Andrew McDonough

Please note: This page is imported from my wiki, which hasn't been updated in over 10 years. Some of the formatting was lost during the import. I'll try to get around to fixing it someday.


Identification of Fonts

For identication of fonts, or to find a font by name, use:

Serif Fonts

Serifs are the small ticks at the end of letters. Serif fonts use these ticks, and in printed media, can guide the reader’s eye from one letter to the next. I believe that serif fonts in screen media are too busy, and so these fonts should be reserved for print. The classic example of a serif font is Times New Roman.

Sans-Serif Fonts

Sans-serif fonts lack the small ticks at the end of the letters. Traditionally, in print, these fonts were reserved for headlines. In screen media, however, I believe these fonts look cleaner and are more readable. Sans-serif fonts can be crudely broken down into the following sub-categories.:

^ Name ^ Description ^ Examples ^ ^ Grotesque | Traditional sans-serif fonts. Straight with low variation of width. | Grotesque | ^ Neo-grotesque / Transitional | A more modern take on grotesque | Arial, Helvetica, Univers | ^ Humanist | A more moden class of san-serif, where letters have more varied widths | Johnson, Gill Sanes, Frutiger, Myriad, Segoe UI, Optima | ^ Geometric | Based on geometic shapes - lines and curves with first order continuity | Avant Garde, Century Gothic, Futura, Gotham, or Spartan |

Johnson - 1913 Commissioned by Frank Pick and designed by Edward Johnson. Used by London Electric Railway Company and now used for the Tube. Broke from Grotesque sans serif fonts and that it moved away from the square shapes. It’s letters had more varying widths. The dots on the i, j, and full stops are diamonds. Johnson also designed the famous LU roundel Logo

New Johnson

Johnson was redesigned in 1979 by Eiichi Kono. This variant is currently used by the London Underground.

Gill Sans

A humanist sans-serif font designed by Eric Gill in 1927-30 took inspiration from Johnson Gill worked under Johnson Used by the BBC


Jock Kinneir and Margaret Calvert - 1957-1963 Used for British Road signs


A rounded sans-serif typeface designed by Adrian Frutiger

Frutiger New

A refinement of Frutiger, with the biggest change being the italic characters.


An Adobe font based on Frutiger Used by: Apple

Core fonts for the web

Microsoft set up a commitee to decide the core fonts that should be supported by all web users. The committee has since been disbanded. The fonts were:

  • Andale Mono
  • Arial
  • Comic Sans MS
  • Courier New
  • Georgia
  • Impact
  • Times New Roman
  • Trebuchet MS
  • Verdana
  • Webdings


  • The default Windows XP font is [|Tahoma]]. It is almost identical to [|Verdana, but with tighter letter spacing.
  • The default font for Windows Vista will be [|Segoe UI]]. This is very similar to Trebuchet MS, which we use in many webapps at [sportcentric.

It is claimed that Microsoft’s Segoe UI and Adobe’s Myriad are almost identical Frutiger|

Other Fonts worth Noting - Write about them later

Steile Futura

  • DIN / ITC Conduit - stands for “Deutsche Industrie Norm”, the industry standard in Germany. Used for signage.



Andrew McDonough

Andrew McDonough is a consultant CTO and software developer, currently based between Berlin and London.

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