Well here we are a year down the line and we've come to end of this little series. Been interesting, hasn't it? Not always easy, mind. I've struggled at times, particularly with those last two (or should that be four?). But the effort's been worthwhile, because I've made some lovely discoveries along the way. My one regret (so far) is that I still haven't found the opportunity to use Modern. But I will.
And so we come to numbers 51 and 52.
And yes, I know, the kerning's crap. But I don't own a copy of this font (yet), so I have to rely on the auto setting facility on fonts.com (a jolly handy resource if you want to know how a particular typeface looks when set).
This is Zemestro, designed in 2003 by David Farey (he's often referred to as Dave Farey, but I have a sneaking suspicion that he's like me and hates being called Dave). David's goal was to create a more legible and friendlier typeface than
those limited to single character and stroke widths. The face finds its
foundation in two earlier designs from Farey: Cachet, a soft-terminal
sans he drew in 1999, and a partial alphabet he created for the New
Scientist. Cachet appears to be
monospaced and constructed with geometrically precise character
strokes, but it isn't. The characters drawn for New Scientific are more
condensed and structured than Cachet. Their offspring Zemestro takes on
the proportions of the New Scientific letters and builds them into a
full typeface family. Round characters have squared shoulders, helping
to create visually consistent letter spacing and even typographic
colour. Terminals are now square and clipped at right angles to the
And the name's interesting as well. "I'm always fascinated by typeface names," says David. "Most of mine
are inspired by movies or books." It was while reading a book on the
Russian revolution that he discovered zemestro was the word for a
village council or group of elders, "before Comrade Lenin dissolved
them all," he explains. "So this is the first Zemestro since 1917. I
thought it was worth reviving."
And last but not least: Zapf Dingbats. Simply because it's essential: you can't have a career involving setting type without ever having the need to set bullets and suchlike. And European Pi is never going to cover all the bases.
Zapf Dingbats is one of the more common dingbat typefaces. It was designed by Hermann Zapf in 1978 and licensed by International Typeface Corporation.
In 1977, Zapf created about 1000 (or over 1200 according to
Linotype) sketches of signs and symbols. ITC chose from those a subset
of 360 symbols, ornaments and typographic elements based on the
original designs, which became known around the world as Zapf Dingbats.
The font first gained wide distribution when ITC Zapf Dingbats,
which consists of the subset chosen by ITC, became one of 35 PostScript
fonts built into Apple's LaserWriter Plus.
For those of those who really want to go to town, Zapf Essentials is an update to the Zapf Dingbats family, which consists of 6
symbol-encoded fonts categorized in Arrows One (black arrows), Arrows
Two (white arrows, patterned arrows), Communication (pointing fingers,
communication devices), Markers (squares, triangles, circles, ticks,
hearts, crosses, check marks, leafs), Office (pen, clock, currency,
scissors, hand), Ornaments (flowers, stars), for a total of 372 glyphs.
However, not all ITC Zapf Dingbats glyphs are included in the Zapf
Essentials collections (eg: airplane, letter).
One interesting little story about Zapf Dingbats is that David Carson lent the font a degree of notoriety in 1994 when he printed an interview with Bryan Ferry in Ray Gun magazine set entirely in the symbols-only font – the double-page
spread was, of course, quite illegible. Carson has it that he did this because the interview was so boring.
And if you'd told me a year ago that I'd be ending this series with David Carson I would never have believed you.
I've got to get a move on. I've got to complete this series by the end of this week. So here's Yanus. It was designed in 1997 by Tagir Safayev at ParaType. It was inspired by Neulin Sans of Ray Gun magazine from 1996. The first version of the typeface was created as part of a corporate identity program for the Russian airline Aeroflot. And here's Ying. Designed in 2006 by Gert Wiescher.
I know. I know. It's gone very quiet around here. Sorry about that: I'll try not to let it happen again.
Truth is, I'd had an extremely busy spell and for a couple of weeks I simply wasn't around to do any blogging. But I was back at my desk last week, so I should have been posting every day. But I didn't: I'd been struck by bloggers' block.
Maybe it's because I've reached the letter X in this little series on 52 fonts you could use instead of Helvetica. Ever since I started, I knew that X was going to be the difficult one. I should have posted it at least a month ago if I was going to be anywhere near keeping to my declared schedule (of two fonts every two weeks for a year). But I've been skirting round a choice for several weeks: it's not that I can't find fonts that begin with X; it's just that I don't find any of them in any way inspiring.
I wondered 'should I go for a Chinese font?' - something like C Xing. That would say something about the world just now. And, yes, I have typeset Chinese text, but I don't feel qualified to make an aesthetic judgement on what's a good Chinese font and what isn't.
Or should I go for a symbols font: something from the Xmas font family? But I'm never, ever going to use one of those, am I now?
So instead I seem to have landed in Canada: with two fonts by two young(ish) Canadian type designers. I'd like to say that I love them (the fonts that is). I don't, though. But at least they'll get me out of a hole.