In my nearly twenty years of design I've only once set type for a book
(unless you count museum/gallery catalogs as books) and that wasn't a book
in the sense of requiring sustained reading by serious thinkers so my list
will be quite unlike yours.
I use a lot of Franklin Gothic. I like its dry look. It's not pretty or
pretentious and doesn't get in the way of most things I want to do with
it. The Book weight is pleasantly awkward. The Demi bold has a strong
presence without calling attention to the letterforms. (I have the
I use a Gill Sans quite a bit although anything heavier than the Bold
weight has weird stroke widths and funny counters so I avoid them. The
straight line one and the heavy blob of the descender on the lower case g
are problems. (It's my default for letter writing.)
I like Bembo quite a bit although it hasn't happened to be the right
choice for a lot of my work.
I use Adobe Garamond quite a lot. It's handsome and has small caps and OS
figures and such but doesn't quite have the guts of Bembo; it can be too
delicate at times.
Speaking of "at times," I use Times a lot because I've recently done
quite a bit of design for the University of Minnesota Duluth and Times is
one of the "official" faces. While I find it a bit more bland than I would
like, it works quite well in larger sizes (like 200 point.)
I haven't used it habitually, but I like Syntax. It's clean, beautiful
but not cloying, and neither as bland as Helvetica nor as self conscious
as Gill Sans.
(Not exactly a book typographer's list.)
On Fri, 16 Jan 1998, Michael Brady wrote:
> I was looking over some old books and proofs we have done here, and I was struck
> by the fact that I really like Electra (we use Agfa's version Elante). So much
> so that I prefer it over practically every other serif face we have in our 300+
> library of fonts *for text setting in books*. There are others that are almost
> as attractive to me: Baskerville, Minion, Century Old Style, a really well cut
> Palatino (unfortunately, the Adobe version doesn't look that good to me, a bit
> heavy), Bodoni for newsprint and other porous stocks, etc. The same with some
> sans faces: Helvetica, Myriad (certain manifestations), Univers, Spartan, e.g.
> Some that are used a lot by others I find not so happy. I don't like Adobe's
> Garamond; I really can't stand Century Schoolbook; I don't like the Caslon uc,
> esp. Cap T, E, F. Futura is so-so, certainly not for text but okay for display.
> I invite the subscribers of both the Typo-L and Graphics lists to respond to
> this, a new thread. The topic is:
> What are your "favorite" fonts, and why? Are you aware when you begin a job--or
> when you review previous work--that you have these subtle preferences that tend
> to overtake you? Do you find yourself intentionally going against your own
> inclinations and choosing a (suitable) font just because it isn't what you
> usually use (say, Souvenir)? If you have an overwhelming favorite, as I do with
> Electra, do you know why and do you know why you tend to prefer it over other,
> equally good fonts? When do practical considerations (character width, matching
> a previous job, etc.) restrict you, if they do?
> Laissez les bon mots roullez!
> Michael Brady
> Design Manager
> Institute of Government, UNC-CH
> [log in to unmask]
Gunnar Swanson Gunnar Swanson
University of Minnesota Duluth Gunnar Swanson Design Office
Art Department 2213 Dunedin Avenue
317 Humanities Duluth MN 55803-2226
Duluth MN 55812
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