Which are the most appreciated small foundries as of today?

And which are the more interesting/innovative things they offer?
I am thinking both in terms of function, but also of inherent strength of design/products.

As a side question, which are in your opinion the most effectively designed PDF specimens? Especially in terms of clearness, economy of means, format, etc.

Thanks everyone in advance for your opinions! :)

Comments

  • Hrant H. PapazianHrant H. Papazian Posts: 1,907
    edited May 5
    (Crickets...)
    I guess you'll have to ask font *users*...  :-)
  • Hrant has a good point, everyone here would probably mention themselves first and foremost when it comes to offering interesting and innovative things ;)
    That said, I'm a big fan of Velvetyne, OhNo, Mass-Driver, Undercase, and Polytype, to just name a few.
  • Vasil StanevVasil Stanev Posts: 611
    https://www.fontfabric.com/ which I was a part of. :)
  • Hrant has a good point, everyone here would probably mention themselves first and foremost when it comes to offering interesting and innovative things ;)
    That said, I'm a big fan of Velvetyne, OhNo, Mass-Driver, Undercase, and Polytype, to just name a few.
    But that would be totally OK. I always see myself first and foremost as a user, so it will be up to the others to eventually cricitize (and that’s good!)
  • Hrant has a good point, everyone here would probably mention themselves first and foremost when it comes to offering interesting and innovative things ;)
    That said, I'm a big fan of Velvetyne, OhNo, Mass-Driver, Undercase, and Polytype, to just name a few.
    Thanks Matthijs, I was aware of them except for Polytype. Whis is their more accomplished work, in your opinion, and why?
  • https://www.fontfabric.com/ which I was a part of. :)
    Thanks, I recall it (Archive is good!). What’s the criteria behind the “free license" and what of the typefaces you consider more innovative/accomplished? Some are well drawn but a bit anonymous (as many of the last 15 years sans serifs).
  • @Claudio Piccinini I really like Polytype's Freizeit. It's an interesting take on a grotesque—very usable but also lots of unique personality. It has an overbite!

  • Vasil StanevVasil Stanev Posts: 611
    edited May 5
    https://www.fontfabric.com/ which I was a part of. :)
    Thanks, I recall it (Archive is good!). What’s the criteria behind the “free license" and what of the typefaces you consider more innovative/accomplished? Some are well drawn but a bit anonymous (as many of the last 15 years sans serifs).
    About the licence, I do not know, ask the CEO and founder, Svet.
    About accomplishments, FontFabric has constantly been in the top 20 best sellers of MyFonts, with not one but with multiple font families, surpassing well-established classics like Futura, Helvetica, and so on. This is pretty much a smashing success in my books. On the aesthetics I can't comment, but obviously ours sell and influence a ton of other designers, which influence others after them. All I know is that my Cyrillics of Gagalin, Bernier, Bukhari, Nickainley and a few others are present in every single city around the globe, on bilboards, planes, devices and whatnot. ;) I just don't like to brag if not specifically asked.

    The original microteam of 3+Svet I was a part of is no more. One person of it, Tinkov, became the author of Gilroy (https://www.myfonts.com/fonts/radomir-tinkov/gilroy/) and is now the permanent Number 1 Bestseller on MyFonts, has been for years. I had to go my way because of family reasons but since 2015 I have moved beyond typography, and had it good until covid. The new FontFabric team is about 10 people I think, young, energetic and still going strong (I believe some outside designers  and/or programmers also collaborate and do some stuff for FF). I notice that many that go through the company later become extremely successful type designers. E.g. the authors of the Gogh family (https://www.myfonts.com/fonts/spacetype/gogh/). Excellence breeds excellence, I guess. :smile: I had horrible and excellent bosses in my life, and everything in between, but Svet is perhaps the best I had and i keep good relations with him. He is a good, godly person.
    They don't need me to talk for them. I respect each and every one of them.


  • Joshua LangmanJoshua Langman Posts: 42
    edited May 7
    Here are a few foundries (and small retailers) that I have listed as noteworthy on my ongoing list of faces I would like to someday license. In some cases, the foundry as a whole is of interest; in other cases, it was on my list because of a specific face. This is not at all comprehensive, and it's quite possible that some important ones have been left out. Indeed, some of the foundries I have patronized the most are not on this list, because I need no help remembering them.

    29 Letters
    Alter Littera
    ATF
    Bold Monday
    Catharsis Fonts
    Colophon
    Commercial Type (Commercial Classics)
    Darden Studio
    Dutch Type Library
    Enschedé
    Feliciano Type
    Fond Bureau
    Fontelier
    Fontwerk
    GLC
    Henestrosa
    Hold Fast
    HVD
    Hype for Type
    Indian Type Foundry
    Jeremy Tankard
    Letterhead Fonts
    Ludwig Type
    Monokrom
    MVB Fonts (Mark van Bronkhorst)
    Nonpareil
    Nova Type Foundry
    Optimo
    P22
    Pampatype
    Pintassilgo Prints
    Process
    R-typography
    Resistenza
    Rosetta
    Scholtz Fonts
    Shinntype
    Štorm Type Foundry
    Sudtipos
    Tiny Type Co.
    Tiro Typeworks
    Type By (Smeijers, et al.)
    Type Network
    TypeTogether
    Typotheque
    Underware
    Village
    Yellow Design

