7 common fonts and a little bit about them

If you’ve ever had to select a font you would know how seemingly endless the list is before you. Searching through thousands of fonts can be quite an overwhelming process - trust us, we know. As designers though, we find it very interesting to look through fonts and appreciate the slight differences and nuances that each one may have. And we enjoy finding that exact one that fits the brief. That’s why we highly suggest getting a designer to help you.

The evolution of typography, typefaces and fonts can be traced back centuries...well before the digital age. Many of you are now familiar with the variety of fonts available thanks to technology changes and software programs such as Adobe InDesign, Microsoft Office and Google Docs becoming more accessible. In fact, technology has heavily influenced trends in fonts. For example, in 2007 Microsoft changed its default font in Word from Times New Roman to Calibri and now Times New Roman seems quite dated.

Have you ever wondered why fonts came about and what the history of them is? Here’s a little background about 7 of the most commonly known fonts.  

1. Arial - this font was originally designed for IBM under the name of Sonoran Sans Serif in 1982. However, it was a decade later when Microsoft chose Arial to be one of the four core TrueType fonts in Windows 3.1 that Arial became more commonly available.

2. Garamond - estimated to date back around 1530 in France making it one of the oldest typefaces still in existence and is believed to be the most prominent font in French book publishing.

3. Times New Roman - the creation of this font shows that sometimes voicing an opinion or problem can open the door for you to help find the solution. That was the case for Stanley Morison, who in 1931 was asked to create a new font after he said that The Times newspaper used badly designed typefaces.

4. Futura - created in 1927 is the first font to make it to the moon, as it was used on a plaque left by the Apollo 11 astronauts.

5. Comic Sans - a very relaxed font that was created for Microsoft in 1994. It’s a font that has been often been ridiculed for its misuse for very important occasions or documents. Our tip - is not to use it for resumes or legal documents.

6. Courier - a font commissioned by IBM in 1955, but one that they chose not to trademark and it remains royalty free. It is also the font of choice for many screenplay writers and for many computer programs.

7. Helvetica - created in 1957, this font aimed to work well on signage where a neutral font was needed. It is claimed by many to be the most seen font in the world due its wide use.

Sans serif vs Serif

You’ll often hear the terms serif and sans serif when it comes to fonts. A sans serif typeface is one that does not have the small lines called serifs at the end of strokes. Examples include Arial and Helvetica.

A serif font is a font that does have the small lines serifs at the end. Examples include Times New Roman.

Pop Culture references

Kylie and Towa Tei - German Bold Italic

Summary

There really are thousands of fonts to choose from and more seem to come about every week. We can help you choose the right one for the right reason.

Do you have a favourite or least favourite font? It would be great to hear from you.