Type design: the typefaces of the year

Bestsellers: we asked five leading font retailers for their top three selling faces of 2009

Unsurprisingly the world of type was not immune to recessionary pressures this past year. How this played out when it comes to fonts is less a case of sans versus serif and more one of making do with less. FontHaus tell us that most of its sales have been of one or two single fonts rather than a whole family and that most of those have been in the £16 to £25 price range (FontHaus recently started selling in price ranges, starting at $1 to $10 and going up to $50 to $125). This is echoed by Veer, although their average is higher at $49 to $99. Designers are also compromising on quality, choosing a similar but inferior, cheaper face where there is a choice on price. A false economy? As Joe Newton from Veer says “For $20 to $99 you can add a distinctive element to a design or campaign. A small price to pay in that sense.”

Some constants remain, however: both FontHaus and Veer report that script faces remain their bestsellers, as they have for several years. Veer is also selling a lot of “woodtype or fonts that echo or ape that vernacular”, as well as noting the popularity of Geometrics such as Pilo. At FontShop, ff din remains at the top of the charts for the third year running. FontShop also reports more “bargain-hunting” with many customers taking advantage of introductory offers, such as that on Erik Spiekermann’s Axel, which was launched at $19.90.

Type.co.uk report an increase in sales of Arabic faces, perhaps reflecting the increase for UK design businesses in the Gulf, while also noting the continued popularity of slab serifs and handwriting fonts.

Away from price issues, the biggest development is the irre­sistible rise of the Open Type format. All our correspondents tell us that OpenType now outsells all other formats. Designers seem much more aware of the benefits of ot fonts with their typo­graphic and stylistic features as well as extended language support. PostScript, it seems, is heading for type’s equivalent of the knacker’s yard.

FONTHAUS TOP THREE
1. Champion Script
Panos Vassiliou/Parachute
2. Streetbrush
Robert Arnow
3. Thesis TheSans
Luc(as) de Groot/Lucas Fonts
fonthaus.com

TYPE.CO.UK TOP THREE

1. Houschka Pro & Rounded
Nick Cooke/G-Type
2. Defused
Geoff Biskupek/T26
3. Neue Helvetica
D Stempel AG/Linotype
type.co.uk

VEER TOP THREE
1. Adios Script
Alejandro Paul
2. Phaeton
Kevin Cornell and Randy Jones
3. Sugar Pie
Alejandro Paul
veer.com

FONTSHOP TOP THREE

1. FF Din
Albert-Jan Pool/FontFont
2. FF Meta
Erik Spiekermann
3. Dessau Pro
Gábor Kóthay/Fountain
fonthshop.com

T26 TOP THREE

1. Aaux Pro
Neil Summerour
2. Pintor
Carlos Segura
3. Corisande
Identikal
t26.com

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