The Untold History of Web 2.0 Fonts Pt. 1
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Web 2.0 and everything that came along with it has reshaped every industry it's touched, including typography and logo design. I was compiling a list of alternative fonts for Web 2.0 when I started to wonder, "Where do all these fonts come from?"
The result is a list of 7 or so of my favorite 2.0 logos and a brief history of the fonts used to make them. I've also included the estimated price for legal use of each font and a free alternative from DaFont for designers on a budget. If you'd like to read more about these fonts, click the [ref] tags I've included and you'll be taken to my various sources of information. Come back tomorrow for part 2.
Note: In some cases prices are for the entire family and not just individual fonts.
Font - VAG Rounded
Used By - Wayfaring.com
Price - Anywhere from $20 to $104.00
History - Part of the Bitstream family, this original design was first used by Volkswagen A.G. as a corporate face for their advertising and marketing use. [ref]
Free Alternative - Arista by Studio Kmzero
My Opinion - "While it isn't a perfect substitute if you add a few stokes to make it bold, I think you'll find it's closer than it initially appears!"
Font - FF Cocon Bold
Used By - Shozu.com
Price - $40 to $146
History - Evert Bloemsma was attempting 'to eliminate all traces of handwriting' when he created this font in 1998. Apparently he failed miserably as there are indeed traces towards calligraphy. [ref]
Free Alternative - Danube by No Images Fonts
My Opinion - "Danube is clearly more whetted and acuate but it matches FF Cocon in its nod towards industry and mechanics."
Font - ITC Ronda (Customized)
Used By - Last.Fm
Price - $34.50
History - Herb Lubalin designed this font in 1970 around the same time he founded the International Typeface Corporation. [ref]
Free Alternative - Rezland by Fraser Davidson
My Opinion - "Ronda is certainly a classic but Rezland has a contemporary modern edge that I feel works well."
Font - Arial Rounded
Used By - TracksLife.com and MySpace.com
Price - $79.00
History - In 1982 Robin Nichols developed a sans serif typeface for bitmap font laser printers. It was later developed, with Patricia Saunders, into the Arial typeface family which was later chosen by Microsoft as a core font for Windows 3.1 (and subsequent versions). [ref]
Free Alternative - Folks by Manfred Klein
My Opinion - "It's thin and rounded. You can't really be too picky when you're being cheap."
Font - FF DIN OT
Used By - standpoint.com
Price - $269
History - The font's designer Albert-Jan Pool was born in 1960 in Amsterdam and went on to study at the Royal Academy of Arts in The Hague. He was one of the co-founders of a group of young Dutch typographers called "Letters". Many members of that gone on to become famous designers in their own right. Pool is currently working on several new series in order to extend the family of FF DIN. [ref]
Free Alternative - Old Sans Black by Manfred Klein
My Opinion - "The FF family looks so basic but it was pretty damn hard to find anything that came close!"
Font - Frutiger
Used By - Dropsend.com and Flickr.com
Price - $29
History - Adrian Frutiger is the designer of this font, hence it's name. Adrian is widely regarded as of the twentieth century's most prolific typeface designers. The font Frutiger was commissioned in 1968 by the newly built Charles De Gaulle International Airport at Roissy, France. Instead of using one of his previously designed typefaces like Univers, Frutiger chose to design a new one. The resulting typeface was Frutiger, originally called Roissy. It was released publicly in 1976 by the Stempel type foundry in conjunction with Linotype. [ref]
Free Alternative - Verdana by Matthew Carter and Tom Rickner.
My Opinion - "It's come as a default font for computers for as long as I can remember so it wins for convenience."
Font - Avenir
Used By - Purevolume.com and Shutterfly.com
Price - $29
History - The name 'avenir' is French for future, and takes inspiration from early geometric sans-serif typefaces Erbar (1926) designed by Jakob Erbar, and Futura (1927) designed by Paul Renner. Frutiger also designed this font and intended Avenir to be a more organic interpretation of these highly geometric types. While similarities can be seen with Futura, the two-story lowercase 'a' is more like Erbar. [ref]
Free Alternative - Siple by Tomoyuki "Tee-Wat" Watanabe or Am Sans by Volker Busse
My Opinion - "The alternatives too close in appearance but match many of Avenir's basic characteristics: clean, modern and stylish."
Posted byJon Gos at 7:24 PM