Posted 01 November 2005 - 11:36 AM
For novices like me (limited on using Times Roman or Arial) this is very valuable
Francisco Jimenez, GISP
Senior GIS Analyst & Amateur Cartographer
Posted 01 November 2005 - 12:04 PM
Posted 01 November 2005 - 01:21 PM
For my more traditional looking maps (most of them), I use Myriad (sans) and Kepler (serif) and/or Adobe Jensen (serif). Myriad is very similar to Frutiger (I think). For a more modern and funky look, I use Nueva (serif) and good old Tekton (sans).
I spent a lot of time looking at maps I like and sorting through many many font sample sheets before I decided on my 'shop fonts'. Sometimes clients request a special font, and I do my best to accomodate them, but not all typefaces work well on maps, or they may not be available in the weights you need. I usually stick to my 'shop fonts'.
Thanks Martin for mentioning Rotis - I hadn't heard of it before, just took a look and I like it too.
Posted 01 November 2005 - 01:54 PM
Helvetica Neue (lots of weights and widths)
ITC Franklin Gothic
VAG Rounded (light or thin for an old Leroy lettering look for mid-century style maps)
Goudy (has Old Style Figures)
Hoefler Text & Titling (expensive but beautiful and excellent variations for maps)
Camden (for antique maps)
Old Claude (for antique maps)
Caslon Antique (for antiqu maps)
Posted 03 November 2005 - 02:55 PM
List of common fonts and available alternatives:
While I understand the economics involved, be careful with analogous fonts. They tend to not have many special characters, may not have all the design subtlties of the original, and - most problematic - the kerning and hinting is usually non-existant. All of which lead to an inferior product in the end.
If cost is an issue, invest in one or two of the high-quality fonts mentioned in this thread and just stick with these.
Posted 03 November 2005 - 03:24 PM
Cost is certainly an important reason (I forgot to mention earlier) that I tend to work mostly within a small family of fonts and also a reason to like Multiple Master fonts, which are (or were) a great bang for the buck.
It seems with the (not so new) open type fonts, Adobe has split the multiple masters into a number of different packages, which altogether cost considerably more than the single MM font - am I misreading this?
A disadvantage with MM fonts is that I have occasionally had problems at printers with them - especially as I have a PC workflow. For some reason, this hasn't been a problem for the last couple of years. Converting type to paths of course solves the problem in any case.
This is probably off the point since MM fonts are no longer available, but I thought I might as well blurt a little.
All that said, I'm still learning how best to use the small number of fonts (and their variations) I regularly use. Maybe I'm just slow, but it takes a lot of time for me to get the 'feel' of a font - does it flow like a stream? climb like a ridge? Type for cartography is somewhat of an overwhelming subject for me - so many posibilities, so little time...
this topic has inspired me to put some time and $$$ into developing a new set of shop type styles for maps - I'll probably go the antique route, since somehow I've never done an 'antique' style map - and I already have 'traditional, and 'modern' that I'm happy with. I'm way overdue for this and now thanks to cartotalk, it is on the offical TODO LIST!
- it's a quiet afternoon around the map mill today.
Posted 04 November 2005 - 04:49 AM
Does anyone ever make use of the Swis 721 Font Family in their map making?
Yes, me. In Slovenian national topographic map at scale 1:50000 all settlement and object annotation is in Swis 721. Basically whole map design is based on this font family. Legend (it is large) is based on Swis 721 Cn (condensed),...
Posted 04 November 2005 - 12:03 PM
I found this link from the Canadian Cartographic Association blog:
Thanks! What a great resource. Especially since he keeps updating his list!
Design is the intermediary between information and understanding
Posted 04 November 2005 - 04:54 PM
Helvetica-family faces. Kind of shopworn but still very practical. Bitstream's Zurich series has the advantage of a wide variety of weights and widths, and is available in cheap collections and/or bundled with apps. Arial Unicode MS, which is bundled with Windows, is close enough in appearance that most people will notice no difference and benefits from a wide variety of special characters and symbols, which makes it possible to print names from almost any language.
