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Here is a quote from the active foundry thread in this pdf, moved here so as not to muddle the discussion there.
This reminds me: i've been wanting to do an online survey - targeted at your average designer who doesn't follow the type industry like many of us do - and ask them if they are familiar with certain fonts and designers. Those listed would represent different marketing methods (online, print catalog, massive distributor, advertising, MyFonts, etc). Would be fascinating to see what method or mix of methods comes out the victor.
This probably will not count as a survey, nor is typophile.com the best place to conduct it, as if you're reading this thread, you probably have an above average interest in type.
However there were the years before I saw the light. I came to graphic design by way of a physics degree, so my sensitivity to type was pretty much nil. Then I got a copy of Stop Stealing Sheep, required reading in an art class. Eventually I lucked into a position as a production artist at a mom and pop ad agency.
Now to your question. Hard to say if that agency represents "average." Regardless, We had the Adobe library. And that was it. If we wanted something else I'd look around at what Adobe had released recently. The next places to look were actually the huge stock photo places like eyewire.com that had a few other collections for sale and who sent catalogues to us regularly because, um we only used stock photography. sniff. But I would say, for 99% of the work we did, something in that collection was appropriate. Most likely adobe garamond or univers if it was an edgy project :-) Ahhhhhhhh!
Type designers I had heard of: Goudy, Frutiger, MFBenton, Gill, Novarese, Bodoni etc.
Type resources I'd not heard of: My Fonts. Phil's House, Hoefler, P-22, T26, Plazm, Thirst, wait, yes I'd heard of Emigre (maybe for a star trek poster), DTL? nope. Lucas de Who?. Typophile, sadly no.
Now this probably is not the case for people who received formal graphic design training. Chances are they would have exposure to some of these other resources.
How could I have been reached at that time.
1. Some snazzy printed DM piece arrives at the office for say, Photonica designed by say, Tolleson Design. Wow! This is the coolest thing i've ever seen. I wonder if the type is in the adobe library... ahhhhhhhhh!
2. Design Annuals. Manna from heaven. What are the people at the cool shops using. I want my stuff to look cool.
3. I've noticed that some annuals include type credits, but Communcation Arts does not. I probably would have found Meta 3 years earlier! No seriously, this was where the motivation was. So if this is how my type sensibilities were being broadened, it would have been helpful to know what I was looking at. Might be worth a letter to the editors at CA.
While pouring over an issue of communication arts, I read a book review for Fonts & Logos by Doyald Young. I bought it. The rest is history.
Perhaps a bit long winded, but i believe it gets at your survey from my experience anyway.