Famous Fonts You Need to Forget
December 20, 2013
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In the world of design, one way to tell a design amateur from a true pro is by their mastery and understanding of fonts. With design software so readily available, self-taught designers are able to produce mountains of poorly executed media projects that make seasoned design aficionados cringe.
One particular sticking point for design veterans is the overuse of famous fonts that come standard with software releases and are so widely used that the value they once may have had has been lost. We're not talking about Helvetica, Garamond, Frutiger, Futura and Times — these typefaces have stood the test of time and are the touchstones for the future of typography. No, we mean the fonts that even non-design people will groan about. Here are some of the most famous fonts and why they should be forgotten.
Impact is one of the most well-known header fonts, made popular because it is easy to read, highly visible and gets attention. It is frequently used on office handouts and mailing lists because it comes standard with most office software programs. But Impact's impact is now diminishing through overuse. Professional designers tend to choose wider, more sophisticated typefaces that are more subtle and distinctive.
Trajan is a beautiful font often used to convey authenticity. It's especially favored by the entertainment industry, and has come to be known as the "movie font" because of its constant appearance on movie posters. This is the main reason Trajan has become tiresome.
There is nothing aesthetically wrong with Arial. It was actually developed as an alternative to Helvetica. The concern is that Arial is the easy way out. It is favored by amateurs with limited typography knowledge because it looks professional, isn't Helvetica and comes standard with Windows applications.
Comic Sans has become the joke of the design world. It's so widely derided that even non-designers know to steer clear. While it may be the go-to font for a kid's party invitation, it has also been surprisingly misused in the corporate world. The initial thought was that this "fun" font could soften the blow of some office housekeeping memos, but then it started to make it's way into emails and corporate newsletters. Enough is enough.
Franklin Gothic is an example of an abused classic font. It's former value has been undermined by its popularity as the font to go to for amateurs trying to establish credibility. While Franklin Gothic can be used sparingly for minor design elements, it's desirability for most design projects is next to nil.
The Internet has expanded the typography choices for graphic design projects. Along with tried-and-true classics, there are many new and unusual fonts available. Choosing the perfect font comes down to research and a solid understanding of how to effectively choose and manipulate your favorite typeface.
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