Optima. For me, Hermann Zapf is the god of type designers and Optima is one of his finest creations. Technically it is a sans face, but his subtle letterforms actually give much of the effect of a serif face. Of course the subtleties of letterforms are lost in small sizes, but they remain beautiful and distinctive. Zapf Humanist is a well-cut Bitstream version that again is also cheaply and easily available in a wide variety of weights and widths. What's more, several weights are available for free from Free Fonts To Download -- look under Z. (If you wonder what it looks like, you are looking at it, or at least you should be if the board's font feature works for you.)
Alberta is a slightly more stylized face somewhat related to Optima in look. It too is available in some weights from Free Fonts To Download.
Gil Sans is, as it says, a sans face. But it is less mechanical-looking than the Helvetica series, while remaining easy to read. Found in multi weights and widths in some cheap collections and bundle packages.
Microsoft's Lucida series, bundled with Windows, is surprisingly overlooked, as it has some very nice faces. And it's the ultimate in cheap.
If you want a dignified and classic serif face that it something other than Times (excellent though Times truly is) you cannot do better than Adobe's New Baskerville, a fresh recutting of the classic face. Not cheap, however. There is a small-caps face for it, with old-style numerals.
Papyrus is an unusual display face that does indeed seem to have something of an “Egyptian” feel. Specialized, but quite distinctive. Free, from Free Fonts To Download
Tiepolo by Adobe is a semi-sans face with distinctive letterforms having considerable stroke relief. Its clarity and high x-height lends it well to titling. There is a small-caps face for it with old-style numerals. Not cheap.
Posted 04 November 2005 - 07:39 PM
Frutiger has worn extremely well for me. I've been a fan of it for over a quarter century now, and it's my "house font" for projects that don't have other considerations. Because it was originally designed for signage at Paris's Charles de Gaulle airport, I think it reads well at extremely tiny sizes. Stone Sans also works well that way, and Meta is a fresh, sort of European looking, alternative for high legibility. Ocean is a personal favorite that has a distinctive character, especially the italic. Gill Sans is a curious paradox, a face that has a small x-height yet is still quite readable at tiny sizes, but I associate it strongly with Great Britain. Trade Gothic, News Gothic, and Futura carry specific connotations to me of postwar modernism, but if done skillfully they can give maps a distinctive look. I've been using Myriad a lot lately, often as a combination with Minion, precisely because they call so little attention to themselves. All the NACIS conference materials, for instance, used those two faces.
In recent years, I've tended toward condensed faces on street maps, and Frutiger and Univers, both designed by Adrian Frutiger, are handsome and well-designed choices. My main objection to Helvetica, besides extreme overuse, is that it was not designed as a family. The black or condensed versions are too unrelated to the regular weight. Also, Helvetica looks best when tightly letterspaced, which is not the way you want to set 5 pt type on a map. In contrast, a map done with eight different weights and widths of Univers will hang together as a well-designed ensemble. You can set the road names in light, landmarks in medium, and the placenames in black to set up a nice visual hierarchy.
For serif fonts, the biggest problem is x-height and slender strokes. That's a problem for all but the most modern Baskervilles, Bodonis, Garamonds or Caslons. I tend to think of Times as both overused and underweight (it was designed for letterpress newsprint reproduction where it would fatten up a lot on press). Sabon and Plantin have x-heights that are too short for my tastes. I consider Palatino to have the most beautiful italics, but the roman sets a bit wide for my taste. For some years I liked Trump Medieval, but it's rather idiosyncratic and sometimes calls too much attention to itself. These days I like Veljovic or Utopia (and the aforementioned Minion) as good workaday serif fonts.
I think of Hermann Zapf's Optima as being in between serif and sans-serif. Since I recoil at the thought of mixing sans-serif faces (and am not very keen on mixing similar serif faces), I find it very useful for book projects when I have no idea what text or caption faces will eventually be chosen.
A new challenge for me has been fonts for use on web maps, where at small sizes only a few pixels have to communicate the character shape. So I've experimented with the fonts, such as Verdana, that web browsers introduced, figuring they had been optimized for readablity in pixels rather than ink.
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