely discussed, but so widely appreciated.

ITC Zapf Book font

ITC Zapf Book
Hermann Zapf is usually hailed for his calligraphy or Optima or Palatino. I’ve recently discovered the beauty of his fat serif faces. Check out the heavy weights of ITC Zapf Book and International. Chew-worthy!

Kismet font from Linotype
John F. Cumming
Also digitized by Richard Beatty as Spiral.

Cabernet font from Jukebox
Jason Walcott‘s delicious Cabernet is just sick with ball terminals. Honestly, check out the superfluous swash on the ‘u’ up there. Mmm, hurts so good. The font is a revival of an old tricked-out Caslon by Ed Benguiat. These high contrast, decorative vintage types are all the rage these days, showing up on tee shirts and album art.

Fling font from Letraset

Michael Gills
Recently used for the logo and innards of Martha Stewart’s Blueprint magazine, Fling is taking homemakers of America by storm.

Farnham font from Font Bureau

Christian Schwartz returned to the sparkling types of punchcutter Johann Fleischman for this family. Fans include Sports Illustrated and Rolling Stone.

Perla font from Alias

Gareth Hague‘s teardropped Didot shows up on the Typophile Type ID Board a few times a year, and for good reason. It’s still largely an undiscovered gem.

Miserchordia font from Device
I’m not sure whether to call this new face from Rian Hughes Victorian or Deco, so I shall call it Victodeco!

Stilla font by Linotype

François Boltana

Coquette font by Mark Simonson

Mark Simonson’s aptly-named Coquette is the typographic equivalent of a young Anna Karina. He describes his creation as “the result of a happy marriage between Kabel and French Script”. So true. Incidentally, it’s her geometric sanscestory that makes Coquette the perfect feminine companion for the ever-popular Neutraface. C’est magnifique!

Miller font from Font Bureau
Matthew Carter
A “scotch roman” is a sturdy newspaper type. A little old school, but handsomely exudes importance. Matthew Carter’s Miller is the most complete scotch available. Cuts for text and headline sizes, and styles for every occasion. Web designers can think of it as a Georgia for print.

Julia Script font from ITC

Julia Script
David Harris
Beautifully buxom. A throwback to both art nouveau and the flower-power ’70s.

ITC Modern 216 font… eleven twelve.

ITC Modern No. 216
Ed Benguiat usually did things in a big way, and he certainly wasn’t going to hold back on the ball terminals in this English Modern.

Carousel font from Linotype

Apparently Gary Gillot didn’t think there were enough balls in Poster Bodoni, so he added more — and made ’em huge! See also: Didoni and Didona.

I won’t lie to you. Purchases made from some of these links will help support Typographica. So if you like what we do, buy some balls!


  1. Alex Weber says:

    I love this post. My favorite font is Stilla. Dig that “Gin” ligature!


  2. Thank you, Alex! That’s really just a “Gn”, but I immediately saw the ‘i’ in the ‘G’, so I imagined a ligature out of it. The lime leaf is a curvy bracket.

    BTW, thanks for bringing my attention to this post. Many of these old links were broken and are now fixed.

  3. Eben Sorkin says:

    Tasty picks and the usual fine commentary. Keep ’em coming!

  4. Craig Eliason says:

    Love the “Sesame Street” reference! :-)

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