Q & A: Desert Island Fonts

Design Answers | Monday, March 8th, 2010

You’ve all played that game: “If you were stuck on a desert island, what’s the one _______ that you would take?” As designers, we’ve occasionally been asked which is our favorite typeface. It’s not easy for us to pick just one, especially since one font never works for all scenarios, but in this case we limited ourselves to one font that we enjoy using more than others. Here they are, in alphabetical order:

Gill Sans specimen

Gill Sans

Ira

Sure, it’s a quirky face, but it’s kind of like your eccentric older uncle: he’s been around for a while, done some interesting stuff, has tons of great stories and is just a bit off. It doesn’t matter, though, because everyone likes him anyways. Gills Sans is just like that, with its humanist shapes and the occasional character that just seems, well, different. But taken as a whole, it immediately lends its own subtle traits to your copy. It’s a modern face that’s not cold or off-putting in the least. In fact, I’d say that it’s a very personable typeface indeed.

Knockout specimen

Knockout

Ryan

Inspired by the tradition of classic letterpress printing of posters, broadsides, signage and advertising, Knockout is deeply rooted in Americana. It’s blocky and extended, thin and condensed, its full of character and each of the 32 weights has its own unique voice. It’s barbecue, it’s Johnny Cash; it’s a bit peculiar and imperfect and I like it that way.

Thesis specimen

Thesis

Chris

We are family—I got all my sisters with me! We are family—Get up ev’rybody and sing! Oh… sorry. Thesis just makes me want to sing sometimes. Thesis is what you call a “Super Family.” It features a stellar serif typeface, sans-serif typeface and a mixed typeface. Overall this family has a warm, humanist feel with a corporate leaning. When working with a lot of copy it’s incredibly useful to have the broad diversity Thesis offers. What’s better than a sans and serif font that are made to work together?

Trade Gothic specimen

Trade Gothic

Aaron

“T.G.” and I have been friends for about a dozen years now. Even if we don’t see one another for a stretch of time, he’s always welcoming and it seems we can pick up right where we left off. He comes from a great, hardworking family (I think his Dad makes suitcases or something). Of all my friends, I wouldn’t say he’s the most adventurous. He’s not really into excessive heights or extreme sports and generally plays it safe. There was one time on a field trip, he did get in trouble talking trash about Frutiger, it was kind of hilarious. T.G. just one of those dependable types that will always be there when you need them and typically handles himself with an understated grace.

Those are our favorite typefaces. What are yours?

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