Recommendation for typeface (s) for a graduating student portfolio

bfingeroth's picture


I'm in the process of putting together my portfolio in preparation for graduating with a Graphic Design degree in May. Does anyone have suggestions regarding typefaces to use for the body text (to explain the work) for the PDF version I create which I will use to e-mail (if asked for in addition to website) potential employers?

I'm looking for an extremely legible screen font but that also has character. I don't need to worry about print too much because it would be a rare occurrence that someone would print it out. I've read that Proxima Nova is a great screen font, but I don't feel like it adds enough in the way of giving the presentation a personality. I've tried Gotham, and though its a great typeface I am not loving it in this context.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.


hrant's picture

What personality would you like to convey?


Martin Silvertant's picture

I think it's very unfortunate that graphic designers aren't properly being taught typography. I'm currently in my first year at the art academy again (initially in 2007) and there's barely any typography education to speak of, and what's still there is disappearing. It's even disappearing at the Royal Academy of Arts in The Hague, which has always been known for its typography courses along with the university of Reading.

I'm not insinuating your question is invalid though. I still ask the same questions despite having studied typography for years. I'm just saying type doesn't get the attention it deserves in the educational systems, and as such most graphic designers don't learn the value.

Are you looking for typefaces like Proxima Nova and Gotham or were these recommended? Incidentally I'm working on a custom typeface for a company that is currently using Proxima Nova for their presentations to clients but would like to replace it with my design. Proxima Nova works very well for them though.

As you mentioned Proxima Nova and Gotham I'm assuming you're looking for a clear, legible sans with a bit more character. Something like Alright Sans perhaps?

bfingeroth's picture

Hi Martin,

I agree in some ways. I've definitely learned the value of typography and it's being taught at my school (two levels before graduating), but just don't think I've been taught it thoroughly enough. I've had some great teachers and picked up a lot from their crits of mine and other students' work but they don't teach you fundamentals before sending you off to start working. Everything is just too based on crits and not enough on teachers doing their own presentations. There are some that will argue that you can learn the basics in a tutorial or in a book but then why am I paying all that money to go to school?

I looked at Proxima Nova because I was looking up what fonts are the easiest to read (since I'll have a version of my portfolio that is a PDF) and read an article that said it was one of the easiest. Gotham was just an instinctive choice. Alright Sans is a good suggestion! Thanks!

bfingeroth's picture

Not exactly sure yet. Serious and professional without feeling stuffy. And something with some elegance and character.

Martin Silvertant's picture

"There are some that will argue that you can learn the basics in a tutorial or in a book but then why am I paying all that money to go to school?"

This is actually what bothers me about the education system in most countries. Most of the things I know I came to know because I studied it myself. School provides an environment where you're being pushed to learn new things but I expect the teachers to present a lot more information than they do. Particularly typography is undervalued I think. This is partially evident by the fact that I know a lot more about typography than most of my teachers. I've had basic typography classes but I taught about 95% myself. I think I would much rather be someone's apprentice like the olden days and really specialise in something rather than the current educational system.

A few more suggestions: Corbert, Halis Grotesque and Guanabara Sans.

bfingeroth's picture

Thanks Martin!

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