Naming typefaces... personal preferences?

Adam LaddAdam Ladd Posts: 213
edited February 24 in Type Business
What kind of typeface names do you like? (Understanding there are variables to consider, e.g. inspiration, marketability, design intent, length, memorability, etc.)

Do you lean towards those that are more literal and common words, or perhaps something more abstract and made- (mashed-) up?

I've done a variety and just curious what resonates with others. I also consider how typically time and repetition helps something grow on you and feel familiar.


  • It depends on the typeface. I believe the main thing is to spark the imagination, through both euphony and meaning. I personally have a preference for actual words that are rarely used. I have a *bunch* of those saved up.  :-)  Bonus: if the first letter looks interesting when set in the font.
  • One of my favorite type names of recent times is Agmena. It’s short, pronounceable, looks good when set in itself and when searching for it online you’ll only find the type and nothing else.

    So, conceptually I prefer abstract names. In practice, if I like the typeface I also like the name.
  • There are thousands of beautiful vernacular and latin names in botany and biology. And to stimulate your mind you can also practice anagrams of any existing word : the best for that is proceeding manually with separated letters on paper sheets.
  • Short names are handy, but always check if it is used elsewhere. Fantasy names are favourable because they are unique and unused. Village names of whatever country are an inexhaustible reservoir of wonderful words …
    I once named a typeface Abendschroth which is ludicrous, senseless and sounds very German, it turned out to hit the Anglo-Saxon market like few others ;)
    Be creative.

  • Village names of whatever country are an inexhaustible reservoir of wonderful words …

    Surnames are a good source also. Whatever name is picked though should not sound like a medicine or be obscene in any language.

  • George Thomas said:
    should not sound like a medicine
    Unless it's a Helvetica revival.
  • Ray LarabieRay Larabie Posts: 1,096
    edited February 27
    George Thomas said:
    should not sound like a medicine
    I often go for pharmaceutical sounding names to emphasize a technical look.
    • Alepholon - stark 80's sci-fi and sounds like an ointment
    • Betaphid - posthuman, stark techno
    • Conthrax - ultramodern. The name is Contac C meets anthrax. Contac was chosen because I wanted people to think of capsules...a  rounded medical/scientific kind of feel. And the anthrax to make it edgy. Soft + edgy mix.
    • DDT - a pesticide rather than a pharma but on the same lines. A softer Eurostile
    • GGX88 - a genuine Helvetica revival for ya, Hrant
    • Hybrea - a cold pharma look and parody of typeface names of the 2000s
    • Para Aminobenzoic - psychedelic MICR
    • PCTL 9600/PCTL 4800 - DIN-like technical
    • Polyflec - Cold and technical
    • Regra - Square, cold technical and also poking fun at 2000's typeface names with synonyns for neutral that end with an a. Regular+a. Sounds a bit like pharma
    • Rexlia - a boxy military was built from acual phamaceutical names
    • Snowa - not phamaceutical but another parody of 2000's typeface names. It's a Xmas font.
    • Synthemesc - Clockwork Orange Korova Milkbar lettering so of course it had to be pharma
    • Venacti - another technical and based on real pharma names
    • Veriox - chemistry inspired type and pharma style name
    • Zelega Zenega - Not actually pharma inspired but sounds a bit like AstraZeneca
  • James PuckettJames Puckett Posts: 1,767
    edited February 27
    I never thought about it this way, but Ray you deserve credit for cooking up hundreds of good typeface names. You and Rian Hughes!
  • No fair, he actually releases a lot of fonts which is why he can show off the cool names he's thought up!
  • Beyond that, I try to find a name with connotations and associations that fit the style of the face and/or my concept of it and contains letters that do a good job of displaying the style and character of the face (ideally in both all caps and title case).
    For me, it’s especially these aspects highlighted by Mark.
    The idea for the name, in my case, comes almost always at the same time of the design inspiration. To the point it’s hard to change it afterwards if I can’t use the name. For me it’s part of the creative incipit, so to speak.

    The name expresses all that I wish to convey with the design, and of course it is great if when it is set it displays the character of the typeface/family at its best.
  • @James Puckett If so, I also deserve punishment for Vipnagorgialla, Cutiful, Mlurmlry, Pants Patrol, Pop-Up Fontio, Po Beef, Electorate Boogaloo 3, That Secret Feeling, Frozen Dog Treats (later Frozdotre which is even worse) Welfare Brat, Yawnovision and Zodillinstrisstirust (later shortened) and many many more!
    What is “Cutiful” about? 😅
  • Paul MillerPaul Miller Posts: 271
    edited February 27
    I sometimes use surnames, but not always.
    Munson was named after Audrey Munson.
    Cadman was for a friend of mine who spends a lot of his time at work using CAD systems.
    Bainsley is the name of a character in a film.  She is a virtual prostitute in the sci-fi film 'The Zero Theorem'.
    Typey McTypeface was err ... well, why not.
    Balgruf was named after Jarl Balgruuf of Whiterun in the computer game Skyrim but the name was deliberately misspelled to avoid any copyright infringement.
    My latest project is not out yet but it will be called 'Sans Mateo' and it is sort of called after the town of San Mateo, a very nice town but in recent years it is being spoiled by large housing developments and new shopping malls.

    All available here for free.
  • Ray LarabieRay Larabie Posts: 1,096
    @Claudio Piccinini
    Cutiful is an ugly constructed script which is neither cute nor beautiful that now resides in the public domain.
  • I’d wish I had a suitable font idea for Rollo Beeminster or Aunt Agatha. Not to speak of Plumbo Jumbo.
  • @Andreas Stötzner , to me Aunt Agatha sounds like a very fat Bodoni style with a lot of contrast and many unnecessary flourishes and swashes.

  • Paul, maybe you think of Aunt Augusta, but is a similar kind of a concept ;)
    Your briefing for the typeface sounds promising to me, will you do it?
  • You can use people names, like George Neue by Boulevard.
    Simple English words also works like Banana Grotesk by MonkeyType, or Monument Grotesk by Dinamo.

    Try this tool to brainstorm
    and this site to check availability

  • The Dinamo tool is too focused on letter presence.
  • Paul, maybe you think of Aunt Augusta, but is a similar kind of a concept ;)
    Your briefing for the typeface sounds promising to me, will you do it?
    Maybe when I get some time to spare but don't hold your breath ! :D

  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 2,128
    Recently, I have favoured place names. 
  • This is more complex than parents deciding a name for their born child, kinda strategic topic closer to branding matter (but funnier to me), in my case due to the commercial context I put my fonts I think as a client who's trying to see an attractive name or something that caught my attention and many times resembles me a concept and be short as "Niva" I tried to use a word similar to new, neo, nova, neue but a little bit different, "Legan" was coming out from the word "E(legan)t" which is an idea about Roman Capitals gives me, "Rationell" from Rational fonts, "Geometrica" in fact is a word very close to the "Geometric" English understandable word and so on.
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