    As far as specimens, having printable PDF specimens is important to me. The live font preview on a website is usually insufficient for my purposes. For text faces, I like to see a solid page of text set in an appropriate size so that I can gauge the color of the face when the letterforms appear en masse. I collect both PDFs and printed specimens, and refer to them when beginning a new project.
  • Joshua LangmanJoshua Langman Posts: 42
    More on the subject of specimens:

    I find printed specimens essential for evaluating typefaces, and I appreciate a thoughtfully produced specimen, whether presented as a PDF or published as a chapbook or broadside. For any type designers who may have wondered whether people who purchase type really look at those meticulously wordsmithed and typeset thirty-page or sixty-page specimens, YES, we do. Or at least, I do. When deciding between possible faces for a project, I will often print out an entire specimen document, put it in a three-ring binder, and study it closely, comparing it with the specimens for competing fonts.

    I deliberately acquire books of collected specimens, like the Yearbook of Type volumes (the book design is annoying but the specimens are invaluable) in order to try to stay current in my knowledge of contemporary type design. I also value the little chapbook specimens that are issued by some foundries, and periodically acquire those as well. In addition to being utilitarian tools, specimens are, of course, delightful viewing — they are the sign of a craftsperson who is proud of her/his work and sometimes a window into an unknown typographic paradigm or milieu.

    There have been many PDF specimens that I enjoyed and studied carefully. One of the first that I remember being struck by was the Gentium specimen, issued maybe fifteen years ago. I do not think it would seem exceptional now, but it was one of the first digital specimens I remember seeing that set out to really explain the typeface — its origins, its development, its designer's thought process, its special features. I like reading about a face, not only looking at it. Some specimens, like that for Brioso, are exuberant celebrations of their faces, and that is good too.

    Probably the most important feature for me in a specimen is that it is printable. I don't have a lot of use for the live-editable text on foundry websites, unless I am auditioning display faces and only need to see a certain word or phrase. And I don't have a lot of use for "microsites" with elaborate demonstrations of fictional use cases. I mostly design for print, and I want to see my type printed. Even if I am selecting type for a web project, I find a PDF specimen to be the most helpful reference.

    For designers who are making specimens for text faces, please include at least one page that looks something like a page from a novel — just a solid block of text, at a reasonable measure. This is usually the one type of use that I am most interested in seeing, and sometimes it is missing.
  • I ‘Agree’... why not! :)
  • I don’t think Shinntype is sufficiently appreciated.
    Still waiting for the Eye feature and the Microsoft commission!
    You need more meaningful promotion pieces from third parties. After so many years, to say it would be well-deserved it’s an understatement!
  • Nick CookeNick Cooke Posts: 108
    This thread should be who are the most under-appreciated foundries. 
  • This thread should be who are the most under-appreciated foundries. 
    You surely qualify as well!
    Actually my intent was to focus on the smaller foundries, be them more old or relatively new, and underline specific typefaces which brought or have potential for innovation and are original. The PDF inquiry was because I wish to design sober PDFs effectively conveying the essential technical information, very likely at least in English and Italian. :)
  • Alex VisiAlex Visi Posts: 76
    Claudio Piccinini said:
    Actually my intent was to focus on the smaller foundries, be them more old or relatively new, and underline specific typefaces which brought or have potential for innovation and are original.
    typefaces.temporarystate.net nicely falls under that description. I believe the foundry is the author’s low-key side project, but it’s so good. letters.temporarystate.net to give more context.
  • Alex Visi said:
    Claudio Piccinini said:
    Actually my intent was to focus on the smaller foundries, be them more old or relatively new, and underline specific typefaces which brought or have potential for innovation and are original.
    typefaces.temporarystate.net nicely falls under that description. I believe the foundry is the author’s low-key side project, but it’s so good. letters.temporarystate.net to give more context.
    Believe it or not, I was trying to find the time to post my favorites, with some commentary, and The Temporary State was the first which came to mind, as their simple but effective exploration with Wremena changed the way I look at Morison’s Times New Roman. It’s not a recontextualization just to add some "fashionable" elements, it brings back TNR’s late 19th century heritage. Especially comparing Vremena/Vremena Grotesk and Wremena is fascinating.

  • Hold Fast
    Joshua, what is "Hold Fast"? I can’t seem to find anything by that name.
  • James MontalbanoJames Montalbano Posts: 968
    edited May 9
    Happy to see Terminal Design not listed here. Not appreciated or not a small foundry. 
    Either way, cheers!
  • Happy to see Terminal Design not listed here. Not appreciated or not a small foundry. 
    Either way, cheers!
    There is surely a number of original and outstanding designs in your catalog.
    No one listed anything except Joshua Langman, and so far no one replied to my request to underline the more interesting/innovative/functional designs. Everyone is invited to do so.
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