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by Vivien @

Font typefaces were created to serve a certain purpose with a specific mood and/or tone. In addition to the individual traits of each font and its family, there are only two kinds of types — display and text. Display faces, known for their decorative features, are meant to be used sparingly and in bigger sizes, they are illegible otherwise. Text faces are great for extensive amounts of readable copy, they commonly sport a conservative no-frills look.

The greatest honour any type could achieve is to have its face loved and recognized by people. We realize that not all of us were crafted in an equally beautiful way — some of us turned to be a classic work of art, while others are simply tools to express one’s thoughts or communicate a message. The biggest fear of every type is to be used in ways that we were not intended for or abused to the point of being hated.

Sixteen of us finally got together with a plea to give us a break and forget about our existence for the next 25 years or so. Please give us a chance to get back our merits, we don’t want to be a typographic failure. There are so many other wonderful types (and not only the commercial ones) that would bring more sense and beauty to your designs, fliers, documents; the typefaces no one gets fired for using, fonts that will last you a lifetime. It is our hope that more people will write letters to those in charge at Microsoft, Apple and Adobe requesting to add more fonts (such as Adobe Caslon Pro, Adobe Jenson Pro, Franklin Gothic, Frutiger, Futura, Gill Sans, Helvetica Neue, Univers and Warnock Pro) to the core system.

So next time you see any of our 16 faces in your software’s fonts list, skip it and experiment with another, find a more suitable type for your specific project needs. In the end you’ll thank us for that.

1. COMIC SANS — don’t take me seriously, please

comicsansThe only reason I was created by Vincent Connare was to replace the use of Times New Roman in Microsoft’s comic software called Microsoft Bob. I was never supposed to show my face in places other than comics and speech bubbles. I was never intended to be used in official documents nor am I close to looking like kids handwriting. And even though I’m flattered that Apple liked me so much that released my clone, I never dreamed of making the list of the default system fonts on all computers.

2. TIMES NEW ROMAN — don’t kill my timeless look

timesnewromanI curse the day when I became the default font in all Microsoft applications. I wonder how did I get this “honour” from Bill, considering the fact that I’ve never been fond of him myself. The only hope I have left is that people will realize there are other fonts at their service, all they need to do is to scroll down that fonts list.

3. HELVETICA — I’m so tired to be the IT font

helveticaSome designers are praising me and dedicating films, others hate for being“spaced tightly”, but most agree that I’ve become a safe font that is heavily overused. Please, understand that you can’t always rely on me to illustrate and deliver your every message. I’m not perfect for everyone and every occasion.

4. BRUSH SCRIPT MT — I can’t turn you into an artist

brushscriptI know you love me, with a passion that even my creator, Robert E. Smith, could’ve not envisioned back in 1942. But please, don’t use me every time you need to show off your artistic side in ads and posters. Take a look at my fellow types — Feel ScriptSarah ScriptMetro Script. Why should they enjoy a tranquil life while I do all the hard work? Oh, and please, don’t use me in ALL CAPS, I get very ugly when I have to scream.

5. PAPYRUS — I’m in the middle of the Hate and Heart war

papyrusHey, how about this font—it looks interesting? And so they choose me. I know I’m everywhere – from a local coffee shop to war posters. Even my creator,Chris Costello, wishes he had a disclaimer attached to me: “May be habit forming. Not responsible for overdose or inappropriate use of this product.”

6. CURLZ MT — I’m too cute to handle too much text

curlzIn 1995 Steve MattesonCarl Crossgrove designed me to “look like bent, twisted metal” and to be used for “carefree titles”, menus and greeting cards. Beyond that I’m too ornate to deliver a legible message and too whimsical to represent businesses. I know my limitations, one of them being the fact that I’m not the Audrey Hepburn type.

7. KRISTEN ITC — I wasn’t meant to be your average type

kristenI was designed by George Ryan in 1995, who described me as “not your average text or display font” that was inspired by a handwritten restaurant menu. Now I became just your average “kids” font forteachers and scrapbooking, and just about everything else when Comic Sans needs a break.

8. ZAPF CHANCERY — I don’t want to be revived anymore

zapfDesigned in 1979 by Hermann Zapf and based on chancery handwriting of the Italian Renaissance era, I usually pick upwhere other scripts fail, and more often than not in All-Caps or Italic. I’m tired of seeing my distorted face, please let me rest in peace.

9. TRAJAN — I hate Hollywood movies

trajanYes, I have a rich history, being one of the first original display faces for Adobe, thanks to talented Carol Twombly. But I bet that even she could not have predicted that the movie industry designers would become so obsessed with me.

10. BRADLEY HAND ITC — do I really look like your handwriting?

bradleyWhy so many people are infatuated withRichard Bradley‘s handwriting is beyond me. Indeed, I was designed to bring a personal touch to digital correspondence, but when everyone’s handwriting looks the same I stop being personal, don’t I?

11. IMPACT — Closer to a collision nowadays

impactDesigned by Geoffrey Lee in 1965 with the intention to make an “impact” with a strong statement. However, often I can be overwhelming and overshadow all your other messages, and I should never be used for body text. Keep in mind that the more people use me to make an impact the less effect I will have on the reader as a result.

12. ALGERIAN — help, I’m burning in hell

algerianI was created by Phillip Kelly in 1988, aimed to embellish “any work which suggests the Victorian era”. Want to guess what actually happened? You can see me everywhere from restaurants to sports to movie credits, and lots of examples in Flickr’s pool — Algerian Font, a burning hate.

13. COOPER BLACK — I came to you from the past

cooperStorefronts favour me a lot. It’s not surprising though, I look good with the flowing “outer contours”, but after seeing myself on so many signs, I get very dizzy. I wonder how Oswald Cooper, who designed me in 1921, would’ve characterized my purpose?

14. MONOTYPE CORSIVA — adding sparkle, but can get too shiny

monotypeDesigner Patricia Saunders has designed me primarily for use as initial letters, not for displaying an entire poem. As suggests: “Monotype Corsiva can be used for short text passages in advertising but is best used to add sparkle to invitations, greetings cards and menus and to give a sense of occasion to certificates and awards.”

15. VIVALDI — inviting you and the rest of the world

vivaldiI was designed by Friedrich Peter in 1994, and I am ideal for invitations, certificates. I am definitely not a text font, and should be used sparingly, not everyone can read me my intricate letters especially the caps. Oh, and I never thought that I’ll be a popular font choice for tattoos.

16. COPPERPLATE GOTHIC — a peculiar impact

copperplateI was designed by Frederic W. Goudy in 1900s. Because of my looks – wide, no lowercase, only small caps, and quirky tiny serifs – some designers find me challenging to work with, while others use me almost every time they get a chance and almost always inappropriately.

More Type debates and obituaries

There are myriads of type-related debates on the Web, which often get so heated you can feel the tension in the air. There are those who attack and wish to see as dead, there are others who defend, though in the end it’s clear to both sides that some typefaces are severely abused:


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