The 8 Worst Fonts In The World | Co.Design | business + design

IN “JUST MY TYPE,” SIMON GARFIELD COUNTS DOWN HIS LEAST FAVORITE TYPEFACES. AND COMIC SANS ISN’T AMONG THEM.

We’d need another book, of course, to do this justice. And where would one start?

Fonts are like cars on the street—we notice only the most beautiful or ugly, the funniest or the flashiest. The vast majority roll on regardless. There may be many reasons why we dislike or distrust certain fonts, and overuse and misuse are only starting points. Fonts may trigger memory as pungently as perfume: Gill Sans can summon up exam papers. Trajan may remind us of lousy choices at the cinema (you’ll see it on the posters of more bad films than any other font) and grueling evenings with Russell Crowe. There was a time when it looked as though he would only appear in films—A Beautiful Mind; Master and Commander; Mystery, Alaska—if the marketing team promised to use Trajan in its pseudo-Roman glory on all its promotional material (There is a funny and rather alarming YouTube clip about this.)

SIMONSON BELIEVES THAT SOME TYPEFACES ARE “NOVICE MAGNETS.”Most of the time we only notice typeface mistakes, or things before or behind their times. In the 1930s, people tutted over Futura and predicted fleeting fame; today we may be outraged by the grunge fonts Blackshirt and Aftershock Debris, but in a decade they may be everywhere, and a decade after that we may be bored with their blandness. Fortunately, choosing the worst fonts in the world is not merely an exercise in taste and personal vindictiveness—there has been academic research. In 2007, Anthony Cahalan published his study of font popularity (or otherwise) as part of Mark Batty’s Typographic Papers Series (Volume 1). He had sent an online questionnaire to more than a hundred designers, and asked them to identify: A) the fonts they used most B) the ones they believed were most highly visible C) the ones they liked least.
THE TOP TENS WERE:

USED REGULARLY:

  1. Frutiger (23 respondents)
  2. Helvetica/Helvetica Neue (21)
  3. Futura (15)
  4. Gill Sans (13)
  5. Univers (11)
  6. Garamond (10)
  7. Bembo
  8. Franklin Gothic (8)
  9. Minion (7)
  10. Arial

HIGHLY VISIBLE:

  1. Helvetica/Helvetica Neue (29)
  2. Meta (13)
  3. Gill Sans (9)
  4. Rotis (8)
  5. Arial (7)
  6. ITC Officina Sans (4)
  7. Futura (3)
  8. Bold Italic Techno; FF Info; Mrs Eaves; Swiss; TheSans; Times New Roman (2)

LEAST FAVORITE:

  1. Times New Roman (19)
  2. Helvetica/Helvetica Neue (18)
  3. Brush Script (13)
  4. Arial
  5. Courier (8)
  6. Rotis
  7. Souvenir (6)
  8. Grunge Fonts (generic) (5)
  9. Avant Garde
  10. Gill Sans (4)
  11. Comic Sans (3)

The 8 Worst Fonts In The World | Co.Design | business + design.

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