Ten Typefaces of the Decade

In 1998, in the middle of millennium-induced listmaking mania, I wrote a short piece for Letterspace, the newsletter of the Type Directors Club, on the “top 100 typefaces of all time.” The list was based on the historical, technological, or theoretical importance of each design rather than its aesthetics. Initially, the list caused barely a ripple, but once it ended up on the TDC website (minus its introduction) several years later, it spread throughout the Internet.

Most sites simply passed the list along without understanding its underlying premises, but 100types by Ben Archer sought to build upon it. Archer, who developed the site as part of his work towards a Masters Degree in Art & Design at AUT University (Auckland, New Zealand), tried to track down digital versions of each font. He then categorized each face six different ways: size, style, purpose, alphabetically, geographically, and chronologically.

Now that a few years have passed since my list was first created, it seems time to update it and add the top ten typefaces of the decade from 2000 to 2010. As before, it is not a list of my favorite typefaces, nor is it a list of the most popular typefaces. Instead, it is a list of typefaces that have been “important” for one reason or another. However, I am not going to provide my reasons. Instead, I am going to let the readers of this blog see if they can figure out the contribution that each of these ten faces makes.

This list is not definitive. It is only a suggestion. There are several other typefaces I reluctantly jettisoned because I wanted to keep the list small. I welcome alternatives to my choices below.

Designers: James Montalbano and Don Meeker, 2004
URL: terminaldesign.com
More info [Cooper-Hewitt] [NYT]


Designers: Jonathan Hoefler and Tobias Frere-Jones, 2000
URL: typography.com
Image via The Atlantic
More info [NYT]


Designer: Thomas Huot, 2004
URL: 256tm.com
More info [Typographica]


Designer: Sumner Stone, 2004
URL: stonetypefoundry.com
More info [Creative Pro]

Warnock Pro

Designer: Robert Slimbach, 2000
More info [PDF] [MyFonts]

Burgues Script

Designer: Alejandro Paul, 2007
URL: sudtipos.com
More info [Cool Hunting] [Typography Served]

Studio Lettering

Designer: Ken Barber, 2009
URL: houseind.com
More info [Creative Pro] [Typographica]


Designer: Joshua Darden, 2005 (Freight Text Book, above)
URL: dardenstudio.com
More info [Designorati] [Typographica]


Designer: Matthew Carter, 2004
URL: yale.edu
More info [Typophile] [Design Museum]


Designer: Peter Bil’ak, 2008
URL: typotheque.com
More info [Typographica] [Eye]

Typography for the People

Designers Daniel and Klaus Bellon have been photographing street typography around the world for more than 17 years. These images have served as an inspiration for their graphic design work and now they are sharing their collection in this unique book.
Order it at My Design Shop

75 thoughts on “Ten Typefaces of the Decade

  1. Pingback: General Typography Research – Typography

  2. Pingback: links for 2010-08-30 | Kevin Burke

  3. Pingback: Utopian Lettering — Imprint-The Online Community for Graphic Designers

  4. Paul Shaw

    I am proud of teaching at both Parsons School of Design (calligraphy and typography) as I am of teaching at the School of Visual Arts (history of graphic design and history of type). 

  5. Pingback: Ten Most Important Fonts - Knife City Creamery

  6. Pingback: Most "important" typefaces of the decade « I need to put somthing interesting here.

  7. Pingback: The Top Ten Top Ten Lists in Viral Views Ten!

  8. Diane

    Thank you for teaching me the alphabet all over as a designer. PS please plug parsons school of design as much as Heller does SVA. Parsons alumni and proud of it!

  9. Pingback: The Top Ten Top Ten Lists in Viral Views Ten! | Hot Electronics Trends

  10. Paul Shaw

    Caro Claudio,I was unfamiliar with your Italian examples vis a vis Yale. But none of them seem to me to be the exact equivalent of Yale and all are apparently post-Yale. Yale is a text face as well as a signage face. It is not a simple branding or logotype face like the one for Friuli or the Torino games. Or even the odd stencil IUAV face. Yale is used for students writing papers, administrators sending out memos, etc. I know of no other original institutional typeface in the same mould. This is the sort of thing that magazines and newspapers usually commission.

