Type On Screen
10 Foundries We Heart
Wednesday 26th February 2014
As we bring February to a close—a month for all things lovey dovey—Jake and Dan have teamed up to bring you 10 of typography’s most crush-worthy foundries. These are the people behind some of the most consistently beautiful and legible typeface designs on the web and who send our hearts aflutter with each new release. Defo ones to watch.
Suitcase Type Foundry was founded just over 10 years ago by Tomáš Brousil in Prague. During this time his typefaces have won many awards, and rightly so! I love the way he describes the typefaces he’s designed for identity work — “surprise all your clients who are bored to death by trendy fonts”. This really sums up the feel of his typefaces — meticulously designed and full of quirks. If you’re looking for something to make you stand out from the crowd, take a look through the Suitcase collection. You’ll be delighted.
Dalton Maag have a truly impressive portfolio of typefaces created for large, well-respected corporations with global audiences — like Bang & Olufson, BMW and McDonald’s. In addition to their custom typefaces, they also have an ever-expanding and updated selection available for purchase. Looking for a comprehensive typeface to keep you in good stead for a multilingual project? Start here.
I’ve recently become a big fan of the work of the multi-talented Neil Summerour. He’s published a vast number of typefaces at his foundry Positype, and they just keep getting better! Neil has a great sense of humor and puts a lot of love into the microsites he creates with each new font release. He’s created a number of great calligraphic script typefaces as well as some notable traditional faces. If you’re after a display typeface that has some real impact and looks great on the web, try some of the collection from Positype.
Just Another Foundry
Just Another Foundry was founded by Tim Ahrens in 2004 and is now joint run with Shoko Mugikura. The duo specialize in designing text and display typefaces both for print and screen. Tim is also a consultant for Typekit and knows the ins and outs of web font technology. Although their selection is smaller than some of the others in my list, they’re cared-for typefaces across a broad range of styles—each with unexpected depth beneath the surface. They have a web version of each of their typefaces, and thanks to their attention to detail these look great on any screen. If you’re after a distinct typeface that needs to look its best on screens of all qualities, JAF typefaces will keep you in good stead.
Fontsmith is a foundry that has really made a name for itself in the world of bespoke typefaces for television. I’m sure the majority of you will be familiar with some of their work without even knowing it — as they’ve designed typefaces for BBC 1, Channel 4 and Sky News HD (amongst many others). You might be thinking that designing for television screens compared to the web can be a totally different ballgame, however they have a number of web optimised typefaces suitable for a large range of applications. If you are in need of a new typeface for a brand that needs to work well on the web, look no further.
ParaType are one of a few major foundries that puts a higher than usual degree of effort into optimizing their typefaces for screen use. They pride themselves on their multilingual, manually-hinted catalogue of typefaces, and for good reason. ParaType design not only original fonts, but also revivals of popular faces optimized for screen use (like Futura (set above in ‘Grumpy wizards make’) and Baker Signet (used to set ‘evil Queen and Jack’).
Jos Buivenga’s Exljbris is a one-man font shop founded in 2004. His Museo family is his most well-known, but all of his fonts are meticulously designed, diverse, and charming. As comfortable on a band poster as they are in an editorial setting, Jos’ typefaces tend to be part of large families, giving designers plenty to play with without having to go beyond his catalogue.
Founded in 2006 by Veronika Burian and José Scaglione, TypeTogether has a catalog of more than 20 typefaces, designed mainly for editorial use, including the substantial Tablet Gothic family consisting of 84 fonts! TypeTogether put it best on their own site: they create “typefaces that perform well in continuous reading, that also have a high degree of personality.”
FontFont is the world’s self-proclaimed “largest library of original contemporary typefaces”, and those two little letters (FF) embody quality and longevity. As well as recognizable and established font names, such as FF Din and FF Scala, FontFont collaborated with world-renowned type designers like Erik Spiekermann (also one of FontFont’s co-founders) and Christian Schwartz to create an impressive and substantial collection of fonts, many of which are optimized for screen use right off the bat. Their no-nonsense approach to designing highly functional faces that are both professional and flexible has won them many admirers, particularly among those who value long-term utility over fashion. For large-scale branding projects where family completeness and language support is important, FontFont is a great choice.
Founded in 2000, Mark Simonson’s self-titled studio has over 20 fonts for sale—an impressive feat for a one-man studio. His background as a graphic designer has given him a wealth of experience, which is clear from the diverse range of typefaces his catalog flaunts (including the ubiquitous Proxima Nova). In contrast with the font he is best known for, Mark creates colorful type that’s full of personality and cultural reference.
For more web font recommendations, check out our Type on Screen collection. We’d also like to extend a big thanks to our guest authors Jake Giltsoff and Dan Eden. Guest authors are paid for their contribution, and all opinions are their own.