Typeface Review


Reviewed by Cameron Moll on March 13, 2013

Good wide display fonts are tough to come by. Period.

As a novice designer in the late 90’s, I was enamored with Microgramma. Maybe it was obsession with things Swiss, having a grandfather born in the country. Perhaps it was a natural inclination to wide type. Whatever the case, the release of Hoefler & Frere-Jones’ Idlewild renewed an infatuation that has fallen dormant in the latter years of my career.

“For the longest time,” H&FJ writes in its description of Idlewild, “we’ve been reaching for a typeface that wasn’t there.” So I have I. Maybe that explains the dormancy. But what amazes me is how remarkably well the H&FJ crew pulled it off. Industrious, versatile, and instantly timeless. And that ‘G’, how it perfectly demonstrates the font’s subtle, restrained beauty!

Microgramma still enamors me a decade later, and I’m pretty certain I’ll say the same for Idlewild in the 2020s.

Cameron Moll is a designer, author, speaker, and founder of Authentic Jobs. He has appeared in HOW, Print, Communication Arts, Forrester Research publications, National Public Radio (NPR), and .net magazine.


  1. mashgallo says:

    Any suggestions for a serif which would play well with Idlewild for body copy?

  2. If you want to match the style (rather than contrast it) the new Gomme Sans is the most similar thing I’ve seen that is text-worthy.

    Gomme Sans

    Also, Allumi, Qubo, and Stainless.

  3. mashgallo says:

    Wow, you’re right. Gomme Sans is spot on, but I’m interested in a serif which would provide more of a contrast. Thanks!

  4. It’s difficult to answer your question without more information about your project. Type pairing isn’t an exact science and doesn’t really work in a vacuum. There are thousands of serifs that would work well with Idlewild; what matters is what you’re trying to do. I would consult an experienced designer who can give you some informed recommendations after learning more about your goals.

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