Type design hot takes

What are your most unpopular opinions about type? I'll start with a few of my own hot takes.
  1. I really hate small caps and I wish they would go away forever. I already have lowercase letters—I don't need mini version of capitals that look dorky.
  2. I find f-ligatures distracting when I'm reading. I can see how useful they are but when I'm reading, they often trip me up and I prefer a natural fi or fl gap in most cases.
  3. Comic sans is excellent. Not in a "it has its uses" kind of way. I think it's an all-around good typeface.
  4. Papyrus is one of the all-time greats.
I admit that 3 & 4 are lukewarm takes on TypeDrawers but I thought I'd mention them.

Please don't hit the disagree button in this thread. The whole point is that these are things most people disagree with so almost everyone will disagree.


  • Igor PetrovicIgor Petrovic Posts: 263
    edited April 2022
    I used to dislike oldstyle proportions, though it changes over time. Now I see some pretty elegant solutions. However, most of the time that E still looks too narrow for me. 

    Agree about ligatures. They have their place, but they are overrated. Seems that it's one of the first things that "advanced customers" look for. In one specimen, in the section for OT features, I made a kind of "apologize": No ligatures because there is no need, and showed pairs.

    I really don't like italic lowercase h in some serif history fonts (Jenson for example). The one that curls into the counter and tends to look like low b.
  • Ray, I totally disagree with all your takes (except 2 in most cases), and I love this thread idea! Here's one:

    Much of Zapf’s type is technically impeccable but really boring. His best is BookInternational, Hunt.
  • I hate all typefaces—except the good ones. 

    As a designer of complex, layered texts, I find small caps indispensable, and I especially like having italic small caps, as Granjon made them. The proportions and weight of small caps can be especially handsome and pleasing.

    As for van Krimpen’s types, I find them stiff, though often attractive; I make an exception for his Cancelleresca Bastarda, a masterpiece of both drawing and punch cutting.

  • @Andreas Stötzner

    I always found Helvellyn rather picturesque. I never even realized it had a typeface named after it, let alone a bad one. Now I am intrigued…
  • Christian ThalmannChristian Thalmann Posts: 1,941
    edited April 2022
    Alright, time to step on toes, make irresponsible generalizations, and make myself unpopular!
    1. Revivals are the most boring thing ever.
    2. Historicity is vastly overrated. Design for the future.
    3. I have only a vague idea of what a letterpress is and yet I am aggressively bored by the concept and annoyed by the warm fuzzies everybody seems to have for it.
    4. Syntax looks like it's made entirely from elbows. I'm grateful for its contribution to the rise of the humanist sans, but gods it's ugly. Gill Sans, on the other hand, is cute.
    5. Ligatures are cool and classy and should absolutely be used across morpheme boundaries.
    6. I am fond of the capital eszett (ẞ), but to date most implementations are butt-ugly. (I have lots of opinions on what makes a good implementation, but they wouldn't fit on these margins.)
    7. Reversed contrast is reversed. Please reverse it back thank you.
    8. All script typefaces look the same.
    I wouldn't call it a hot take, but I like small caps. They can lend an air of sophistication to almost anything.
  • Ramiro EspinozaRamiro Espinoza Posts: 839
    edited April 2022
    All script fonts are tacky. >:)
  • Chris LozosChris Lozos Posts: 1,458
    Yes @Igor Petrovic I meant rules like "Never letter space lowercase" nomatter what sheep may say ;-)

  • Alex VisiAlex Visi Posts: 185
    “Modern font based on historical references”
  • Mikhail VasilevMikhail Vasilev Posts: 39
    edited April 2022
    Fonts with "geometric" strokes (that is, the vast majority) look cheap. Identical shared elements and widths look cheap and is lazy design. And cause "dazzle" especially on a monitor.

  • John ButlerJohn Butler Posts: 245
    1. Adobe's worst contribution to type design is the Th ligature. I still love Slimbach's designs regardless, but there needs to be an easy way to turn off just the Th substitution.
    2. I don't use any sans serif fonts in general, and I disdain modernism in general. Sans serif type is the reinforced concrete of printing. My distaste for sans serif type is one of the main reasons a career in type design would never work for me.

    In response to Ray, the Comic Sans Pro April Fool's joke several years ago was a noble undertaking, and there are a bunch of AAT-accessible alternate glyphs lurking in the Papyrus that ships with MacOS.
  • Adobe’s worst contribution to type design is the Th ligature.
    Absolutely right.

  • Typing my name and seeing the Th merge into a ligature is always a moment of bliss for me. :*
  • John Butler said and Andreas Stötzner reiterate:
    Adobe’s worst contribution to type design is the Th ligature.

    Hear! Hear! If someone wishes to include it in a chancery-style italic, so be it, but in regard to roman type, it is an abomination (pace Christian Thalmann). There is no historical precedent for it and it is entirely unnecessary. In fonts that I otherwise like, I generally break them open and remove the offender from the liga list.

    I’d like to know, definitively, who came up with this idea. I am led to believe that Thomas Phinney may be able to shed some light on the matter.

  • There is no historical precedent for it
    To which I say:
    2. Historicity is vastly overrated. Design for the future.
  • Mark SimonsonMark Simonson Posts: 1,654
    edited April 2022
    I agree that the on-by-default Th ligature was a bad idea. In fact, I don't think this fits the criteria that @Ray Larabie set forth at the top of this topic, which is opinions you have about type that are unpopular. It seems to be a rather popular opinion, around these parts anyway.
  • Thomas PhinneyThomas Phinney Posts: 2,748
    edited April 2022
    OK, my hot take is: “I freakin’ love the Th ligature, and whenever I see my name without it I usually feel like something is wrong.”

    I am pretty sure it was Robert Slimbach’s idea.

    I liked it, though, and certainly supported adding it to more typefaces moving forward.

    As somebody with a “Th” in my first name, I notice this combo a lot. In most cases, I see it looking better as a ligature. When it doesn’t, it always looks to me that is because of design choices in the ligature, not because there is something wrong with it as a general concept.

    Now, that said, Adobe might VERY well have done something different in terms of making it a standard/default ligature vs discretionary, had we realized up front that it would be so polarizing, and remain so even 20 years later.

    But yeah, I don’t think “on-by-default Th ligature sucks” is an unusual/unpopular opinion here. In fact, I think among the TypeDrawers crowd, MY take is the odd one out!

  • OK, looks like I'm going down a dark path here... But I like ligatures.
    • I like drawing them.
    • I like seeing them in other people's fonts.
    • I appreciate a well composed or clever ligature.
    • I know that there are people who do not like ligatures & that's OK. 
    I'm well aware that, outside the few standards 'f' ligatures are distracting and should not be on by default. They really just belong in display type. That's obvious. Sometimes the purpose of a line of text is to call attention to itself, or to communicate a mood that might amplify the words. After all, with 10 bazillion typefaces already in existence, why are any of us even on this site if we don't believe that type communicates more than the words it's used to spell out. 

    Christian Thalmann said:
    Typing my name and seeing the Th merge into a ligature is always a moment of bliss for me. :*

    To see the Mc in my name as I was taught to write it, I have to make my own. ;o) 

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