  11. Claudio Piccinini

    Hi Paul, thanks!Now I understand all the reasons for choosing Alejandro Paul’s work, although – as you say – there could be a real improvement in the awareness of type designers if they would look more to the historical developments of writing, instead of previous typographical models. I was not familiar with Burgues, but having licensed Ministry at work, I found it pretty unusable, unless I manually edit it to produce words.I also understand Yale, but I ask: is the criteria universal? Because we have had other typefaces designed for institutions or public entities here in Italy (and maybe there are others in other countries). This, for us, is really an historical prime, while in the English-speaking word it was already done (although not so extensively as with Yale). For example, we have had Torino WDC 2.0 by Piero De Macchi (for the Torino World Design Capital 2008 event) [http://www.progetto-italic.org/?p=26], Luciano Perondi’s Decima (for the Friuli region) [http://sdz.aiap.it/notizie/10286] and the previous Minotype (for the IUAV University in Venezia) [http://www.molotro.com/ninzio.html]. I am not implying those have more weight than Yale, but simply that it’s really something for Italy, where there is an increasing lack of culture and any formation about the whole history of writing, and often the clientele does not even understand why copying typeface software is theft.Cambria (and the Vista faces) may have been designed very early, but they started to roll a lot later, and each time I am asked for advice about a system-available serif typeface to perform well onscreen and in laser printing, I keep recommending it and Georgia.I fully understand about Tacitus. I just thought it‘s a remarkable work, it’s just not enough close to the original forms to be filologic, and not enough stylized to take distance from the written model. But I think this was also true of Trajan, although Trajan is more faithful. There is Gallus Konzept from Storm, but I think it has the same problems.Regards! 🙂

  12. Paul Shaw

    Caro Claudio,
    good to hear from you. And to get your reaction to my list(s). I think the second list is as solid criteria-wise as the first, though I am not sure if I have the absolute best 10 fonts. Some of your suggestions are fonts I am not familiar with and they may be better than mine. 

    However, a few comments: 
    • It does not matter if Alejandro Paul messed up Ministry Script (or some others I could name). That does not detract from the impact that I think Burgues has had. Even if we look at it as just a typeface, ignoring the OpenType features, I think it is significant. It began a shift among type designers toward looking at American penmen for possible pointed pen models, instead of the usual British suspects. I only wish that designers would go even farther afield and take a look at the French, Italian and Dutch writing masters (e.g. Materot, Barbedor, Curione, van de Velde, Strick). And I wish the designers had more calligraphic knowledge than many of them seem to have. But Burgues paved the way for Zaner and other American-based scripts.

    • there may be other institutions that have custom typefaces besides Yale University but until someone comes up with an example, Matthew Carter’s font stays on the list. The other candidates I had considered for this category were the Twin Cities typeface and the font done for the city of Sheffield in England. But neither seemed as far reaching as the Yale face. They were more about branding and thus almost the same as custom corporate fonts. But Yale is a face used by faculty, staff and students; and existing in both print and signage versions. 

    • Cambria (and its siblings at Microsoft) were something I considered but they came out, if I recall, at the tail end of the 1990s. 

    • Tacitus is interesting but I am not sure how to justify its inclusion in this list. It seems to be neither fish nor fowl. That is, for those who want a true rustica it is too modern. (Virgile by Franck Jalleau is better for this purpose.) But for those who want a new kind of condensed typeface it seems too calligraphic and odd. If it were a condensed typeface whose success was traced to new ideas gleaned from rustica I would gladly add it to this list. 

