TypograFriday: Splendid Slabs

zapatarosewod
archer_sample
clarendon
freight
apex
girard
the_serif

Owen and I are big fans of slab serifs (and clarendons, for those who make the distinction) — they feel simultaneously classic and contemporary, and often feel fresher than a sans serif. Here are a few of our favorites; many of these typefaces are also available at MyFonts which we think is a great site.

Row 1:
Zapata
— An absurdly extended clarendon that is fun without looking too goofy.

Rosewood — I remember seeing Rosewood Fill (without the circusy outline) for the first time in 1998 and thinking it was awesome. Sadly, since then it has been used to death and we kind of avoid it.

Row 2:
Archer
— Archer is at the top of our fonts-we-want list. You can see it put to great use all over Martha Stewart’s brand. (It was initially commisioned of H&FJ for Martha Stewart Homes)

Clarendon Text — We bought this cut of Clarendon — which has been regularized a bit to make it work for text — for a book we designed about the Center for Land Use Interpretation‘s residency in Houston. The lovely brown highway signs that mark national parks are set in Clarendon (or were until recently) and it has a good “Texas look,” so it seemed a perfect fit.

Row 3:
Freight Micro — Previously on top of our fonts-we-want list; now on top of the fonts-we’ve-bought list. The angles on the italics are beautiful and unexpected — and basically just pretty frickin’ awesome.

Apex Serif — The slab serif of the Apex family (Apex Sans, Apex Serif and Apex New), it’s one of our old favorites. Until recently, we felt it was a secret from the world — I guess the party’s over now that Best Buy has started using Apex New on their signage, store circulars and website.

Row 4:
Girard Slab — The latest slab to draw our attention, it has lots of great ligatures and looks like it would be a lot of fun to work with.

The Serif — Luc de Groot’s superfamily Thesis outdoes all contenders in sheer volume; there’s the original sans, serif and mix, each in eight weights, small caps and italics. Since 2000 he’s contiuned with it, adding some new weights and a mono-spaced version. Quantity aside, The Serif is quite beautiful, and stays so from light to black.

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