Making Eyes at that Font Across the Room


We’re getting a kick out of graphic designer Cam Wilde’s latest endeavor, the “Periodic Table of Typefaces: Popular, Influential, & Notorious.” Posted in an online portfolio hosted by our friends at Behance, Wilde’s work neatly arranges 100 fonts by fame and class, serving as both a quick lesson in the art form and an assessment of its impact. We particularly appreciate Wilde’s inclusion of each typeface’s year of creation, which stretch all the way back to the printing press’ invention circa 1450.

For a few thoughts on the wild world of fonts, we turned to our resident designer, Jonathan Rahmani, who confessed to a sans-serif love affair via IM.

elichaz: thanks for joining me, Designer Rahmani

graphtographer: sure thing, Writer Dvorkin

elichaz: so, any surprises in the rankings? I guess Helvetica was a shoo-in for #1

graphtographer: yes. although it seems to have just as many haters as lovers these days

graphtographer: but when it comes down to it, you’re setting yourself up for a struggle trying to avoid it all together

graphtographer: in general, the rankings don’t surprise too much — like the ‘uber-gothic’ fonts being some of the lowest ranked. who’s really going to use those, but for some kind of gothic wedding invite?

graphtographer: however… Century is a nice typeface, so I’m a little surprised it’s ranked 50. it may have lost its ‘edge’ in the world of pixels and screens

graphtographer: that’s a bit of an unintended pun

elichaz: A+

elichaz: how about family/class?

graphtographer: yeah, I was trying to understand his process

graphtographer: why did he go through the trouble of ranking them? did the rank translate at all? as he states, when it came down to it, they were largely ordered by family. that’s a little confusing for me

graphtographer: id like to see him take his data and worry less about the aesthetics of a periodic table and actually produce a table for typefaces…

elichaz: do you play favorites?

graphtographer: I lean towards sans-serif fonts, but then again I design largely for the web

graphtographer: i definitely have a liking for serifs when appropriate though. they have a human quality that is hard to find in the absolute geometry of a sans-serif typeface

graphtographer: and then you have the oddballs, i think, like Cooper Black. it’s a bit of a cliché, for various reasons

graphtographer: but it’s cute

graphtographer: and you can’t help but smile, just looking at it… I’m actually currently using a variation of that font for my blog‘s logo.

elichaz: which font would you most wanna take on a date?

graphtographer: well let’s see

graphtographer: it would have to be between Joanna, Caecilia, or Bembo

graphtographer: I might go with Bembo, unless… can someone find me a Floozy face?

elichaz: your unintended puns are better than your intended ones…

graphtographer: fair enough

elichaz: last question — which font do you want other designers to stay away from, because it’s all yours?

graphtographer: I’m sorta seeing Trade Gothic right now…

elichaz: goin’ steady?

graphtographer: no… I’m hitting up PTF Nordic now and then