  13. Claudio Piccinini

    Hi Paul,as I did not have a sufficient background when you published the original version of your list, I went back to it various times since you visited me in Modena, and I must say I found it more and more convincing every time… :-)Some of these selected typefaces from the last decade, however, does not seem to respond to the same, solid, criteria. Even now, after your explanation and motivation for single choices, I can’t seem to find an effective common denominator, as I grasped in the original historical list.I agree most of them are worthy (I just don’t find Retina equiped with that degree of innovation), but some others feel like strange choices to me. For example, it’s true that Alejandro Paul put to good use the Opentype technology in treating calligraphic faces with extended variations, but he also made a mess with Ministry Script, which is partly unusable because of its inaccurate implementation of features.If the Yale typefaces are candidates for the reason you said, you should add also any similar effort which constituted a prime in another country (and I think there must be some).On the additional choices, I second Quiosco, or another type family from Cyrus Highsmith. They are often very innovative without making so much noise. Then, if the date fits, I would suggest Paperback by John Downer, which started to reconsider in a serious way the need for size-specific masters, in a systematic way. I consider this more important than the “halo” concepts. I would have included Magma because it’s quite unique, not for the “halo” variants.Then, I second also Gentium. There may be Adobe faces supporting such a wide Unicode range, but Gentium has been one of the first most seriously approached Open source typefaces, and it continues to grow.Then, there is Tacitus by Mark Jamra, which is the first typeface with such a condensed proportion to revisit the the Capitalis Rustica in typographic form.About Amplitude I have many reservations. For the time it came out, I consider Fabrizio Schiavi’s Sys (which came out before Amplitude) a lot more original, keeping the concept of the ink-traps recontextualized as an aesthetic and functional device at the same time. If you don’t agree there’s also Pragmata by Schiavi, which is – by far – the most functional monospaced typeface I have found (for its technical characteristics and condensed proportions, which are uncommon in monospaced faces).And finally, I would add Cambria from the MS “C” series: It is the most solid serif typeface I have found comfortable for prolonged onscreen reading, after Georgia, and being more condensed it seems done for screen and laser printing, to make an optimal use of space. And it’s everywhere thanks to Microsoft, providing another serious alternative to the thin Times (whose outlines were based on non-text sizes) bundled with the old operating systems.They are all “provocations”, but see what may be intriguing to you… 🙂

  14. Pingback: Ten Most Important Fonts « Knife City Creamery

  15. Paul Shaw

    I was not aware of SIL and its typefaces until TypeCon 2010 in Los Angeles last month. Gentium is an intriguing nominee but I am not sure how it differs from the more elaborate OpenType fonts such as Adobe Garamond Premier Pro which support Eastern European accented characters, Cyrillic and Greek. Your comment about Gentium being useful for a medievalist intrigues me. Do you mean that the font has special characters for older forms of English or for recording abbreviations, ligatures, tied letters and other unusual glyphs found in manuscripts? I certainly would welcome a well-designed font that allowed me to transcribe inscriptions. (Ben Archer created special characters—such as an abbreviation for quam or a nested O inside a V—to supplement Syntax for me for this purpose, but there are so many characters needed that his efforts only took care of the most obvious needs.)

  16. Scott

    Really fantastic list here (and I’m sorry to have missed it originally). I would like suggest adding Gentium to the conversation. For situations the require using Latin script in other languages, often with competing diacritical marks and additional symbols or letters, the usual choice would be to supplement with Unicode (and for medievalists like me, Junicode). Workable, but not exactly an elegant solution. Gentium seems to solve those problems. It’s very readable, aesthetically pleasing on the printed page (used it for my bound Thesis editions), and offers support for all sorts of languages (even Greek forms, among others). All that in combination with the SIL open font license seem to make this a font worth talking about in a list that seems weighted towards functionality.

  17. Pingback: Quiosco 03/09/2010 « Karxav's Blog

  18. Pingback: In the News: Kindle’s Carbon Footprint, Shakespeare for Trekkies | freedork.org - austin, texas, news feeds, current events, opinion

  19. Pingback: Imprint-The Online Community for Graphic Designers | Gotham and Moderne Sans Serifs

  20. Harold Evans

    Disappointed that the leading faces chosen at so inimical to easy reading of long text. . Yale and Freight the best in that regard. Matthew Carter, of course, is quite brilliant. I confess to a prejudice against most sans serif faces

  21. Paul Shaw

    That is an intriguing suggestion. They are certainly an upgrade over a previous “C” font: Comic Sans. (And I promised I would not join in the Comic Sans bashing. Whoops.)

  22. Maaike de Laat

    Perhaps Microsoft’s new “C” typefaces (Calibri, Cambria, Candara, Constantia and Corbel) deserve a mention? Well-made fonts that have freed office workers all over the world from Arial and Times New Roman.

