So many good webfonts!

Why limit yourself to just the same few over and over?

The other day, an article was posted on A List Apart entitled “The Rich (Typefaces) Get Richer” (thanks Roel for showing me). I’m too much of a Sozialdemokrat to want this to happen, and a proponent of fitting font diversity. Here is a small, subjective crop of suggestions, 10 each, off the top of my head that I would love to see more on the web, and some I wish would be used less, or never again.
Let’s use more

Sans (alphabetical order)
Alright Sans
Brando Sans
Karmina Sans
Marat Sans

Benton Modern (available in many optical sizes)
Elena (I forsee a huge jump in popularity soon though)
Harriet (available in optical sizes)
Ibis (available in optical sizes)
Input (serif, sans and monospaced)
Tiempos (available in optical sizes)

I’m tired of

Open Sans
FF Mark
Proxima Nova
Brandon Grotesque
FF Tisa

and all the other geometric sans-serifs and “wonky” statement grots. We need a geometric-sans-pause for at least 15 years! And please don’t use these super light styles. They are so tedious to read.

Where do you find good webfonts? That’s tricky. I could say: at any of the many wonderful type foundries and suppliers but they all have their own websites, so you have to do some broad browsing. A good starting point is for a large selection of independent foundries, or digging a bit deeper on Both Fontstand and Typekit have extensive filtering systems to narrow down your choices. (Check “Paragraph” on Typekit to get the better hinted fonts). Even the Google directory includes some good open source ones now. Sort by “Date added” and not the default “Popularity” or “Trending”. The newer commissioned (multi-script) typefaces are of much better quality than the early releases. You could also browse or for inspiration among the less commonly used fonts on there.

Type foundries whos catalogs I like for various reasons and products (creativity, affordability, craziness, craft …) are, among others (in alphabetical order): Bold Monday, Bestsellers, Cast, Commercial Type, Darden Studio, Font Bureau, Frere-Jones Type, Indian Type Foundry, Just Another Foundry, Klim Type Foundry, Kontour, Letterror, Ludwig Type, Mickel Type, Oh No Type, Ourtype, Okay Type, Process Type, Production Type, Rosetta, Storm Type Foundry, Suitcase Type Foundry, Type Together, Typotheque & Typonine. Go look around and beyond the safe bets of popular typefaces that are everywhere. Be more daring in your choices and combinations, but don’t compromise when it comes to rendering on screen! Only choose fonts and styles that render well in the environment and size you use them.

  • Yes, I’d have many more myself. This is a first list I typed on my phone, and I thought keeping it to 10 makes it more comparable to the Typewolf best-of list. I’ll add more, and maybe more thematically or stylistically grouped, shortly.

  • Hi! I’ve been a fan of your writing/research for a while now. As a layperson, it’s difficult to judge how a webfont might read across devices/screens (unless it has a set of optical sizes, of course).

    I know that you love, as I do, the superelliptical serif. Zapf Book is my favorite but I can’t determine whether or not the digitiization would make for a good webfont at text sizes (and don’t have the budget to experiment). Do you have any thoughts on this?

  • That’s a good question. I didn’t try Zapf Book on any website yet. I only have a phone on me right now but the standard web font by Monotype as I see it on MyFonts seems a bit tightly spaced for text sizes. (Which maybe is offsettable by adding some css tracking.) Maybe you can check out this page on the computer of your choice? It will probably just have auto-hinting though

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