Dear Archer: Why do you always look so good?

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sydney newsom's picture
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Joined: 24 Jul 2011 - 3:05pm
Dear Archer: Why do you always look so good?
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I've been looking for a serif with the same qualities of Archer. I will admit that I prefer a sans-serif over a serif. Something about the majority of serif fonts makes me feel like I need to arch my back and keep my chin up. I feel like wine and cheese would be served at a serif party while the sans-serif party would have an open bar with a stellar selection of craft beer.

And then there is "Archer", which for me conveys a warmth and friendliness other serifs lack. It says "welcome, have a seat and make yourself comfortable". Yet the font exudes elegance and sophistication at the same time.

Archer has been popping up everywhere for a while. I see it in lots of magazine and ad campaigns. I wasn't surprised when Publix (grocery store in the southeast) used it for their most recent campaign. However I wasn't really ready to find it gracing the title of every Ore-Ida potato product in the frozen food section there. Two days later . . . Quaker Oatmeal.

My point: as a designer and lover of type, I like to keep things fresh. I can't create a logo for a cutting-edge, sophisticated interior designer using the Ore-Ida potato font that is easily spotted in so many common places.

Is there another well-designed font family capable of pulling off all of the same qualities of archer? Can there be another font with such lovely ball terminals that succeeds without coming across as a knock-off? I thought I found the answer a while back in House Industry's "Eames Century Modern". But somehow I never feel as satisfied when using it in designs or copy in which I want to exude friendliness and a bit of personality.

I'm new to typophile and would love to get your suggestions and feedback. I did a keyword search for "archer" before posting and didn't find anything of interest. So please, don't bite if this has been discussed in a previous post/s. (pretend I added a smiley face here using punctuation)

I often have imaginative conversations and sometimes documented dialogues with fonts as if they are human. If you don't find this disturbing I might share the break-up letter I drafted for Archer.

Frank ADEBIAYE's picture
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Joined: 29 Apr 2007 - 4:46pm
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You should have a look at Sentinel, also by HF&J:
http://www.typography.com/fonts/font_overview.php?productLineID=100034

Craig Eliason's picture
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Joined: 19 Mar 2004 - 1:44pm
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http://Ernestine by Typophile Nina Stössinger, may fit the bill perfectly, but it hasn't seen release yet...
You may want to take a look at Nick Shinn's Bodoni Egyptian too.

sydney newsom's picture
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Joined: 24 Jul 2011 - 3:05pm
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So happy to have received quick responses!

Frank, I'm not crazy about the way Sentinel reads when used in sentence and paragraph form. I'm sure there is a technical word for that but you will have to excuse me as I am a self-taught designer with an English Literature degree.

eliason . . . Bodoni Egyptian. That's it. I never thought about looking for a slab serif with a feminine side. I've always been drawn to slab serifs for their clean and simple lines. But I never thought one could look so good in paragraph form. I like the fact that it is slightly condensed, as I feel like I am often in need of a more condensed font in order to lend more of my beloved white space. And equally important, it doesn't come across as an archer knock-off.

The lightest version is especially nice. Thank you, thank you!

Aaron Thesing's picture
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Joined: 6 Jul 2009 - 1:10am
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It is lamentable how widespread Archer's use is becoming.

I will second Bodoni Egyptian Pro.

If you want a sans that has a feminine quality, maybe Bree fits the bill?

Blank's picture
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Joined: 25 Sep 2006 - 2:15pm
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It is lamentable how widespread Archer's use is becoming.

The problem is not the amount of use but amount of entirely inappropriate usage. Archer is fine for the many places where a cute and quirky slab serif is called for. But it can look ridiculous when used outside of those places. Two insane uses that spring to mind were a tank-themed Cheetos web campaign and the new identity for Wells Fargo retail banks. Archer is far from the only misused fonts, it just seems that way because H&FJ's great marketing efforts make it easily identifiable.

Nick Shinn's picture
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Joined: 8 Jul 2003 - 11:00am
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It is also identifiable by its design, which is sufficiently original to distinguish it—particularly the innovative ball terminals on cap C, G, and S.

sydney newsom's picture
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Joined: 24 Jul 2011 - 3:05pm
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I guess it's obvious how much I know about typography classification and terminology- I wasn't even classifying Archer as a slab serif- just a serif with ball terminals. I think of Lubalin Graph and Rockwell when I think of a slab serif.

Nick, I am in agreement with your statement. That is why I've rarely used archer in all caps- there's never enough of those lovely ball terminals to leave me satisfied.

It's the way I see archer bold used that bothers me but this is probably a personal preference of style.

Bree is nice but a little feminine for my taste.

So are most of the people in here typographers/aspiring typographers?

Nick Shinn's picture
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Joined: 8 Jul 2003 - 11:00am
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It's quite diverse, by any measure.