The Best Type Designer

hawk's picture

Ok. I like the "what's your poison". and "what's your desk, studio etc look like?".....

....and now:

Who's The Best Type Designer?

(well...you can list 3....but only 3)




:-)


David Hamuel

hrant's picture

Alive? Matthew Carter, Gerard Unger. (For about the same reasons.)
Dead or Alive? Granjon, Gill. (For very different reasons.)

hhp

hawk's picture

Alive, alive. not dead.


David Hamuel







rs_donsata's picture

Adrian Frutiger, Matthew Carter and JFP (altough i have never used one of your type faces dude)

Hildebrant's picture

Mathew Carter is definately at the top of my list. Not to mention he is just the coolest guy. I had a chance to talk with him on the phone once, and he was very humble and helpful.

Thats enough to get my vote. Aside from Mantinia, one of my favorite faces.

hildebrant.

jfp's picture

Trajan* and Charlemagne* who give us a fabulous opportunity to borrow their design for couple of thousand years of history.

*under theses symbolic names, indeed the individuals who have done the Trajan Inscription and Carolingian minuscule.

William Berkson's picture

Among living designers, Hermann Zapf has to be at or near the top - Palatino (and the text version Aldus) as well as Optima I think have a permanent place in the cannon of great typefaces.

William Berkson's picture

On Palatino, in checking I don't seem to find the beautiful light titling (all caps) version, Michelangelo in digital. I see only the heavier titling version, Sistina. Does anyone know about this?

lars's picture

carter, unger, gill, frutiger ... agree,
oops, should be only 3, so i would take:

lucas de groot, unger, frutiger

porky's picture

In no particular order, Matthew Carter, Jean-Francois Porchez, and Jonathan Hoefler.

I'd say Eric Gill, but he's dead.

I dream of one day affording Sabon Next, and having a design project that truly deserves it.

nike's picture

maybe he's a one hit wonder but I love the corporate faces from kurt weidemann.
the other's, i agree with david, are jfp and hoefler.

plainclothes's picture

"I dream of one day affording Sabon Next, and having a
design project that truly deserves it."

join the club! I'm hoping they break up the set so I can
buy just what I need -- it'll get me that much closer to
justifying the cost.

defrancisco's picture

Of course: Carter - Hoefler - JFP - Frutiger

But also: Christian Schwartz, Hubert Jocham, Frantisek Storm, Eric Olson, Peter Bruhn,...

daniel_g's picture

I like the types of lucas de groot and erik spiekermann!

John Hudson's picture

At TypeCon, Bruno Steinert announced that Zapf was working with Linotype on a new version of Palatino that would include a titling set based on Michelangelo.

gerald_giampa's picture

It is easier speaking highly of those that are dead. Not so easy if they still live.

However this man will outlive me so I had better speak while I still can. I am sticking to my previous opinion.

http://www.lanstontype.com/JimRimmer.html

He never admits to it, but Jim Rimmer has designed, and "cut a typeface for metal" in 8 days. He will draw circles around anyone I have ever met, or you have ever met.

Don't mistake "speed for sloppy". This man is an acrobat with a pencil. At one time I thought he should be forced to design with his right hand (he is left handed) until I found out it would make little difference.

Every type designer, so far mentioned, would kill for Jim's gifts.

Gerald Giampa

lettertiep's picture

Bram de Does
for designing the most fantastic of serifed typefaces
...

union's picture

I am affraid mine change quite often. But these guys are always great favorites of mine.

The foundry (UK) for : Foundry Sans, Foundry Form

Peter Bruhn : Ketchupa + his foundry rocks

Peter Bilak : Fedra Sans

hugocristo's picture

Two groups here:
- Gerard Unger, Mathew Carter, JFP
- Christian Schwartz, Frere-Jones, Hoefler

And I also admire Rub

Thomas Phinney's picture

Hermann Zapf, Robert Slimbach, Matthew Carter, JFP, Hoefler, Twombly.

Thomas Phinney's picture

More the other way around! I came to work at Adobe in large part because I loved the work that was being done here. Carol Twombly quit doing type design several years back, btw. I'm still a little bummed about that.

T

jfp's picture

"I'm still a little bummed about that."

your not alone!

skyrocket's picture

I must admit to liking the stuff from Rian Hughes from Device Fonts. Also, I have to mention Harry Pears (he designed Lindisfarne Nova) because I know him personally!

Nick Shinn's picture

Being someone who admires versatitlity and originality, I would have to say Zuzana Licko. Further, Emigre--the foundry and the publication--are to be reckoned with.

However, if, as she would say, it is an art form, then type design is too personal to have a "best".

Actually, I like my own work best, particularly whatever I'm working on at the moment. But I have no idea whether it's good or bad. As an art director, I can never be sure whether one of my faces is suitable for a piece -- unless I've seen someone else use it successfully in similar circumstances.

Does anyone else have a similar experience?

John Hudson's picture

After a typeface is finished, I tend to treat it exactly the same way as the other fonts on my computer: I look at it critically and decide whether it is good for a given task. The fact that I made it doesn't really enter into the equation, except insofar as it might give me a better idea of how well it will stand up to particular media.

There are times, late at night, when the lowercase g comes out just right -- clicking into place like a box being shut, to borrow TS Eliot's description of when a poet knows that he has written a good poem -- when I feel I'm the best type designer in the world: or at least the best one awake in my time zone. The feeling seldom lasts until morning.

johnbutler's picture

As much as this exercise annoys me, I wish people in the English-speaking world would stop overlooking Günter Gerhard Lange.

