As a design student myself, I notice that typography is one of the hardest parts that students seem to face… most students are able to come up with extremely creative, innovative and well designed material however as soon as type is needed… well, let’s just say, it could need some more work.
20 Typefaces Are Perfect
Take this quote from a teacher in the Typophile discussion:
“I think 20 type faces is perfect. This is what I tell my class to begin with. The idea that you need hundreds of typefaces is ridiculous. When I was in school I had thousands upon thousands of bad typefaces. I hoarded anything I could get. This only helped confuse me when it came to choosing an appropriate face. It was a breath of fresh air to just delete them all off my hard drive. I only use about 10 or so at any moment in my career. Type can be tricky and hard to deal with. It is best to have fewer faces and understand the ins and outs of each one. This is the only way one can expect to master a typeface and type in general.” – Jay Wilkinson
I can agree with Jay on this as I was also guilty of having every font under the sun, however, after the first year of University I quickly learned otherwise – it is best to master a few faces.
One could also argue whether 20 is a suitable number or not, however, I believe it is a good starting point… To contradict this point I have also written an article called 30 fonts all designers must know & should own.
Don’t Use Free Fonts
Another point that is made in the article is to not use free fonts. Take this quote from Keith Tam.
“I don’t feel comfortable with the idea of students downloading free fonts off the ‘net for their projects. More often than not they end up using something poorly made without even realising that it is not a ‘professional quality’ font. It’s dangerous. It’s such a bad influence for them because they’ll end up thinking that fonts are free and anyone can make fonts. Not a good idea. I think it’s a typography instructor’s duty to teach their students how to discern the differences between well and poorly made typefaces, and about the legalities of typeface licensing.”
I can relate to this as I see so many design students download free fonts… including don’t say it – Coolvetica. Limit yourself to a few families and you will be surprised at the outcome. You may also want to see the Top 7 Fonts Used By Professionals.
Update: I am not saying to rule out free fonts completely… in fact my logo uses the free font delicious. There are certainly some very well designed free fonts out there however the problem arises when trying to distinguish a good typeface from a bad one… I recommend this best free quality fonts post for starters or this list of 40 excellent free fonts from Smashing Magazine.
20 Typefaces To Start A Designer’s Career
Although there were many other ‘top 20’ lists in the original post I believe the twenty below would be my pick from the ones suggested in the article. In no particular order:
Times New Roman
What say you?