Posts Tagged ‘typography’


There’s no algorithm that the human eye can’t best.Alec Julien

Five Fonts Designers Should Stop Using

I am a huge fan of good typography. That being said, there are very few typefaces that I really love. And there are a few widely-used fonts that I just can’t stand.

Sure, there are lists out there decrying the use of Comic Sans and Papyrus. That goes without saying by now, right? This isn’t that type of list. This is a list of fonts that are otherwise perfectly acceptable by most designers. In fact, most people who read this list will think I’m crazy or just don’t know anything about typography.

I’m not advocating that these fonts be completely uninstalled from all computers. Non-designers should feel free to mess around and use these fonts if they like. But designers can do better. Without further ado, let the countdown begin:

5. Futura

Ok, everyone can stop yelling at me now. Let me explain. Yes, I can’t stand Futura. Sure, it looks great in diagrams and charts from old biology books from the 60s. But it is old and tired. There are much better choices for us now.

Recommended alternatives: Helvetica, Myriad, Frutiger

4. Trajan

This typeface should be reserved only for use in epic blockbuster movie titling. Maybe the reason I don’t like Trajan is because I also hate the use of small caps. Again, there are simply better choices out there.

Recommended alternatives: Garamond, Goudy

3. Avant Garde

Another tired font that perhaps was once a great choice, but is now tired and over-used. According to Wikipedia, the term avant garde is French and “refers to people or works that are experimental or innovative, particularly with respect to art, culture, and politics.” That’s why we should stop using it. If we select this font, we’re going out of our way to be perceived as “innovative”. Let’s put an end to that nonsense.

Recommended alternatives: Helvetica, Gothan, Din, anything else really

2. Lobster

We can all thank the Google Font Directory for this one. This font just screams “cliche” to me — in a really loud and annoying voice. Perhaps if you are making a logo for a restaurant, that may be the only acceptable use. I don’t know, if you have a business that actually does involve lobsters, then maybe you can get away with this, but otherwise steer clear.

Recommended alternatives: Fan Script, Candy Script, Bello

1. Gill Sans

This is most likely the worst of the bunch. The only problem is I don’t really have a good reason for disliking this font. But I just can’t stand it. I have uninstalled it from my computer due to its offensiveness. Doing a Google search just now to look at some examples just makes me angry. Its so wrong in so many ways, I can’t even begin to describe what I don’t like about it. Typography kryptonite for sure.

Recommended alternatives: Helvetica, Gotham, Trebuchet, Museo, Facit, Din … heck, even Arial is better!

What is Good Design?

Someone asked me the other day what the difference was between my work (or someone like me) and a high school student that is dabbling in web design. Questions like this frustrate me at first, but upon further thought I welcome them as an opportunity to educate people about what I do. As I thought about the answer, the first thing I thought of was “the ability to avoid cheesy design”.
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