Thomas Phinney's picture

I have great respect for Lange's work, and I'd be pretty thrilled to be as good a type designer as he is. However, I don't think he's done work as innovative as most of the people on my list.

Still, I wonder if some of us may be partly influenced by the Berthold's legal activities and the decreased availability of Berthold fonts from its former cross-licensors. (About which I can't say much more, due to legal considerations.) Certainly for me, the fact that I can no longer use any of those fonts decreases the degree to which I think about them.

T

keith_tam's picture

My heros: Gerard Unger, Matthew Carter.

The newer generation: Johnathan Hoefler, Tobias Frere-Jones, Jean-Fran

keith_tam's picture

Tom, could you fill me in on what's going on for Berthold's licensing? We can no longer use any of Berthold's fonts?! Is that true? I have Berthold's Baskerville...

jfp's picture

"My heros..." then "I like a lot of different typefaces, and I love how diverse the type design community is. Everyone has their own voice and their own approach and idiosyncrasies."

Keith: I like your definition. It describe well today world of type. Its like music, painting or litterature where its hard to live with only one.

Thomas Phinney's picture

Keith: No, I was just referring to the fact that Adobe (and Agfa Monotype and Linotype) no longer carry Berthold fonts. So they are no longer part of the Adobe Type Library and I don't have free access to them for internal use.

Although I do still buy the occasional font, it's relatively uncommon since Adobe's library and my previous purchases make a pretty large collection.

Fwiw, I think the two Berthold families I miss most are Imago and Nofret.

T

hrant's picture

> I don't have free access to them for internal use.

But you used to have them, so I think you might still be able to use them legally.
Reselling them is another matter.

BTW, I would miss Laudatio the most.

hhp

keith_tam's picture

BTW, I would miss Laudatio the most.

Funny you should say that. I got Poppl Laudatio free when I bought Adobe Type On Call 5 or 6 years ago... the entire family including the condensed. I've always liked Laudatio, but I don't think I've ever had the occasion to use it except once, and I forgot what it was for. It's one of those neglected typefaces. I don't think I've ever seen it used much. Poppl is a brilliant calligrapher, and also quite a good type designer. Poppl Pontifex is another neglected design that's quite exquisite. It's kind of in the manner of Plantin: an elegant yet sturdy workhorse.

What do you think of Fredrich Poppl?

hrant's picture

I got Laudatio for free too - that's probably why I started using it.
But my laudation :-) of it over the years has hopefully caused others to actually buy it.
That's how type really sells these days - exposure.

> Poppl is ... quite a good type designer.

He was (was) more than good. Unlike most chirographic type designers, he knew what type needs to be. Pontifex is great too.

And another thing about Poppl: he sure knew how to name his fonts.

There's a great article about him, written by his widow, in an issue of Baseline.

hhp

keith_tam's picture

There's a great article about him, written by his widow, in an issue of Baseline.

Which issue?

hrant's picture

Number 31, pages 37-44. You want a copy? Ground address please.

BTW, what does your icon say?

hhp

keith_tam's picture

Number 31, pages 37-44. You want a copy? Ground address please.

?! Are you serious?

BTW, what does your icon say?

It's just my name. The first character is my surname, Tam (or tan in Mandarin), which is an ancient character meaning speech. Second character, Chi (zhi), means wisdom. Third character Hang (heng) means perserverence, or perpetuality.

As for the circled character, I don't actually know what it is. It's probably a mark of authenticity, or even denotes something as a registered trademark. I remember seeing it as a kid, but it's obsolete now. Though it's still part of the standard Chinese character set. The character is 'jing' (zheng in Mandarin) meaning square, authentic, or proper, or in colloquil Cantonese, something to the effect of 'nice', 'marvelleous'... it's a funny symbol!

hrant's picture

> Are you serious?

I mail stuff to people all the time.
But I meant just a b&w photocopy, not the whole magazine or anything!

> registered trademark

Funny, that's exactly what it looked like to me.

hhp

keith_tam's picture

But I meant just a b&w photocopy, not the whole magazine or anything!

Oh, huh. :-P
Thanks anyway! I think it would be quite simple for me to find it at the school library. We have all the back issues of Baseline there.

hrant's picture

> We have all the back issues of Baseline there.

You have them from before #10?

hhp

keith_tam's picture

You have them from before #10?

I believe so. I think we have every issue there. I'll check. If I can't find I'd need you to give me a hand....

hrant's picture

And if you have the pre-#10 stuff be sure to let me know, eh? :->

hhp

Bald Condensed's picture

This is a kinda silly exercise. There are no three
greatest, there's at least a dozen, and all for
very different reasons. I'm not picking anyone;
sorry to be such a spoilsport.

Bald Condensed's picture

> Among living designers, Hermann Zapf has to be at
or near the top

For example, I really don't like Herman Zapf's signature
curves very much*, and some typographers would burn me
at the stake for including Zuzana Licko in my "Dirty Dozen".

anonymous's picture

Michelangelo is available from Berthold.
http://www.bertholdtypes.com/bq_library/090172000.html

Stephen Coles's picture

Haha, way to throw in a couple from your home team, Thomas.
(This boy knows how to keep his job.)

Miss Tiffany's picture

I have to make it publicly known that I've thought about this and have decided that I cannot decide. I love type ... full stop. Therefore, I cannot choose and you cannot make me.

:-)

Whew.

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