Font Finder
May 22, 2006 8:02 AM   Subscribe

What fonts/collections are essential to the web designing MeFites?

I've gotten a grant to spend on commercial fonts, and I'd love to hear what your favorite fonts. Two that I will be buying for sure: the Myriad Font Family and Nat Vignette.
posted by charmston to Computers & Internet (18 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: If I got money to buy random fonts, I'd get a sample of the ones I lust for at veer. I keep having to beg clients for font x or y from there. Especially the scripts! :)
posted by dabitch at 8:11 AM on May 22, 2006

Best answer: DIN


i'd also get the entire neue helvetica family whilst i'm at it
posted by derbs at 8:13 AM on May 22, 2006

I second the neue helvetica family.

the ultra-light version makes so many things look great.
posted by milarepa at 8:16 AM on May 22, 2006

I don't use special typefaces for web design. Essential fonts for web design are already built into the operating system, e.g.:

Sans serifs

• Lucida Sans (Mac OS X)
• Arial, Tahoma (Windows)
• Bitstream Vera Sans (Linux)


• Times New Roman (Mac OS X, Windows)
• Lucida Bright (Mac OS X)
• Georgia (Windows)
• Bitstream Vera Serif (Linux)
posted by Mr. Six at 8:17 AM on May 22, 2006

Web "designs" that depend for effect on font faces don't much impress, and are not even seen by lynx users. Many users of other browsers override all Web font tags with local style sheets of their own.

If you can spend the money on something more useful than fonts for Web design, I strongly suggest that you do. Personally my favorite font for Web sites is Courier New, followed closely by the ever popular TrueType Arial. Neither, of course render as such on the Linux machines I frequently use, or the BSD based machines I also use, or the Mac I sometimes still fire up, or through the proxies I use at many client sites.
posted by paulsc at 8:17 AM on May 22, 2006

Response by poster: Apologies, I should have clarified: these will not be used to be embedded into webpages (at least until CSS 3 is widely supported). They will be used for designing graphics that will be used on the web.
posted by charmston at 8:20 AM on May 22, 2006

What Mr. Six said. The current (web2.0ish) trend is to skip custom fonts and/or pixelated text (outside of a logo) and use system fonts for everything.

And isn't Myriad included in every install of Adobe Acrobat?
posted by jedrek at 8:22 AM on May 22, 2006

designing graphics that will be used on the web.
That's what I figured, hence the scripts at veer suggestion. They have some great stuff.

Also great for teeny buttons is the bitmap 04b and it won't cost you.
posted by dabitch at 8:48 AM on May 22, 2006

Depending on the look and feel of the website. I stick with the standard (what Mr. Six suggested) for standard reading. On flash/graphics based sites I get alittle crazy, so I use fonts alot of fonts from the rat fink font set. Take a look at serveral foundries at there to find a cool font set you may like. Here's alist of some suggested foundries to look at:

Good Luck!
posted by johnd101 at 9:08 AM on May 22, 2006

Fontfolio and Linotype Gold. You've got a grant; spend it all.
posted by beerbajay at 11:15 AM on May 22, 2006

Best answer: I can't believe people are trying to talk you out of using anything but system fonts! These people clearly do not have the love of typefaces in their bones like us true believers. (I myself have been a minor type geek since I was on my high school yearbook staff).

I can understand the argument for using a system font for body text, but foregoing the world's richness of fonts for headlines? Sacrilege!

I have an album at with some of the ones I like, and I think you can see it without logging in. This may give you some ideas: Beth's font album. I actually let this site email me periodic stuff about new fonts coming out, their "Rising Stars" newsletter, and I've found several really good ones that way.

Thanks for asking this question, this reminds me that I need to buy some that I've been putting off purchasing. I hope you find some good fonts - don't let the naysayers rain on your parade. A good typeface is a transcendent thing of beauty, and used in the right place at the right time, is a glory to behold.
posted by beth at 12:43 PM on May 22, 2006

I can't believe people are trying to talk you out of using anything but system fonts! These people clearly do not have the love of typefaces in their bones like us true believers. (I myself have been a minor type geek since I was on my high school yearbook staff).

Oh, I love typography. It just doesn't scale for the web without compromising on font selection. If you're doing a Flash app, use all the fonts in the world, but that's not really a web application...
posted by Mr. Six at 1:38 PM on May 22, 2006

Well, there are sort of two philosophies of web design, as is perfectly illustrated so far in this thread.

On the one hand, you have the people who came to web design from traditional design backgrounds. This sort of designer is arty, generally younger, and doesn't really care that somebody browsing with Lynx or Opera can't see their content, as these people account for almost nil market share. Often, these folk work in interactive or advertising agencies and share more in common with graphic designers than with C++ programmers.

On the other hand, you have the people who came to the web from traditional programming backgrounds. Pragmatic and precise, these folks are all about accessibility, standards compliance, and making their code as streamlined as possible. These folks frequently work in web application development or in IT.

It's not surprising at all that this latter sort suggests only using system fonts. I have a friend of this sort who doesn't even use tables or images because then that 1% of freakishly eccentric browsers out there would have holes in the page. There's a certain simple and elegant beauty (and sense!) in this school of thought... but if you want fonts, then don't look there for help.

So where does that leave us?

House Industries. Barring the Adobe Font Library, they have some of the most useful fonts out there. I don't think I could function without Chalet.

Others I use... let's see.... Univers, Avenir, Myriad, Interstate, Optima, Helvetica Neue...
posted by kaseijin at 1:47 PM on May 22, 2006

posted by Count Ziggurat at 6:37 PM on May 22, 2006

Best answer: Did any of the type nerds out there also receive Emigre's latest type catalog? I've always adored their quarterly mailings but The Little Book of Love Letters (a collection of type specimen love letters to the personifications of their OpenType faces) was so phenomenal I carry it around with me in my purse. It also was helpful in getting one of my designer friends laid.

I own licenses for these, and they're my favourites:
Mrs Eaves

I gotta buy some Emigre sans-serifs, or just get them as a birthday gift like Tribute.
posted by avocet at 9:45 PM on May 22, 2006

Would love to help. Easier to answer if we know what kind of websites you create.
posted by Typographica at 5:18 PM on May 23, 2006

Response by poster: I do some freelance web design, with a large variety of "styles." Usually professional/corporate websites, with an occasional web application. Also an odd print job or corporate identity. With this question I was looking to identify peoples' favorite large, expensive font families, such as the aforementioned Myriad, with lots of varieties (of different weights, spacing, etc.) that would have a wide variety of uses (translation: would be pleasing to the widest variety of clientelle).

Web purists, never fear: I too am an accessiblity whore.
posted by charmston at 5:31 AM on May 25, 2006

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