Charts and rankings exist in many industries. But until now there has never been a survey of this kind in the world of type … at least not one of this depth.
FontShop’s selection differs from other typeface charts because it is both subjective and as objective as possible. By incorporating its own sales figures and various bestseller lists from the past ten years (see “Scoring Criteria” below), FontShop ensured that the users of the nominated typefaces also had input into the selection. The subjective element was provided by an independent jury of international experts. On the basis of the “commercial” pre-selection they were able to eliminate fonts, nominate others, reorder, veto and up- or downgrade. After several rounds of this, everyone had agreed on a list of the top 100 typefaces.
Expert rankings are a popular decision-making aid. The process of narrowing down an overabundance of options is a basic cultural practice … in the visual arts, the music industry, literature and sport. We put trust in the people and things that rank most highly. Indeed, with an ever-expanding range of almost 40,000 professional typefaces to choose from, it is becoming increasingly difficult to keep track of the “quality tools” that produce reliable design results. In the fast-paced information and media industry, an assured selection of the right “problem solver” at the right time can be life-saving, or at least job-saving.
And then of course there is also the entertainment value of such lists. Few things are more tempting than comparing one’s own choices with those of the experts. Not even our jury members could resist, and so they each responded to the public Top 100 with a personal Top Ten of their own, complete with short commentaries. Not least as compensation for the compromises a neutral ranking inevitably demands.
The FontShop editorial department wishes you happy reading!