Fonts in use - what annoys you?

Type designers: what irks you most when you see your fonts in use? 

For example – fonts designed for small point sizes being used in display environments?



  • Helvetica.
  • On a more serious note:
    I tend to see good things in honest mistakes (unlike when the perpetrator is fully away). For example when I see an "A" that's heavy on the left and light on the right (AKA flipped) not only does it not bother me, but I try to see how it can inform our preconceptions.

    But I guess if you twisted my arm I would say: making accents by hand when the font totally has it already. Like:
  • Jack Jennings
    Jack Jennings Posts: 151
    edited September 2017
    Hrant—this is about what bothers you when you see people using specifically *one's own fonts*.
  • Hrant Հրանդ Փափազեան Papazian
    edited September 2017
    Oh. Reading too quickly, I missed that, I'm sorry. Probably because it's an unusually narrow question, that caters too much to the ego; it would be good to expand it.

    For my own stuff, I'm tempted to say when it's set too small (since I tend to make things already smaller on the body). In contrast, what maybe should bother me but doesn't is stuff like this:
  • Khaled Hosny
    I hate when people use the bold weight of one of my fonts as the default weight, more so because the bold was hastily made and I thought people would never use it. I also hate when people use a text font as display font because they think it is too fancy, and use another font for text!
  • Dave Rowland
    Turning contextual alternates off. This seems to be done so regularly that I've started designing my fonts to work as well as possible without calts so that they don't look so terrible when they're deactivated.
    Also, modifying glyphs *badly*.
    On the flipside, I do see my fonts modified very well and used in ways I wouldn't have foreseen, so its swings and roundabouts.
  • Thomas Phinney
    Thomas Phinney Posts: 2,800
    edited September 2017
    Somebody hand-made a single-story alternate a for a logo... when I already had that alternate in the font, and my original doesn't have the backwards serif the logo designer stuck on their version.

    Oh well, at least they used my fi ligature!
  • Andreas Stötzner
    The most common faults I see frequently:
    1. horizontal shrinking (deadly sin);
    2. false superior figures;
    3. false small capitals.

    “All the labour was for nothing.”
  • Max Phillips
    Deciding all that pesky space between letters is really just wasted and it's much more efficient to set text Track -20.
  • duncanmajor
    Probably because it's an unusually narrow question, that caters too much to the ego; it would be good to expand it.

    As a graphic designer I work with fonts daily. Sometimes it can feel like you are responsible for someone else's child, or having an intimate lunch with someone you can't see. I was just curious to hear the type designer's personal view on the use of their own fonts – interested to see if anything came up that I hadn't considered before. It's been educational so far, cool to hear some positives as well.

  • George Thomas
    George Thomas Posts: 638
    edited September 2017
    Back in the early '80s, when a display font which should never have been used below 30-36 point got used at 10 point -- on the letterhead, no less, of a company passing itself off as a 'typographer'. Embarrassing -- for him too, I hope.
  • @duncanmajor Well then, keep it up! (Thanks.)
  • Chris Lozos
    I enjoy seeing the work of skilled graphic designers using type in ways I may not have expected.  Those less skilled can also disappoint ;-)
  • AbiRasheed
    I understand some of you are veterans around here in the industry and see your fonts used all the time. I for one if I saw mine being used no matter how, it would just blow my mind that it was even considered and used n public space.  
  • Adam Twardoch
    I didn’t design italic small caps for FF Hertz because I thought they aren’t ever used.

    Yet in the two instances where I’ve seen FF Hertz small caps in use, italic small caps were required. Luckily the typographers involved were quite good at faking them convincingly (not just by scaling the caps down, but scaling caps from a bolder weight).

    I would appreciate if you could share a reasonable use of italic small caps. I'm always torn myself about whether it makes sense to include them and would be interested in seeing how they might be used by, as you say, able typographers. 
  • I would appreciate if you could share a reasonable use of italic small caps. I'm always torn myself about whether it makes sense to include them and would be interested in seeing how they might be used by, as you say, able typographers. 
    As you know, small caps can be used for headings and the like. I often prefer them to full caps because, at the same height, they are typically wider and sturdier. But within headings, italics are sometimes needed to set off titles (at least that’s what some style guides prescribe). Similarly, small caps are occasionally used instead of full caps to make long abbreviations stick out less. If such an abbreviation appears in a passage set in italics, I am always happy when italic small caps are present in the font and I don’t have to fake them (based on Roman small caps or Italic full caps). But while I use italic small caps rather extensively in academic typesetting, I am aware that their application outside this area is limited. So when type designers do not include them, I understand – but it’s nice if they are available.
  • Gary Long
    Sometimes (in typesetting books) I have a passage or caption in italics in which there is the title of a book, name of ship, or something that would normally be set in italics but now needs to be set off in another way. I don't like using roman for the purpose (personal opinion, just don't like the way it looks in this circumstance), so I use small caps, preferably italic small caps. I will use roman small caps if italic unavailable and impossible to fake agreeably, but real italic small caps in fonts intended for body text is something I look for when licensing a typeface. Not a deal-breaker if unavailable and I really like the font otherwise, but could tip the balance in some cases.
  • Jens Kutilek
    It was something like what @Christopher Bergmann describes. Text in which names of people and companies were italicized, and some names contained abbreviations that were set im small caps.
  • Mark Simonson
    Mark Simonson Posts: 1,686
    edited September 2017
    When I released Proxima Nova in 2005, OpenType support was not as widespread as it is now, and PN included a number of OpenType features, including alternate characters, small caps, and oldstyle figures. As as a workaround for users who wanted to use these features in apps lacking OT support (mainly MS Office and Flash back then), I included two optional fonts for each font in the family: Alt and ScOsf. I'm sure some people appreciated it, but unfortunately I often see the Alt font used as if it was a standalone design, which was not my intent. Here's an example I saw just today:

    The problem is with the alternate lowercase "a". It's intended to be used when you want the roman and italic lowercase "a" to match, which normally they don't. If you use the Alt fonts straight out of the box, you get this instead.

    This is partly my own fault for not anticipating that users might not read the documentation that comes with the fonts, which explains what the Alt fonts are for and how to use them.

    In recent versions, the alternate "a" is no longer in the Alt italic, but so many copies are in circulation, it probably won't have much effect for a while if ever.

    I'd love to stop including the Alt and ScOsf fonts, since OT support is pretty decent nowadays, but I'd probably never hear the end of it for taking away a feature of the family.

    (FWIW, I stopped doing this kind of thing on more recent releases.)

    (Also, FWIW, the large "Dickinson" text is some other font, similar to PN.)
  • Nick Shinn
    Nick Shinn Posts: 2,168
    I would till vote for her. Although I do wonder whether Papyrus wouldn’t be a better choice for the Green candidate.