  23. Pingback: links for 2010-08-30 | links.kburke.org

  24. Pingback: links for 2010-08-30 – Kevin Burke

  25. Paul Shaw

    I wanted to include Gulliver in my list, but had to drop it since it was designed before 2000. But you are absolutely right that it is a much more ecological font than the Ecofont. I think Gulliver is an overlooked masterpiece, probably the best typeface that Gerard Unger has done (though I like his Capitolium). Unger’s fonts have never gained much traction in the United States, though maybe the new Linotype re-release of Swift will change things. Let’s hope so. (Here is where my type aesthetics begin to show.)

  26. Bert Vanderveen

    Re Ecofont: As far as I know that initiative has had no impact whatsoever… though it did wonders for the company of the ‘designers’ – a lot of free publicity. A smart response at the time of the introduction was that NOT printing digital stuff made a far more significant difference to the environment. Absolutely true…

    Now look at the impact of using Gulliver in USA Today: 8 percent less paper usage if I recall correctly. With a few million newspapers a day, THAT is some serious savings in resources over the years.

  27. Brad

    Sorry, I revise that last statement: I bet that in 20 or 30 years, if people are asked to choose from a line-up of which typefaces are most evocative of the past decade, they will choose Gotham over an other typeface.

  28. Brad

    “I associate it not with New York but with Fascist Italy since similar lettering appears throughout the country on Fascist-era buildings and monuments.”

    I don’t think this association should affect your decision. Gotham is an American typeface, inspired by American architectural lettering, and I would be surprised if many people have seen it and associated it with Fascism. While Avenir was an improvement on Futura, Gotham was intentionally designed in reference to architectural lettering that appears all over the country, and Hoefler and Frere-Jones adapted these forms for print. The fact that it has become so ubiquitous is a testament to its ability to capture the elegant yet accessible image of early modern America and bring that image up to date. I bet that in 20 or 30 years, when people are given a line-up of typefaces that are evocative of this past decade, they will decide on Gotham over any other typeface.

  29. Paul Shaw

    Wizzle, pre-2000 fonts are banned from this list. So, no Comic Sans and no Mercury (my favorite H&FJ font). However, I am sure that eventually Comic Sans will “disappear”. ITC Souvenir was everywhere in the 1970s and early 1980s and it outraged a number of people back then, but now it is rarely seen. I suggest that all of the people getting worked up over the shortcomings of Comic Sans and its ubiquity get a life. Arial is a bigger (and more) serious threat. Can we do an intervention?

  30. Paul Shaw

    Bert, it seems that several other typefaces are claiming to have done the “halo” effect before Magma. (See the comment about faces done for the Poynter Institute in the 1990s.) I guess I was just distracted by the fact that Sumner was the first to come up with a catchy name for the adjustment of typefaces to take into account the optical effects of reverse setting.
    As for your dislike of Ecofont, I would totally agree on aesthetic grounds. But this list is not about aesthetics (as I have said before) and I am willing to let Ecofont in simply because it is a new way to think about type. Regarding your fellow Dutchmen letting you down, how about the researchers who claimed that using Century Gothic will save money over other typefaces? That was a lame bit of research.

    You (and everyone else who comments on this post) are welcome to choose typefaces strictly on their looks. I do that too. But, making a list based on such subjective criteria would not be very enlightening. I am much more interested in whether there is an overlap between your aesthetic typefaces and your functional ones. And how you choose the latter.
    As for Optima. It is a great, though often maligned, face. Unfortunately, it needs to be set properly to shine. And one of the worst things you can do to Optima is to set it tightly. It also needs adequate leading. Let it breathe.

  31. Stephen Tiano

    I look at types from an “I just like ’em” perspective. But when choosing types for book I’m working on, I tend to go unimaginatively functional, from connections I can make between a book’s subject matter and a typeface. That said, I like and have used Gotham. And I, too, voted for this U.S. Prez of ours. However, I like Optima so much more, tho’ in a more relaxed setting. (And I also like tightly set type; but Optima looks claustrophobic–or maybe it makes me claustrophobic–when set much tight.

  32. Bert Vanderveen

    If I am not mistaken FF Transit was there before Magma and much more of a pioneering typeface in regard to the ‘halo’ effect you mention — literally so!
    Including FF Transit would also be illustrative of the manner wayfinding is developing in Europe vs the way it does in the States.

