Font Fidelity

It’s very rare I pick up a book these days. Either I’m too busy socialising down the local or sidetracked by the latest online must see TV series (Breaking Bad etc.)

But the other week I decided to revisit one of my favourite books. I picked it up at a friends house and couldn’t put it back down.
It first came out back to 1995, at the height of ‘Britpop’ which saw Oasis take on Blur in a marketing stunt to see who would gain the number 1 spot with singles released on the same day. Blur came out winners with their ‘Country House’.

Back to the book… it was Nick Hornby’s hilarious best-seller ‘High Fidelity’. For me it had everything I was looking for in a book. Humour, music, relationships and break-ups. In the book Rob the central character and his two side kicks work in a London record shop. They spend their free moment creating top five lists of anything, including music and ex-girlfiends.

It was made into a movie in 2000 starring John Cusack, it didn’t live up to the book. The change of setting from England to a USA record shop being a major fault.

With lists from the book in mind I thought I would have a look at the top five all time favourite fonts, here they are:

Font Fidelity


1. Helvetica (1957 – Max Miedinger)

This typeface was initially released as Neue Haas Grotesk, and was designed in 1957 by Max Miedinger for the Haas’sche Schriftgiesserei (Haas Type Foundry) in Switzerland.

The name was changed to Helvetica (an adaptation of Helvetia, the Latin name for Switzerland).

2. Garamond (1530 – Claude Garamond)

Claude Garamond (ca. 1480–1561) cut types for the Parisian scholar-printer Robert Estienne in the first part of the sixteenth century, basing his romans on the types cut by Francesco Griffo for Venetian printer Aldus Manutius in 1495. Garamond refined his romans in later versions, adding his own concepts as he developed his skills as a punchcutter.

3. Frutiger (1977 – Adrian Frutiger)
In 1968, Adrian Frutiger was commissioned to develop a sign and directional system for the new Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris. Though everyone thought he would want to use his successful Univers font family, Frutiger decided instead to make a new sans serif typeface that would be suitable for the specific legibility requirements of airport signage: easy recognition from the distances and angles of driving and walking. The resulting font was in accord with the modern architecture of the airport.
The Frutiger family is neither strictly geometric nor humanistic in construction; its forms are designed so that each individual character is quickly and easily recognized. Such distinctness makes it good for signage and display work. Although it was originally intended for the large scale of an airport, the full family has a warmth and subtlety that have, in recent years, made it popular for the smaller scale of body text in magazines and booklets.

4. Bodoni (1790 – Giambattista Bodoni)
Giambattista Bodoni was an Italian typographer, type-designer, compositor, printer and publisher in Parma.Bodoni designed many type-faces, each one in a large range of type sizes.
Morris Fuller Benton started the Bodoni revival with this version for ATF in the early years of the 20th century. We consider it the first accurate revival of a historical face for general use. Sturdy and a little mechanical in the 19th century tradition, this is the Bodoni series familiar to us all.

5. Futura (1927 – Paul Renner)
Futura was designed for Bauer company in 1927 by Paul Renner.
This is a sans serif face based on geometrical shapes, representative of the aesthetics of the Bauhaus school of the 1920s-30s. Issued by the Bauer Foundry in a wide range of weights and widths, Futura became a very popular choice for text and display setting.
Now the new Futura is an uniform type system, consisting of seven weights with corresponding obliques plus eight condensed styles. All these fonts are coordinated in letterforms, metrics, and weights to work better together.

(Source: (2009)/


Peter Chana
Senior Creative Artworker, 10 Associates