Before you embark on a quest to discover the top 10 fonts of all times, you must first clear your concept as regards what is actually meant by the word ‘font’. When you type alphabets on your computer or a typewriter their appearance on the sheet is referred to in a designer’s jargon as typeface. For example, Helvetica and Times New Roman are typefaces that determine the shape in which each character is represented. Going a step further, when these are further modified on the basis of size, style, weight and so on, the outcome is referred to as font.
As compared to writing which is content using typeface, designing is a field wherein fonts actually play a major role. What could be a better proof of this than checking out the number of fonts that any designing software package offers? For a designer, a font is one of the weapons in his arsenal that completes the design and that is why it is an aspect that everyone would want to master at the earliest. To this effect, there are some fonts that have endured through the decades and still manage to fascinate designers and viewers alike.
Fonts got very popular around 3 years back when there was an explosion of websites that would list down various fonts and make it very easy to download them. You can see how popular they were by looking at recent domain auction results. While they are still popular, the number of such websites releasing every month has gone down. The most popular sites currently are the Open Font Library, Adobe Edge webfonts and Font Shop.
Following is a compilation of top 10 fonts that possess timelessness as one of their traits –
Akzidenz Grotesk – Released for the first time in 1896, this font was the brainchild of a German entity named Berthold Type Foundry. Its popularity resurged during the 1950s’ when several variations to it were formulated including contemporary typefaces like Helvetica and Univers. Survival of this font through centuries is attributed to its neutral nature wherein it can be applied to any situation without the fear of other elements of the design getting overshadowed.
Franklin Gothic – Representative of Americanism at its best, Franklin Gothic is a powerful bold font that was invented in 1902 by Morris Fuller Benton, an American designer. Being an expression of confidence, this font comes out best when used in combination with another font that is subtle and sensitive.
Knockout – Strongly reminiscent of boxing, this font comprises of an entire family of typefaces that vary in terms of weight and style. No matter what your requirement as a designer might be, there is bound to be something under the Knockout banner that would integrate seamlessly with your design.
Sabon – Of Swiss origin, Sabon is a relatively modern font courtesy of having been introduced in 1966 by a graphic designer named Jan Tschichold. Derived from an older font named Garamond, this font is unique in its ability to retain the same width across several styles like bold, italic and Roman.
New Baskerville – This font surfaced for the first time in Birmingham in 1757 thanks to the efforts of John Baskerville and marks the transition from traditional styles to more contemporary typefaces. Because it is neither too showy nor too functional, this font is elegance personified and has a strong unique presence.
Didot – Preferred by many designers over its Italian sibling Bodoni, Didot is associated with fashion courtesy of its thickm extremes and thin hairlines. On the flip side, it is this characteristic that gives this font a delicate touch and renders it as being nearly perfect, a claim that very few fonts can make.
Gill Shadow – Typically English, this font had been designed with the London Underground in mind by Eric Gill in 1928. While the intention of the creator was to create a legible font, the final outcome emerged as being characterized by several distinct traits. Since its release, this font has been put to a variety of uses ranging from BBC to gracing sculptures.
Din1451 – Meant as an acronym for a German Institute, this font had been created in 1931 and to its credit, still retains a timelessness that renders it useful even today. Characterized by gentle roundedness, it boasts of a condensed structure that is very strongly indicative of Bauhaus but for its shape.
Rockwell – Known for its geometric form, Rockwell is a font that is best used for display since it has a strong personality which you cannot help but respect. Robust by nature, this font retained its signature horizontal strokes over the decades and even today it manages to preserve its persona regardless of whether it is stretched out or squeezed.
Gotham – Having risen to fame courtesy of its widespread use by US President Barrack Obama during his presidential campaign, this 15-year old font remains a hot favorite thanks to its distinct style derived from architectural wonders of New York. Released at the turn of the millennium in 2000, Gotham is preferred for its clean and contemporary typeface.