Top Seven Fonts of 2009

Posted by Alex

I was inspired to investigate my favorite typefaces of last year by all the “Top Ten Fonts of 2009” lists I’ve seen going around. I tried desperately to make my list longer than seven, but honestly I don’t know if I used more than that. (I only have 50 anyway) Keep in mind, when I say “favorite fonts of the year”, I am referring to the ones I used most, not necessarily ones that were released in 2009. New font releases rarely get me very excited anyway. This list pretty much sums up the only fonts I ever implemented in all of 2009. There is an outlier here or there, but I keep everything pretty regimented.

So here we are, my favorite fonts of 2009:

Knockout – Probably my favorite of last year. I used it everywhere. It’s so versatile, and has so many weights, that I found it really helpful for many projects.

United – You know I love this.

Din – One of my favorites of all time. I found myself using this in just about every infographic I had to create.

Miso – It’s free and comes in handy every once in a while. Found this one popping up in my freelance work a bunch.

Plantin – One of the sole serif representatives. I used this for just about every single time I had body copy. Thanks Monocle!

Futura – Had to include this after my Wes Anderson project. Didn’t use it a whole lot elsewhere, but I always check out how things look in Futura just in case. Especially for logos — Futura comes through in a pinch often.

Trade Gothic – Especially Bold No. 2. If I hear a cool word I don’t know, I will write it down so I can type it out in Trade later just to see how bad ass it looks.

Anyway, nothing too surprising up there I don’t think, but interesting to see it all in one place. List yours if you have them!

65 Comments Leave A Comment


AEON says:

January 15, 2010 at 1:39 am

I see you’re a fan of H&FJ too. My favourite fonts for the year [in the same manner as yours – most used and adored] are probably Archer and Sentinel by the same foundry. In my work I used the most DIN cause It’s the corporate type family of a big client I work for. Also, a bit of a cliche quote but I can’t stop using AvantGarde It’s my personal all-time favourite and It’ll probably stay like that forever :) I just love it’s perfection. Also I’ve used Gotham and Futura quite a lot too. I’ve found a nice free 4-weight font in FontSquirrel, It’s called Quicksand, used It once in an identity project but It just can’t provide such flexibility as professional fonts and I gave it up tho’ it’s pretty nice and could come handy in some project.


Adriaaaan says:

January 15, 2010 at 1:52 am

My Top 8:

1. Akzidenz Grotesk Medium
2. Akzidenz Grotesk Bold
3. Akzidenz Grotesk Regular
4. Replica by Norm
5. T-Star Pro by Die Gestalten, (had great fun using this one my Thesis Project.)
6. Deck by Optimo
7. Univers, especially when used compressed (Hello there, scott ;) )
8. Bodoni (had to include one with serifs, i love the neo-classical beautiful yet constructed look)

Akzidenz ruled 2009 in my book, plus a lot of fine swiss fonts in there – business as usual.


david says:

January 15, 2010 at 2:25 am

my top 5, often I only use the first 3

1. Akkurat (Sans and Monotype)
2. Akzindez Grotesk
3. Bentons Sans
4. Cellini Serif
5. Meta Sans & Serif

On 2008 i’d loved fonts from The Foundry but not anymore.


Ian says:

January 15, 2010 at 6:02 am

1. Egyptienne
2. Flama
3. Akzidenz Grotesk
4. Akkurat
5. Apex Serif
6. Stag Serif
7. Monaco (just because I seem to be coding much more now)


Justin says:

January 15, 2010 at 6:55 am

It’s crazy how similar your list is to mine. I also have used a fair amount of Univers (condensed of course), and Adobe Caslon Pro (semibold italic).


Tim Cheneval says:

January 15, 2010 at 6:57 am

1. goudy old style
2. Myriad
3. Archer
4. Baskerville
5. Futura
6. Univers

These are simply the fonts i use most often at the moment. i cant say that i have favorite fonts because every time i grow a liking to one, i find that it really cant be used effectively that often. Does my list scream “university work” ? haha


mat says:

January 15, 2010 at 8:01 am

most used:
1. futura
2. helvetica neue

also using:

so i guess you could say i don’t branch out?


Chris Stevens says:

January 15, 2010 at 8:32 am

Favorite font – Aller!

A post like this might benefit from having an example of the fonts that are being listed and maybe a link to a source to get the font = )


alex says:

January 15, 2010 at 9:33 am

Oh no I forgot Avenir! Another great one for body copy.

@AEON – I am definitely a fan of H&FJ. I was going to write a review of their new one, Vitesse, but I haven’t really used it enough yet. I’ve really liked Archer when it came out, but find it waaaaay overused right now. Wrote a post about it a while ago…got me into some trouble comparing it to Papyrus haha.

@Ryan – Tungsten is amazing. Agreed.

@Chris – will do, thanks.


Chris says:

January 15, 2010 at 9:47 am

I pretty much default to Comic Sans and Papyrus. I don’t even know how to pronounce most of the fonts you’z guyz have been mentioning.


Kaleb White says:

January 15, 2010 at 10:53 am

@alex I was going to have an ulcer that no one mentioned Avenir! But now I can relax-ahhh.

My list would be
1.) Avenir
2.) Neuzeit S
3.) Helvetica Light (of course include the ‘mac-daddy’)
4.) Egyptienne
5.) Frutiger Stones (hah!)


