Excellent but seldom used fonts

Yehan's picture

I'm sure we all have certain typefaces we know are really brilliant but somehow they never seem to get the exposure or publicity the rightfully deserve as examples of great type design.

One of those for me is ITC Mendoza. I very rarely see it but it seems to me that it's a really lovely typeface.

Anyone else knows fonts like this?

(granted, this is all personal opinion)


kentlew's picture

> Joshua Darden’s Freight

Freight's a fine face, but hardly what I would call "seldom used" since it's used all over a few prominent magazines. Better Homes and Gardens comes immediately to mind. The other titles escape me at the moment.

SuperUltraFabulous's picture

Macworld is another one that uses Freight

jayar's picture

Yehan: it was a long time ago that I did this, can’t remember exactly. It may be that I opened the file in Fontographer, the oldstyle figures were in there and I just copied and pasted them into the normal positions (I have done this with a few faces). When I open the font now in FontLab, though, they aren't there. I also don't remember where the small caps came from – if I find them, that may be where the OS figures came from. A little detective work is apparently in order. I’ll get right on it.

quadibloc's picture

Corgi Books used Plantin to set some of the pocket book versions of T. Lobsang Rampa's output.

One typeface discussed here that is rarely used and which deserves more use is Emerson but then the only revival now available has short descenders.

hrant's picture

Our Ben Mitchell might have something to say about that...


quadibloc's picture

Just took a look at Silica.

Yes, it has enough weights that one could use an intermediate bold instead of italics. Doing so still limits flexibility in choosing which weight to use for normal text, though: if this is what is intended, it should have had twice as many weights as it does.

Also, I do have to admit that the design does not seem well suited to a companion italic. However, there are many quite similar typefaces out there which have italics, so I suspect that it isn't that badly suited to one.

If there's a more faithful revival of Emerson out there now, that's really good news.

hrant's picture

I love Silica for its lack of Italic.
I was disappointed to hear that Stone would actually like it to have one:


quadibloc's picture

Well, his comments there at least indicate that he is in no rush to add an italic, and intends to make sure that a companion italic is suitable before adding one.

tmac's picture

Since this thread has come back up, and since typophile is working, I'm going to throw this in:


Newut may be the first typeface I ever licensed (apart from through other software). I like the uniformity of the grey blocks you can make out of it. And it reads well for a unicase.

Bendy's picture

Thanks, Hrant for pointing me to this thread. I've been working on an Emerson project for the last couple of years, and I'm taking a very broad approach, digging up lots of interesting history, pattern drawings and correspondence, reading about Blumenthal and comparing the foundry type with the Monotype conversion. I've settled on my approach, but progress is slow as I have plenty of other projects on the go, but here's a sneak peek. There's still a need to even out the colour but this shows the overall proportions, weight and styling I'm aiming for. There are some interesting unpublished italics which I intend to revive too, along with bold and possibly other weights.

I'm interested in the comment about the long extenders; are you referring to the Nonpareil revival?

Martin Silvertant's picture

I don't see typefaces by TEFF often (some exceptions), though with good reasons. I love Ruse for example but the only time I've seen it is in Noordzij's "The Stroke". I don't think I've ever seen Geronimo in use. Trinité I see a couple of times per week because there's a little book store in Rotterdam called "Boekhandel v/h Van Gennep" which features its name in Trinité on the window.

quadibloc's picture

I've seen Melior and Plantin often enough not to think of them as particularly rare. Aldus, the "book" version of Palatino, on the other hand, seems to turn up only in books typeset in Europe, particularly in German-speaking areas, so I would put it at the borderline of this category.

But there are many excellent typefaces that truly are almost never used - they probably number in the hundreds, if not thousands.

Despite the fact that Sturgeon's Law also applies to typefaces, and poor ones vastly outnumber excellent ones. Actually, despite that in one way - if poor typefaces outnumber excellent ones so much, how can so many excellent ones exist - but because of that in another - since so many inferior typefaces exist, sifting through them to find good ones is arduous, so it's simpler to rely on a "gatekeeper", and only consider the most popular typefaces from the biggest font suppliers.

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