my favourite typefaces

Here’s my list of favourite typefaces. Not the ones I use most, but the ones I love because they have influenced me or because I wish I had designed them.

1. Reklameschrift Block; the staple diet of pre-war jobbing printing in Germany, and the one typeface I had from 8pt through to 96pt (plus larger sizes in wood type) in my metal typeshop (which burnt down in 1977). I redrew some of the versions for Berthold in the 70s, making Block Halbfett into Berliner Grotesk Medium.

2. Akzidenz Grotesk Mager. The first font i bought from the Berthold foundry as brand new type; 8pt, half a minimum, which meant about 8 a, 9e, 2c, etc. 3.5kg of type which cost me half a month’s wages, except as a freelancer, I didn’t earn any.

3. Concorde. The first typeface whose design process (in 1968) i followed. GGL’s answer to Times, and much better.
4. FF Clifford by Akira Kobayashi (now type director at Linotype). Amazing book face by a Japanese designer. Not a revival, but in the baroque tradition. Only regular weight, but for 3 sizes plus great Italics and Small Caps. Try it!

5. Arnhem by Fred Smeijers (great website). Love it for newspapers, magazines, etc. Not so keen on the headline weights, they look too Dutch for my use (perhaps too Ungerish, but then Fred is also from Arnhem). But the text weights are a superb modern interpretation of a legible serif with an edge.

In real life, however, I use my own faces ( mainly Meta, Officina and Unit – I don’t have to pay for them) and corporate type like Frutiger, FF Transit, News Gothic, Minion (very versatile), Univers, Myriad et al and even Helvetica (for DB, the German railways, but that’s going to change).