    On another note: Ecofont is horrible and I am ashamed that two fellow Dutchman produced that piece of cr*p. Using (for instance) Gulliver would be must more of a boon the the environment and produce far more legible results.

  33. Pingback: links for 2010-08-23 « Donghai Ma

  34. Pingback: Warnock Pro Display

  35. Paul Shaw

    I think Ecofont is a great suggestion for the list. It is an excellent example of what the list is about: fonts that change our way of thinking about fonts rather than simply being pleasing or popular.

  36. Celene Aubry

    As a naive and novice typographer (and certainly not a type designer!), I wouldn’t know all the criteria being used to create this list, but as someone keen on communicating as efficiently as possible on multiple levels, I would suggest Ecofont as a candidate.

    It is not a newly-designed typeface, but what it offers in the study of the evolution of design is to have an impact on the world beyond aesthetic value, specifically the typeface’s positive environmental impact by using (20%, according to the designers) less ink when printed, with no impact on legibility. And of course, for entities (governments, large companies, etc.) that print small forests’ worth of documents every year, the potential savings on ink costs by using this face would be considerable.

    The original Ecofont is based on the OpenSource face Vera Sans and is free, so it is easily available, and can achieve its primary missions more successfully.

  37. Felipe Rodríguez

    I agree with you in some point of view that Akkurat is not certainly singular ( i think is Helvetica mixed with DIN ), but the type-use is important as the type and glyphs itselfs. I like “The Bell Centennial of the decade” with other elements and a beautiful terminals

    Klavika and Amplitude: amazings types.

  38. Paul Shaw

    Felipe made me look over Gotham, Akkurat, Amplitude and Klavika again. I am still not convinced on Gotham, Akkurat (which seems to me to be a mashup—however successful—of Akzidenz Grotesk, Helvetica and News Gothic/Trade Gothic) and Klavika (which looks as if it will quickly become dated; perhaps the Eurostile of the decade). But I have to admit Amplitude (Font Bureau, 2003) is a very worthy candidate. What fascinates me is the way that Christian Schwartz has used ideas gained from optically adjusting small type as an inspiration to create distinctive display faces. This is not entirely new as designers in the 1990s, fascinated by the light traps of Matthew Carter’s Bell Centennial, used it at display sizes for its quirkiness. But with Amplitude this is a deliberate stylistic feature.

  39. Paul Shaw

    Felipe made me look over Gotham, Akkurat, Amplitude and Klavika again. I am still not convinced on Gotham, Akkurat (which seems to me to be a mashup—however successful—of Akzidenz Grotesk, Helvetica and News Gothic/Trade Gothic) and Klavika (which looks as if it will quickly become dated; perhaps the Eurostile of the decade). But I have to admit Amplitude is a very worthy candidate. What fascinates me is the way that Cyrus Highsmith used ideas from opticslly adjusting small type to create distinctive display faces. This is not entirely new as designers in the 1990s became fascinated by the light traps of Bell Centennial and used it at display sizes to show them off. But Christian has made an accident into a deliberate stylistic feature with the display versions of Amplitude.

  40. Jed Heuer

    Paul, I applaud your dedication to well-spoken responses. Solid list throughout. and I love that H&FJ’s nod goes to an extremely hardworking, technical achievement of type design, as opposed to the (elegant and personally oft-used) popular one.

  41. David Heasty

    Tough to limit things to 10 faces. With so many great type designers out there, it seems like a broader survey of the last decade commenting on innovations, trends, successes, failures, historical revivals, etc. would be a fascinating read and could fill a publication.

  42. Paul Shaw

    Trade Gothic? It was originally designed in 1948 by Jackson Burke. Thus, although Linotype recently redesigned it, I felt it did not qualify for a list dedicated to the decade 2000–2010.

    I do have some additional candidates: Trilby (2009) by David Jonathan Ross which turns a French Clarendon (or reverse Egyptian) into a usable text face, Quiosco (2006) by Cyrus Highsmith which resuscitated W.A. Dwiggins’s M-factor concept from the 1940s, and Burgundica (2009) by Gerrit Noordzij which is only the second commercially available typeface from the influential Dutch writing theorist. Burgundica and Blaktur (2008) by Ken Barber are two of the best original blackletters designed in the digital era. The latter is wonderfully idiosyncratic in the manner of Rudolf Koch’s best typefaces.

