As a junior designer, one of the greatest weapons I have added to my branding arsenal is how to utilise typography to the fullest. Whether you realise it or not, fonts influence you on a day-to-day basis; they are the most important and unnoticeable part of your company’s branding. They have the capability to change the world…well at least how you see the world.
For such a powerful tool then, we felt it would be great to highlight our opinion on the “5 Fonts That Changed The World”.
Maybe a surprise addition for some, but Baskerville was integral in redefining the printing industry of England during the early 1700’s. Designed by John Baskerville, the Baskerville font increased the contrast between thick and thin strokes, making the serifs appear sharpened and tapered. This was important as at the time of creation, the standard of book printing in England was poor. The Baskerville font, combined with specifically made presses and a greater quality of ink put Britain ahead of the rest of the world when it came to printing and went on to inspire many well-known typefaces today.
Here is a type face inspired by Baskerville, Bodoni created by Giambattista Bodoni during the late 1700’s, this font has been called “One of the most elegant typefaces ever designed.” By the great Italian designer Massimo Vignelli. Although it may not have the same interesting history as Baskerville, it is list of implementations is quite impressive. Most renowned for being the staple of the logos for Vogue Magazine and Nirvana and the watermark for Columbia Records, the font has been a forefront in modern culture with relative anonymity.
I wonder if when Paul Renner designed “Futura” back in 1927, he would have envisioned his font being the first typeface to land on the moon? This modern, geometric, sans-serif typeface was marketed upon its release as “the typeface of today and tomorrow” and frankly there has never been more accurate marketing.
Futura, to this day, is still one of the most extensively used fonts in all of advertising and branding. Boasting patrons such as Supreme, Volkswagen, Royal Dutch Shell and HP, it’s hard to argue that this font doesn’t deserve a spot on the list.
Arguably the most well-known font in history. Times has been at the forefront of printing and digital since it’s commissioning by “The Times” newspaper in 1931. A design by the great Stanley Morison, Times has become renowned as the “default font” for all things literary. Whether it be letters, books, or “The Time” newspaper to this day. They all still use fonts that stem from Times, commonly known today as “Times New Roman”. In fact, it is still so popular that Monotype sell multiple licenses for version of the font due to the demand of newspapers and books which print at a range of text sizes.
You knew it was going to be here. No font list is complete without the mention of the most renowned, diversely used font in history, Helvetica. Designed in 1957 by Max Miedinger and originally named “New Haas Grotesque” before being licensed in 1960, Helvetica is the pinnacle of typography; setting the bar at a standard higher than any other in existence, thanks to its clean and timeless style. It is used everywhere. Some of the largest brands in the world that include BMW, Verizon and Target have it as their main typeface. Even the UK Government use it in their publications. And to top it all off, which font can boast a near yearlong exhibition in the Museum of Modern Art in New York City to celebrate 50 years of its existence? It is no wonder then that with its repertoire of successes, it is seen as the go-to font for any designer.
So, do you agree that these fonts changed the world? Or am I missing a holy grail that you feel helped shape modern typography? Let us know in the comments below and maybe we will include them in our next “Top 5” list.