Archive for March, 2013

by Matt Brinkerhoff

Many of the traits that are traditionally associated with Celtic and Irish Typography are actually vestiges of the ancient Insular script style, originated in Ireland over 1400 years ago. Insular scripts, which are identified by their unique letterforms, all-capital case setting and often-ornamented or flourished letters, heavily influenced the Gaelic and Irish handwriting and type design.

While insular-inspired typefaces are generally less-than-ideal for body text, these unique and attractive letterforms shine in display treatments. The whimsical strokes of Celtic and Irish fonts can be used to symbolize hospitality, heritage and wonder. When used properly, they add an air of timelessness and authenticity to a design.

Football Association of IrelandThe Football Association of Ireland incorporates a custom wordmark in their crest that incorporates insular lettering. The letterforms of the “FAI” logo are very similar to our very own Colmcille typeface.

The Irish EuroThe Irish Euro features the insular text “ÉIRE” on the head of the coin, which is the Irish Gaelic name for Ireland. Note that despite being capital letters, the insular “E” is drawn with curved strokes, much like the latin lowercase “e”.

A Traditional Irish PubIrish and Celtic typography are frequently used in pub and restaurant branding. Irish pubs are known for their old-world hospitality and lighthearted atmosphere, and Celtic-inspired typography can instantly transmit these values to potential customers.

Typefaces that feature insular, celtic, and gaelic style scripts include 799 Insular, Kismet and Omnia Roman. Need to add an air of Irish authenticity to your project? Check out our full list of Celtic Typefaces.

Matt Brinkerhoff
Matt Brinkerhoff holds a bachelor’s degree in E-Business from Champlain College and has experience in user experience, multivariate testing, design and Web development. Through his work as a freelance designer, Matt developed an affinity for typography years before joining the team.

by Ryan Arruda

Type Designer Q&A - Rod McDonaldFor over four decades, Rod McDonald has held an impressive and multifaceted presence in the field of visual communication – graphic designer, type designer, writer and teacher, McDonald’s work has evolved from sign painting to photo lettering and into the arena of digital type design.

One of McDonald’s most recent designs debuted in September of this year. The Classic Grotesque family is a major release from Monotype Imaging; available in 14 styles, this sans serif is rooted in the historic letterforms of some of the first of grotesque designs, yet the Classic Grotesque family stands firm with its unique contemporary spirit and robust versatility. Rod recently shared with us some insight into his practice:

Rod McDonald Typeface Designs

Personal design luminary
Living designers it would have to be Matthew Carter, followed closely by a long list of designers going way back.

Favorite era of design history
All of them. Each for a different reason.

Learned to design type
Like so many others in this business I’m largely self taught.

Design mentors
Canadian design pioneer John Gibson was my mentor, sadly he died last year.

Favorite text on typography or design
I can’t narrow it down to one or two books.

Longest a typeface has taken to design
Four years, that was Classic Grotesque. Although I didn’t work on it full time and there were long interruptions.
Shortest time to design a typeface

A few weeks.

Favorite typographic resource
I need a reason to design a typeface, then I find the resources.

Gibson family by Rod McDonald

Habitually challenging glyphs to design
Don’t ask me that, I’m one of those guys who can agonize over a sans serif cap I!

Typefaces folks might know you for
Egyptian Slate, Slate, Laurentian and Gibson are probably my best know faces

Favorite type classification to design
I like working on text faces. They remain a challenge to me.

Percent of type design that’s art vs. percent that’s science
That’s a sliding scale and it can vary greatly with each typeface.

Common personality of your typefaces
They are all workhorse faces.

Aspiring type designers should possess
A mind-numbing attention to detail, and patience, patience, patience.Cartier Book

What typeface classifications should they study?
All of them.

Favorite of your typefaces in use
Ten years later Maclean’s magazine are still using Laurentian and that’s after a few redesigns. Cartier Book is used on all the historic plaques in Canada.

Favorite medium to see your typefaces
It’s still print, but that’s changing rapidly.

Most egregious typographic error in common practice today
That type is only about the art.