  43. Paul Shaw

    Sumner and Brooke are both right about typefaces being designed for institutions prior to Yale for Yale. (Also Goudy designed a typeface, Californian, for the University of California at Berkeley.) But Carter’s Yale has been used in a much wider manner than any of these prior typefaces. It is not simply for official documents, but also for signage and, more importantly, it used by students and faculty. Thus, it is a more all-embracing institutional font.

  44. John McHugh

    For a typeface such as Gotham, which is not installed by default, and which also sports a higher than average license fee, I think you could make a strong case of warranting a spot on the list based on its ubiquity. Personally, I’d love to see if the sales figures corroborate its usage. If not, perhaps then it is deserving of a spot if for only being the typeface most widely used without a license this decade.

  45. Brooke Kenney

    You said “Yale—the first custom typeface designed for an institution (not a commercial entity) in this country”. Question: What about Scripps College by Frederick Goudy? (Not that it will ever become as useful or popular as Yale.)

  46. Paul Shaw

    I voted for Obama, but I prefer Optima to Gotham hands down. Even though I know many designers detest it, Optima is one of the most important typefaces of the 20th century. McCain, like many, abused the face. The weight is too heavy and the letters set too tight—Optima is at its best in the regular weight and it needs room to breathe.

  47. Christian Schwartz

    4. Magma [not Magma Sans]—intriguing for the “halo” concept as a means of compensating in the digital world for weight loss or gain through various printing techniques

    The first contemporary example of this particular idea that I can think of is Tobias Frere-Jones’s Poynter Old Style series, which comes in 4 different grades for different printing conditions and was designed in the late 1990s.

  48. Jesse Burton

    I cast another vote for Gotham, solely on the Obama use-case. Can’t think of another instance of a typeface so influencing our national politics. The choice of Gotham v Optima beautifully paralleled the choice between Obama & McCain in my mind.

  49. Paul Shaw

    John, thanks for giving reasons for including Gotham on the list. I am not sure ubiquity counts, though. If it did we might have to include typefaces along the lines of Comic Sans or Arial that are everywhere but loathed by many. (I know that both of these are from the 1990s and would not qualify on those grounds for this list, but I am sure there are post-2000 default typefaces out there being used daily and either under the radar or quietly making us all grind our teeth.)

    Gotham has redefined and reinvigorated the geometric sans serif category. But it was beaten to the punch by Adrian Frutiger’s Avenir (which I prefer) and Mark Simonson’s Proxima Sans. I find Gotham over-hyped—maybe because of its ubiquity?—and I associate it not with New York but with Fascist Italy since similar lettering appears throughout the country on Fascist-era buildings and monuments.

  50. Pingback: Twitted by 604Gems

  51. John McHugh

    I think Gotham could be a viable candidate because not only of it’s near universal ubiquity, but also the prominent role it played in the election of America’s first black president (and the first political candidate with a “real” brand to boot).

  52. Paul Shaw

    For those who are championing Gotham, please give a rationale. Is it because it is popular? or because it is an alternative to Futura (with a more legible lowercase a)? or because it was used for the cornerstone of the beleaguered Freedom Tower? or because y’all just love the Port Authority Terminal?

  53. Paul Shaw

    If Akkurat is so special (and it seems to me to just be one of several worthy attempts to find an alternative to Akzidenz Grotesk and Helvetica) then I would love it if you give your rationale as a post. Tell us why it will have a massive impact.

    I am not sure why you think these are typefaces most relevant to Americans? Other than Yale, Clearview and Retina they are available to everyone and I am sure are used elsewhere besides the USA. (And I think James Montalbano and Don Meeker would love to get Clearview used in a European or Chinese highway system.)

  54. Richard Dymock

    Wowzers this makes for great reading as I lay in bed.. Thanks. There are loads of people who suggested typefaces without explanation… If you come back here I’d to see them.

  55. Pingback: Twitted by doyoulikekungfu

  56. Bojkowski

    What you really meant to says is ‘Ten Typefaces that were most relevant to Americans during the last Decade’ which doesn’t sound nearly as grand, does it. Possibly explains why it’s a pretty dull selection too apart from History and Retina which are truly fascinating typefaces. Missing out Akkurat was a big mistake too, it has had and will continue to have a massive impact on our visual language for years to come.