Jarred says:

January 15, 2010 at 11:49 am

1) Akzidenz-Grotesque

2) Cheltenham

3) DIN

4) Bodoni

5) Helvetica

6) Trade Gothic (Mainly Extended)

7) Antique Extended

8) Lubalin

9) Avenir

10) Requiem

damn that felt good…


alex says:

January 15, 2010 at 12:04 pm

@ a lot of people. I also love Akzidenz Grotesk. It’s always funny when people say, “Oh cool Helvetica”, and you can say ‘nope’. People love to point out Helvetica and it’s always fun to correct them. (of course the reverse happens to me all the time, but usually with Rockwell for some reason. I never can get that one)


Aaron says:

January 15, 2010 at 3:18 pm

Great post Alex! I don’t do much typography these days, but it’s nice to see some seriously tasteful new type choices in those listed, as well as all of my favorite classics. I’m going to have to add some of these freeware faces to my computer and maybe make up a type sample sheet with them.


Tardlovski says:

January 15, 2010 at 3:50 pm

not a bad list at all.

personally i used alot of


on the sans front.

serif’s i don’t think i had a particular fave as i find serif’s tend to be more finicky and projects that require serifs i usually end going through tons of them before one ‘fits’, and that one is usually one that won’t work for the next (take mrs. eaves, i loved it for one project, then on another i tried it and i couldn’t believe how unfit it was).


frank says:

January 15, 2010 at 7:47 pm

DIN? More like top font of the year 2000! Kidding. Sort of…
To be honest though, I just used it today.

I’ve been having to use far too much Avant Garde this year.


Alphonse says:

January 16, 2010 at 4:31 pm

@ Gareth

I’m with you on that one. Museo is excellent and you can’t complain about the price.


Eric MacLeod says:

January 17, 2010 at 5:45 pm

This is my 2010 list for you Alex:

1. Morgan Sans
2. Klavika
3. Charter
4. Agency
5. Infinity
6. Aachen
7. Vista Sans

Use these typefaces and you won’t be sorry. You’re Welcome.


Ryon Edwards says:

January 20, 2010 at 12:50 pm

Agree with many from your list:

• Knockout is a beautifully designed face and offers great flexibility (one of my faves)
• I’ve got to add Bryant Pro from Process Type Foundry

– Ryon


Garvin says:

January 26, 2010 at 9:23 pm

1. AvanteGarde (especially bold, overexposed but I really dig it)\
2. Avenir
3. Futura
4. Rockwell
5. Glypha
6. And most certainly…Tungsten.


Rick Dobbs says:

January 29, 2010 at 4:27 pm

1. DIN
2. Serifa
3. Akzidenz-Grotesque
4. Minion Pro
5. Garamond Premier Pro
6. Garage Gothic
7. Univers

Thanks for the heads up on Miso. I downloaded it and am looking forward to using it.



Inspiration for Artists says:

February 2, 2010 at 1:52 pm

In no particular order, here are my 7 favourite and most used…

Droid Serif (stunning serif font!)
Caecilia (truly awesome square serif!!)
Liberation Serif (free!)
DIN (of course)
Bauer Bodoni


Garo says:

February 3, 2010 at 1:52 am

My company uses Gill Sans, so I guess that was my most used font of 09. Personal faves though are Stag, Museo & Georgia (brilliant for web).


Caleb says:

February 3, 2010 at 5:10 pm

do you really pay the full price for those fonts? i would love to have them but definitely dont have $300 to drop… :(


Pau says:

February 4, 2010 at 2:31 pm

Helvetica neue ultra thin
Akzidenz medium
Gotham Thin
Avant Garde medium
Aachen modificate


Pegasus says:

February 17, 2010 at 9:09 am

LOL fonts are SO personal.

As a useful sans DIN is nice. Seems somehow more accessible than the fontographic royalty (Helvetica and Univers) I like Myriad, Frutiger and Avenir for the same reasons.

Seems like serf fonts are even more personal (well except perhaps for Comic sans – mention comic sans in a group of designers at your personal risk. Same with Papyrus)

Can’t go wrong with Minion Pro on the serif side.


Anonymous says:

February 17, 2010 at 1:03 pm

the link you set up for Futura is linking to a Wes Anderson page. ;)
Just thought I’d let you know.

1. Din
2. Mr Jones (the italic!)
3. League Gothic
4. Futura (all caps) :)


Anonymous says:

March 11, 2010 at 1:45 pm

what would be the best way to get these fonts if you dont have a couple hundred lyin around….? i would really like to get some. escpecially United.


Pegasus says:

March 11, 2010 at 2:18 pm

Anonymous: save up the dough for the good ones. Find freely distributable fonts if the client’s budget is tight.

When our shop sees a brand new client on the horizon that seems decently flush, our Art Director tends to spec a new font we don’t have, and build the font purchase into the budget. (Clever chap!) 10 years back we bought the entire Adobe font library when it came out. Still not enough fonts for us font addicts.


Chris Rebuck says:

March 23, 2010 at 9:25 pm

everything that you ever need to say can be said with

Comic Sans or Papyrus.

marker felt is great too

especially if you want people to take you seriously


shawn says:

April 2, 2010 at 8:29 am

did anyone else notice that in the blog graphic… in the first alphabet, in all caps… the U is missing… ?