TOP 10 GREATEST FACES

beejay's picture

I have an idea for a thread that will be fun and maybe Joe or Jared can confirm some guidelines.

Everyone jot a list of their Top 10 GREATEST Typefaces of All-Time. (Maybe 'jot' isn't the best word. How about 'obsess over' a list?)

Greatness would measure things like originality, longetivity, beauty, practicality, social importance, designer significance, etc.

Then, on a set day (maybe Sunday, Dec. 9) at a set time (noon PST?) everybody post their lists. Then let the debating and ranting begin.

But nobody post a list before that time to prejudice others.

Joe, Jared, Typophiles, is this workable?

beejay's picture

Also, what about Top 10 FAVORITE faces? The criteria for this wouldn't be so formal.


bj

soreno's picture

bj harvey wrote:

> Then let the debating and ranting begin.

BJ, you left out the 'h'... ;-)

Soren O

beejay's picture

As far Hrant-bashing, count me out. This guy thinks about type at an extremely high level, he has a sense of humor about himself, and he is one of the best reasons to visit Typophile.

bj

:) :) :) :) :)

Stephen Coles's picture

I'd suggest we list our 10 favorite faces. Or the 10
faces we'd want if stuck on a deserted island. Sure,
it's been done elsewhere, and more than once but it'd
be nice to see what this forum's regulars appreciate.

The 10 most important fonts would require too much
work and thought. I think we'd see minimal response.

Stephen

hrant's picture

BJ, come on. Thanks, really, but I'm not serious enough to deserve that.
(BTW, I think Soren was kidding. Or maybe not, 'cause Hrant is my name, and rant is my game.)

Anyways, my list is taking shape as we speak...
Just one problem: How to separate Great from Favorite, really?

hhp

beejay's picture

10 Favorite Faces sounds like a good start. If it's not a well-known face, include a link. And the designer.

bj

hrant's picture

Going from David's idea, what about this:
Each of us makes only one list, and in one sentence explains the "nature" of his/her list.

And to roll in Anon's idea: one of the faces should be from 2001?

So, when's the deadline exactly? Considering we're still deciding what the list will really be, maybe this Sunday's too early. It's up to the idea's daddy, though.

hhp

beejay's picture

I'll defer to Joe and Jared, Typophile's daddys. Would either of you like to set a deadline?

bj

beejay's picture

How about December 15? Saturday. Noon or thereabouts PST. Is that too long to agonize?


bj

soreno's picture

December 15 would be fine. I will post my list of 10 typefaces I would bring along to the deserted island. BTW -- Hrant is second to none, both when he is ranting and when he isn't, and a lot of fun.

Soren O

hrant's picture

OK, my list is ready, and of course I won't reveal it early, but I figured to let you guys know what it looks like, in case it helps anything.

It has ten entries, sorted [roughly] chronologically, plus an optional/bonus entry for 2001, since if some people -hi Tiffany- don't really like anything from this year (can you blame them?), it's unfair to effectively force their list down to 9.

hhp

eriks's picture

I have only just stumbled upon this thread. Haven't got time to read all of it, but remembered that I've had similar discussions before. I think a list is a great idea, especially if it is such a personal test. It'll make us all feel good. It will, however, not change the world of type-usage out there one bit. I have my own theory about the success of certain faces and it would be nice to explore at some point how something as despicable as Avantgarde Gothic or something as sickly cute as Optima ever became so popular. But then, your present president took his post with less of a quarter of the adult population of this country having voted for him. One Steve Jobs with an old Linotype catalog in his garage had a bigger influence on the course of typedesign than all living typedesigners together.

A few years ago, a journalist asked me what I thought were the ten most popular typefaces in use today. His question implied that those would also be the ten best typefaces of all time.

Here is an excerpt from my answer:

1. What makes a good typeface is decided by the users, not the designer.

2. Most good typefaces have been designed for one purpose, they do not come
from a designer

hrant's picture

> It'll make us all feel good.

But what's better than that?

> your present president took his post with less of a quarter of the adult population of this country having voted for him

:->
And what a quarter it was...

> One Steve Jobs with an old Linotype catalog in his garage had a bigger influence on the course of typedesign than all living typedesigners together.

Let's not forget the other Steve (Wozniak) - the guy who actually built the thing.

> 1. What makes a good typeface is decided by the users, not the designer.

In terms of popularity, sure. But what about quality? For example, the "users" of movie theatres choose the stupidest stuff.

BTW, I guess there's nothing interesting to do in San Francisco on a Sunday night since the .com implosion? (I know there certainly isn't in Glendale, at *any* time of the week.) I've heard that all the sushi bars in SF are now Denny's. ;-)

> When we talk about the ten most used typefaces, I am not sure which culture we are looking at.
> ....
> I presume we mean the Western world, but we should all be aware that these presumptions are very arrogant and very unprecise.