  57. Paul Shaw

    I had hoped that commenters would have tried to figure out my rationale or posited their own for the faces listed before I had to return with mine. And I certainly wished that Stephen had given the reasons for his list of alternatives. His list seems to me to be more about aesthetics and popularity than the more esoteric reasons for a typeface to have had an impact. However, I would agree that Adobe Garamond Premier Pro is a worthy candidate.
    I am not a big fan of a number of faces on my list (or on his)—some I detest and others I just find ugly—which is why it is not a list about popularity or about aesthetics but about something more elusive. Anyway, here goes my quick rationale for each face.

    1. Clearview—the first professionally designed typeface to be accepted for use in American road signage. This is a landmark moment in graphic design and typography, an instance where both professions will have a broad impact on the average American who will have no idea that he is a beneficiary.
    2. Retina—a worthy digital successor to the composing machine and phototype work of C.H. Griffith, Matthew Carter and Adrian Frutiger in the area of typefaces designed for legibility within specific circumstances
    3. Minuscule—a fascinating experiment in rethinking our views on what makes a typeface legibile at small sizes
    4. Magma [not Magma Sans]—intriguing for the “halo” concept as a means of compensating in the digital world for weight loss or gain through various printing techniques
    5. Warnock Pro—the first OpenType font with contextual features according to Adobe; and thus it gets my nod over Adobe Garamond Premier Pro. I would champion the latter as the first revival of a revival. Slimbach has made an “authentic” design even more “authentic” as he had the rare chance to start over and do what he couldn’t do the first time.
    6. Burgues Script—this is the script typeface that has made graphic designers realize the possibilities of OpenType; its alternates, contextual characters, swash characters, loose flourishes, etc. go beyond Bickham Script and paved the way for other faces such as Compendium Script and Champion Script. Moreover, it is amazingly true to its source.
    7. Studio Lettering—for adding a new wrinkle to the idea of “smart” fonts with the contextual “language” alternates. Underware’s Liza has taken this even further and could have been added to the list.
    8. Freight—of all of the font families that have attempted to go beyond the now standard dichotomy of serif and sans, this seems to be the most successful with its wide range of “sizes”. Other choices could have been Nick Shinn’s Scotch Modern and Figgins combo or Jeremy Tankard’s Trilogy.
    9. Yale—the first custom typeface designed for an institution (not a commercial entity) in this country; and one that is being used in a broad manner from official documents and signage to student term papers. Another candidate would have been Peter Verheul’s Rijksoverheid Serif and Sans for the Dutch government.
    10. History—a glorious failure; a new way to look at digital letterforms that is more thrilling for its ideas than its execution.

    There is a bias in my list toward typefaces that are functional, experimental or somehow the “first”. Besides the fonts I have noted above I could suggest FontStruct (not strictly a single font but nevertheless revolutionary), Punchcut’s typeface for Qualcomm, Ken Barber’s Blaktur, and Gerard Unger’s Capitolium.

    By the way, why is “of the decade” a “little bit of a stretch”? The typefaces on the list range from 2000 to 2009 in their release dates.

  58. Jeff Culbertson

    I agree with most of those choices. I would take Yale out and put Gotham in. Slimbach had a couple of great faces in the early part of the decade, and while I love Warnock, I think Garamond Premier was probably more “important.”

  59. Stephen Coles

    A good list, Paul. I can’t argue with any of the above (except Yale — masterfully done, of course, but Carter has done much more interesting work). There are many others that deserve a space on a 2000-2010 list. I guess that’s why you wisely avoided the word “Top”. 15 more influential faces:

    Bickham Script
    FF Unit
    Restraint (I know you love Marian!)
    FF Nexus
    Garamond Premier
    Proxima Nova
    Vista Sans

  60. Stephen Coles

    A good list, Paul. I can’t argue with any of the above (except Yale — masterfully done, of course, but Carter has done much more interesting work). There are many others that deserve a space on a 10-year list. I guess why you wisely avoided the word “Top”. 15 more influential faces:

    Bickham Script
    FF Unit
    Restraint (I know you love Marian!)
    FF Nexus
    Garamond Premier
    Proxima Nova
    Vista Sans