is an editorial designer and typographer, co-founder with David Berlow
of The Font Bureau, Inc.
in Boston, and partner at Danilo Black
Black has designed magazines, newspapers and websites for clients all over the world, including Rolling Stone, Newsweek, MSNBC.com and Bloomberg.com. He works from a small studio in New York and a Texan ranch.
A typeface that looks good after 550 years will still look great in six months too. Since I first started designing professionally in 1970, Bruce Roger’s
revival of Nicholas Jenson’s first Venetian Renaissance Roman typeface (1470) has been at the heart of the Roman style.
At the other end of the spectrum is this decorative slab-serif: strong and very handsome. Vincent Figgins
created the unique original in 1815.
The great Matthew Carter
(Carter & Cone) transformed this top-ten-thousand font very successfully for the digital age.
I prefer this revival of early sans-serif typefaces to Helvetica
. Somehow it has more, I don’t know, taste.
I haven’t used it for 20 years, but Bembo
is the grandfather of all 20th century revivals. It probably needs a digital facelift before it can be used again.
Forget Bodoni, Scottish style is the way forward: Miller
is the current favourite, but Bulmer
really cuts to the quick.
On nobody’s list except mine: Linotype’s Ionic
gets a place at the top for newspaper readability under real-life conditions … it is used more often than any other font.
It has never been digitised satisfactorily, but it is by far the best Goudy typeface, and in my opinion one of the best American fonts of the last century.
My favourite is the mechanically set one from Haas. It’s crazy loving all these slab-serifs. The Swiss were best at them, but unfortunately the digital versions are no good in headlines.
Ok, I’ve got to choose a typeface that I worked on myself: Jim Parkinson’s
revival of the 19th century Jenson
has a solid, quirky style.