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Thread: "We have too many fonts?"

  1. #1

    "We have too many fonts?"


    I came across this quote by Massimo Vignelli the other day and wondered what other designers opinions were.

    "We have too many fonts"

    Vignelli was a strong believer of designers only having a small box of typefaces and that no matter what the project they should only use these and not venture out into using elaborative illustrative ones, that will never have the "timeless" effect that design should have.

    As a student studying an MA in graphic design it would be good to see other people's opinions. For me I believe that new "classics" would need to be created in an ever growing digital age. But with so many typefaces being created everyday to try and satisfy design problems to give themselves an unique edge, does using a limited type palette actually accentuate design, by being able to stand out from the illustrative and one purpose fonts?

    Thanks for being part of the discussion


  2. #2

    "We have too many fonts?"

    We don't have too many fonts, we just have a lot of choice. It's how we use those fonts that's important.

    I believe you should pick and choose a selection of fonts that work for different situations and build your own 'font toolbox'. This way you'll know which of your fonts to use for a certain effect, just like how a mechanic or joiner know which of their tools are best for certain situations.

  3. #3

    "We have too many fonts?"

    Of course there are those times that you'll hammer a screw in just to get by :P

  4. #4

    "We have too many fonts?"

    If I'm dangerously honest, I'm not really blown away by what I've seen of Vignelli (which is probably just the best-known stuff, I expect - I'm not really much of a student of the prominent designers). As a body of work, while it's clearly sticking to some solid, basic principles, it's all a bit austere for me, lacks range, and smacks a little too much of the bloody-mindedness that's often associated with the designer's personality (I think this is evident in his disparaging comments after American Airlines commissioned a new logo to replace the frankly bloody awful one he'd designed for them some 25 years earlier). Something like Helvetica - apparently one of his firm favourites - is a dependable font for sure but it's not moving anything forwards: still popular, still widespread but I think people are starting to regard it as a bit retro now (although, having never really fallen out of favour, I'm not quite sure where I get this impression from).

    Simplicity and familiarity in typography is quick and easy to come by and it's difficult to argue against the classic 'go-to' fonts. To take Helvetica as an example, it's a hard font to misuse but it's an easy one to overuse. Are there too many fonts? There are certainly too manybad fonts in circulation but there's also an abundance of well-constructed typefaces, all of which have their place. 'Timelessness', in any case, isn't always the thing to aim for.

  5. #5

    "We have too many fonts?"

    We've got only the one font - actually it's more of a water feature to be honest.

  6. #6
    How would you approach selecting a typeface to use?

    Out of the past projects worked on how many different typefaces do you think you have used in total?

    What is your "go to" typeface/s and why this choice?

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