Right on!
Well, my list of 10 (which I thought we were not supposed to reveal before the 15th...) has one non-Latin font in it. The problem, of course, is how do you judge a font in a script you're not familiar with? So maybe when somebody presents a list he/she should state its scope.

> we read best what we read most.

But we also read best what we read best, no?

Anyway, I thought your list was very informative! Thanks.

hhp

mart's picture

Wow! Erik Spiekermann! An immortal amongst us!
Erik is spot on here. There's no point in pretending to be objective. Just choose your favorites. Trouble is, I don't think anyone here would be particularly interested in my top ten as it would probably include such boring fonts as Cheltenham and Plantin - and where's the fun in that?! The 2001 idea is not bad - but not exactly easy to be sure of as release dates are never clear after a font is launched. Plus there are so many new fonts released in a year, and nobody keeps track of them all. Not unless someone wants to start IFDB.com, along the lines of the Internet Movie Database - imdb.com.

hrant's picture

> There's no point in pretending to be objective.
> Just choose your favorites.

Totally.

But dude, Plantin is a man among boys - it's the real thing (as opposed to Times, the Prom King). I don't care if the lc "a" has a flawed pedigree - it more than makes up for it.

On the other hand, I'm one of those crazies who thinks that Cheltenham (the real one, not the ITC caricature) deserved its popularity: it has a distinct charm, and a unique readability. I think the fact that it was designed by a non-type-designer tends to mar the objectivity of some stodgy -or overly conservative, or overly pedantic- type designers (like Tracy, as much as I admire him for other things). And maybe the same negative forces are at work in the denial of the true origin of Times - but that's another can of worms.

BTW, I thought Cooper university (no, it's not a school where you learn to make chocolate letters) had something like an "IFDB".

hhp

Stephen Coles's picture

> Not unless someone wants to start IFDB.com,
along the lines of the Internet Movie Database
- imdb.com.

That's not too far off. Some of us are working on this.

Stephen

beejay's picture

From what I gather, we are going to go with our personal favorites (to play with on a deserted island, equipped with a G4 and a DSL line:)), not necessarily the 'greatest' faces or the faces in greatest use. Is that right?

For fun, in addition to our favorites, maybe some typophiles want to include their thinking on the world's 'greatest' faces, most used faces, or perhaps some other things

hrant's picture

> we are going to go with our personal favorites (to play with on a deserted island, equipped with a G4 and a DSL line)

I'm not really a type user (and I also don't believe in the instantiation of a design - just its concept), so the ones on my list are typefaces I would simply daydream about... on a deserted island!

BTW, what's a deserted island with a DSL line?! It's like those piggy banks with a "release" at the bottom: not a piggy bank at all, just a really cumbersome wallet.

> Top 10 favorite glyphs
> Top 10 nicest quotes about typography

These two are cool.
But in a separate thread, no?

> Also, I'm sure everyone would love to see comments about each face that is chosen

Do you think I (for one) could resist *not* doing that?! :-)

hhp

anonymous's picture

I'm working on my list too.

As far as how to distinguish "great" from "favorite", I think it would be interesting if each person who posts as list would also include a brief description of her/his own definition and parameters for determining which fonts make which list.

Still, it sounds like the 10 Favorite Fonts list is the consensus so far, so that's the one I'll compile first.

David

anonymous's picture

What about exstending it with another list with the very best typefaces created in 2001. ...its so difficult to keep up with all the exciting work being done worldwide, so my suggestion would be 1) Suggest a typeface released in 2001 that inspire and motivate to create fonts of a HIGH standard. 2) Add a sample and write what you think is that make the typeface to a favourite of yours

TYPEFACE of 2001

Sbo

Jared Benson's picture

C'mon, you guys should feel some ownership in this community we're building here. Joe and I just pay the bandwidth bills :)

Let's just decide on a date together-

jb

Joe Pemberton's picture

"Meet me by the flag pole at noon."

Where have I heard that before?

//joe

anonymous's picture

So... the Ten Favourite Fonts list.
As far as fonts go i have two categories: 1) All time favorites 2) Fonts that inspire but does not nesecarily meet up to the criteria in the first category, but nevertheless are important and interessting. This second category is less predictable and will perhaps give us a few not so well known fonts..and perhaps that will spark a discussion on what we individually strive to express in a typeface.

The all time favourite fonts will most certainly include fonts that we allready know...so I dont think it will produce to many surprises to us...So
it would be nice if everyone added a font that they like (not nessesarily for its perfection..but rather for inspiration).

(I regret for posting as Anonymous the first time...:)

Sbo

anonymous's picture

Okay, I'm almost ready to post. Are we going to post our lists on THIS thread, or start a new one for the lists themselves?

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