Tag Archives: font

Type Tuesdays: Periodic Table of Typefaces

I think the fact that I’m a graphic, web and user interaction designer probably speaks volumes about my knowledge (or at least my retention) of the periodic table of elements as presented in high school chemistry (ummm….zilch). And my interest in revisiting that subject? (you guessed it…none whatsoever.)

But I’m starting to think maybe the periodic table of elements is just the wrong periodic table for me. I need one that’s a little more pertinent to my life and interests. Something kinda like….say, a periodic table of typefaces. Like this:

Created by Cam Wilde, and available via the Behance Network, the periodic table of typefaces lists 100 of the most popular, influential and “notorious” typefaces around, each including the typeface name, a one or two character “symbol”, the designer, year designed, and a ranking of 1 through 100.

Find out more about the project here, or jump straight to the massive jpeg for a crisp and clean view of the whole table.


Type Tuesdays: Comic Sans

Apart from generally avoiding its use, and keeping tabs on how much other people hate it, I’ve never really expressed an opinion on the Comic Sans debate. I recently decided the whole issue needed a closer look:

Comic Sans is the font everyone loves to hate…or at the very least pick on. There are entire sites dedicated to its complete eradication, such as Ban Comic Sans and its Flickr group or, a little less drastic, Comic Sans Criminal which provides lots of alternatives to the font, and very clear examples why, if you’re ever going to use it, it should only be for audiences 10 years or younger.

There’s the famous joke: Comic Sans walks into a bar, and the barman says, “We don’t serve your type here.” Ha ha. And, of course, the “Hitler freaks out over Comic Sans MS” video by Designer Daily:

I have to admit…there are a whole lot of really terrible and inappropriate uses of Comic Sans out there:

[ source, source, source ]

But the font, originally created as a groovy “friendlier-than-Times-New-Roman” help text for Microsoft Bob, does have its defenders and fans…

Mike Lacher did a bang up job speaking on behalf of the beleaguered font in his very colourful rant I’m Comic Sans, Asshole…[warning: as the title suggests, it’s a no-holds-barred “defence” of the typeface – if strong language offends you, please take a pass]. And someone out there loves the font so much, they’ve made the Comic-Sans it! bookmarklet that lets you render any page in Comic Sans.

While I generally shudder at the thought of an internet filled with Comic Sans websites, it did get me wondering…are there any really great examples of how Comic Sans could be used? And you know what? There are….

Turns out, all you need is a little imagination.

[ soure, source, source ]

Final verdict? It depends. Used appropriately, any typeface can appear beautiful….used indiscriminately and without much consideration for the personality of the typeface? You can end up with a whole big comic sans mess.

If your your curiosity has been piqued, and you want to know more about Comic Sans and its origins Six Revisions did a great review, as did the BBC.


Type Tuesdays: Carnival-Inspired

When I think of the carnival or circus, I think of big top tents, carousels, clowns, lion tamers, elephants, face painting, and balloons (okay, I also think about popcorn, cotton candy, and trying to win silly stuffed animals). They’re filled with a sense of wonderment and excitement that is special and unique…which is why I think a lot of the typefaces used in relation to these events are equally whimsical and special…

(So special, that if put in the right context, many of them easily double as western typefaces…I wonder how both the wild west and the circus got associated with many of the same shapes and letter forms?)

Here’s a selection of some of my favourites:

1. Carevalee Freakshow; 2. Hoedown; 3. JF Ringmaster; 4. IFC Wild Rodeo; 5. Zebrawood; 6. Big Top; 7. IFC Rail Road; 8. Cast Iron; 9. Helldorado; 10. Chipperfield and Bailey; 11. WM-Circus Dingbats

[ photo credit: Guomunda; texture credits: Pugly Pixel ]