Ryan Arruda
Ryan Arruda is the Web Content Strategist at Monotype Imaging. Ryan holds a bachelor’s degree in film studies from Clark University, and an MFA in graphic design from RISD.

by Allan Haley


There are common themes that run through each of Erik Faulhaber’s typeface designs: breadth of family size, applicability to a wide range of uses, and a search for character perfection. His Generis design is a system of four compatible families of slab serif, serif, sans serif and a “simple” sans in the spirit of American gothic typefaces. Faulhaber’s goal for Generis was to develop a suite of “generic” designs that could be used for a variety of design projects.

Generis was followed by the Aeonis family; a very large collection of typefaces inspired by Greek lapidary inscriptions and modern industrial design. Again, minimalist character construction and a variety of weights and proportions provide for typographic versatility. The newest offering from Faulhaber, his Xenois design, is the beginnings of a large super family of typefaces aimed at solving a diversity of typographic problems.

According to Faulhaber, “I melded the basic design characteristics of Generis and Aeonis to create the foundation for the Xenois family. The result is a typeface collection that is sufficiently large enough to be used in a multitude of design projects, distinctive in its individual character designs – yet minimalist in structure.”

The sub-families within the Xenois series interrelate perfectly. Proportions and underlying character shapes are completely compatible within all the designs. They have a common and obvious design bond, yet each is able to stand on its own as a distinct typestyle.

Simple shapes, a large x-height and squared shoulders, mark Xenois. Each sub-family is comprised of five weights from light to heavy, and all have companion italics. Xenois Sans is a design reduced to its simplest character shapes. Xenois Serif has serifs – but they are small, and only the most essential to ease of reading have been included in the design. Xenois Semi echoes the shapes and proportions of Xenois Sans but stroke weights have been modulated.

The complete Xenois family is available as desktop fonts from the and websites. It is also available for online use through subscriptions to the Web Fonts service.

Click here to learn more about – and to license – the Xenois family.

Allan Haley
Allan Haley is Director of Words & Letters at Monotype Imaging. Here he is responsible for strategic planning and creative implementation of just about everything related to typeface designs.

by Ryan Arruda

Here’s a ranked listing of Web Fonts’ top 100 most used Web fonts for February 2013:

Neue Helvetica
Trade Gothic
Gill Sans
DIN Next
Avenir Next
Neue Frutiger
ITC Avant Garde Gothic
Linotype Univers
News Gothic
Trade Gothic Next
Century Gothic
Monotype News Gothic
Futura T
ITC Franklin Gothic
Neo Sans
PMN Caecilia
DIN 1451
Linotype Didot
ITC Lubalin Graph
New Century Schoolbook
ITC Garamond
ITC Conduit
Neue Haas Grotesk
VAG Rounded
Frutiger Next
News Gothic No.2
Soho Gothic
Univers Next
ITC Officina Sans
ITC Century
Gill Sans Infant
Eurostile LT
Sackers Gothic
Trade Gothic Next Soft Rounded
Twentieth Century
Neue Helvetica Arabic
Garamond 3
Harmonia Sans
Frutiger Serif
ITC Fenice
Bauer Bodoni
Neue Helvetica eText
Optima nova
ITC American Typewriter
Eurostile Next
ITC Officina Serif
Helvetica World
Monotype Baskerville
Museo Slab
Corporate S
ITC Franklin
Sassoon Sans
Museo Sans
Compatil Text
Georgia Pro
Huxley Vertical
Monotype Garamond
ITC New Baskerville
Corporate E
Alternate Gothic
Egyptian Slate
Neuzeit Office
ITC Bodoni Seventytwo

Ryan Arruda
Ryan Arruda is the Web Content Strategist at Monotype Imaging. Ryan holds a bachelor’s degree in film studies from Clark University, and an MFA in graphic design from RISD.
Ryan ArrudaRyan Arruda is the Web Content Strategist at Monotype Imaging. Ryan holds a bachelor’s degree in film studies from Clark University, and an MFA in graphic design from RISD.
Great type makes sites stand out