What is the most average typeface ever?

dezcom's picture

The most average typeface ever would have no strong or weak points but just kind of sit there without pleasing or annoying a single soul.


blank's picture

In the US and Western Europe, I think Kai Bernau’s Neutral probably fits the bill, but that was sort of the point. Less blatantly, nobody really ever gripes or gushes over Adobe Caslon, but it gets used constantly.

David Sudweeks's picture


SuperUltraFabulous's picture

Briem Operina

SuperUltraFabulous's picture

I second Palatino too.

Dan Gayle's picture

Lucida anything.

satya's picture


David Rault's picture

In france, within books, garamond.

SuperUltraFabulous's picture

Also Stone Sans. So average, so neutral.

Steve Tiano's picture

I’d have to second Adobe Garamond—tho’ I am in the U.S.—as a fairly ubiquitous font. However, I’ve mostly heard really good things about it. Perhaps another type better fits the bill. One that I’ve used very often in projects I have not designed but have worked on as the layout artist on groups of projects years apart, and for different clients, is New Baskerville.

Maxim Zhukov's picture

I thought that was Century Schoolbook, just ‘sitting there without pleasing or annoying a single soul’.

satya's picture


SuperUltraFabulous's picture

But I love Century... ;-)

russellm's picture

is being most average a good thing?

Is it something that just about everbody is going to reach for when they need to make a party invite? Is "average" to typeface like Trabant was to car in the GDR?


Si_Daniels's picture


Dan Gayle's picture

Since we have to bash Mr. Connare for the most hated font (not really), we need to find out who has created the most average font, or the person who has created the largest number of average fonts.

To really stir the pot, I vote Morris Fuller Benton, the king of boring average workhorses.

ryanholmes's picture

Bookman and New Century Schoolbook--both being members of the original Laserwriter 35 typefaces, they are widely distributed and well-known. Both are legible, but few would ever choose either as the first typeface that comes to mind for ANY job. Yet, if used, it's a perfectly AVERAGE and adequate choice.

Because Bookman has a bit too much individual flair, I'll vote for the latter.

writingdesigning's picture

"...just kind of sit there without pleasing or annoying a single soul"

Wouldn't that make it that typographic ideal: invisible?

David Rault's picture

Accrdoing to dan gayle's statement, i then would have to say that the most average typeface is either arial or times, because of their windowesque worldwide spread?


faraqat's picture

When i read this question i tought not about a neutral type, instead i elected the one i believe is above all the neutral types, but not good enough to be "the one". Guess for me average means the best type for general use, and for me it is Agro Sans - simple, white and beautyfully versatile.

Florian Hardwig's picture

Depends. Book, newspaper, screen, signage, advertising, …?
What book; encyclopaedia, novel, manual, schoolbook …?

This question is way too broad, the answers prove that. Mike won’t wanna read thru Typophile if all copy was 10px Operina. And I want to see Satya reading a newspaper entirely set in Eurostile – without getting heavily annoyed.

FeeltheKern's picture

Arial might be totally "average" or "invisible" on office documents, but in a context like a wedding invitation, 36 pt. Arial Bold would look pretty odd. The idea of what's invisible to type people and what's invisible to the average reader are two very different things -- Zapf Chancery would probably look great on a wedding invitation to the non-designer.

Dan Gayle's picture

I think some are missing the point. There are some very valid reasons for not liking Arial or whatever.

What about the types that are theoretically not bad, but never get used because they are just not it?

Bert Vanderveen's picture

The most average typeface? Must be 9pt.

. . .
Bert Vanderveen BNO

JCSalomon's picture

 The most average face? You’re reading it now. Georgia is the perfect ’net typeface: just sufficiently different from Times New Roman that it’s not become irritating in its ubiquitousness, yet simple enough to be invisible when used.


Gräfenberg's picture

I'm not sure if it really fulfils Chris's brief but the first thing I thought of was Helvetica.

It's just so invisible by now. With the wealth of good sans typefaces available to us now I can't help but find Helvetica too bland to use at any size where you can really see the letter shapes.

pattyfab's picture

Myriad. I don't even see it.

paul dean's picture

I'll go along with Helvetica, having just watched the movie three times. Averageness is definitely part of its appeal. . . .

FeeltheKern's picture

Average for type designers, or average for average readers? The average person is not going to be bothered by the micro-detailed problems in Arial. Whether or not these impact their reading speed and/or comprehension is an entirely different debate, but it's not going to be consciously noticed at least.

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