The Periodic Table of Typefaces: the first thing that ever quantified the fascination I’ve probably always had with typefaces.
But, what exactly does this prove? Firstly, that Helvetica reigns supreme in design terms. (Also in the real world – the vast majority of signs you see on a daily basis are in Helvetica.) Fonts on the Periodic Table are arranged according to popularity and perceived “bestness”.
Secondly, that some of the fonts we see every day have been around for ages.
The oldest font as far as anyone can tell has been retroactively named the Gūtenberg 42, the font typeface used on Johannes Gūtenberg’s printing press in ±1450. This font was used in the famous Gūtenberg Bible, the first major work of publication in the West.
The table of the world’s best fonts above shows typefaces ranging in origins from 1450 (Gūtenberg 42), 1514 (Manuscript Gotisch) and 1530 (the famous Garamond – still widely used today) to something as recent as 2002′s Amplitude.
Missing – as far as I can tell – is the infamous Arial, probably because it is a blatant rip-off of the patented Helvetica mentioned above. Also missing is Times New Roman, with the closest equivalent on the table being Times – Times New Roman’s predecessor. I think that it has a lot to do with Times New Roman and Arial being the default on Windows Office for years that has left font fanatics with a sour taste in their mouths. There’s nothing more uninspiring than the default.
That said, I don’t mind Times New Roman on a Mac nearly as much as I do on Windows. Some people argue for or against Mac being better than Windows, but there is no doubt that it is superior when it comes to type display.
Yours in fontiness,