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.
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