Typophiles are in for a treat. FontShop, the original independent retailer of digital type founded by Erik Spiekermann and Neville Brody, recently unveiled a new site featuring their selection of The 100 Best Typefaces of All Time. ‘So what makes this list different from any other ranked list?’ you might ask. Well, a few things, for starters the selection process.
FontShop used a mix of sales figures and bestseller lists spanning the last decade in combination with a jury process as a way to balance more objective quantitative data with subjective qualitative data based on judges expertise and preference. Sabine Gruppe, Online Marketing and Operations, FontShop AG explained what prompted the idea, “We had two main aspects in mind when working on the ranking: firstly we wanted to develop something that considered both subjective professional opinions on the typefaces as well as objective long term sales figures. Secondly we wanted to tell stories behind the typefaces because they are often unknown.”
Which leads me to another differentiating aspect of the list. Clicking on any of the typefaces reveals the unique story behind each one accompanied by images such as original drafts, the type in use and other historical artifacts and documents.The selection process and narrative for each typeface add unexpected depth to the site. Sabine described possible ways designers might use the list for their own work and enjoyment, “Designers can use the list in many ways: from testing knowledge and taste, comparing the list to their personal favourites or getting to know the background of the typefaces and where the fonts stand in the history of type creation. They can also follow the link to the font and can be assured that there is an original Helvetica behind the link.”
Additionally, expert jury members Roger Black, Danilo Black, Inc., USA; Stephen Coles, Typographica, USA; Jan Middendorp, Publizist, Berlin; Veronika Elsner, Elsner + Flake, Berlin; Bertram Schmidt-Friderichs, TDC, Mainz; Ralf Herrmann, TypoForum, Weimar and Claudia Guminski, FontShop, Marketing, Berlin each contributed their own personal “Top Ten” to the site along with notes on what qualities they look for and inspire them in a typeface. Especially gratifying? To learn that Veronika Elsner and I share a favorite—Lucida. Visit www.100besttypefaces.com to see if your favorite is on the list or discover a new love.
Images Courtesy FontShop