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Fonts you just can't live without


New Member
Hello all,

There was a time I was a "font whore", so to speak, downloading every free font known to man. I was in the business of designing web based graphics and novelty items such as stickers, which many of the fonts were quite useful for.

Now, shifting gears and trying to become more of a "serious sign maker" I am finding many of these very fonts, that were once my bread and butter, to be more of a hindrance than a helpful tool (scrolling endlessly throught them all).

I am wondering if there are fonts you find yourself using over and over, always with the same appeal? If there are any "free fonts" you can recommend, that would be great. I am willing to pay for quality fonts, preferably in a package as to get more bang for my buck, also willing to take any suggestions in this realm as well.

I have seen a few links on the boards for font sites, I am just wondering what fonts specifically you all are using?

On a side note, how can you tell what family a font is by looking at it? Is there some secret to "reading" a font? I guess all these crappy free fonts I've downloaded have polluted my mind.


oh and :signs101: rules!


New Member
of all the fonts i have on the computer(i make a backup cd of them) for basic yard signs, coro, banners, plain stuff i use IMPACT or a couple fonts i got off a VMPRO demo cd called FF ZOO EXTRA BOLD & FF INCEED SUPER BOLD. i also have a cd of SIGNS DNA signpainter fonts.... and corel 3-10 fonts.....also like BAZOOKA font i got years ago with PRINT SHOP when it was a good program


New Member
My personal favorites are Futura, Schindler Small Caps. But this is from designing business cards and letterheads, not signage.


New Member
I won some fonts from 'Dave at DNA fonts' that I love!! Most of my favorites are the handpainted look. I also use floran and antique olive a lot. Plus the many I have from the free fonts sites. I have too many fonts.. but some work perfect for some jobs so I don't want to delete them. I also got some free cool fonts from Rick Glawson a few years ago. esoteric
too many to list.....


New Member
is there a font cd for sale that are only high quality sign fonts?

I know there are tons of cd's on ebay for sale that give you like 1 billion fonts or so but they are all crap and repeats.

Bobby H

Arial Sucks.
geniuscreations said:
On a side note, how can you tell what family a font is by looking at it? Is there some secret to "reading" a font?

I would argue its kind of a talent. This ability reminds of me of another odd skill: being able to tell whether a movie or TV show was shot on videotape or film. Lots of people just can't tell the difference when that difference is gigantic to me.

Anyway, I've had the ability to identify typefaces since I was just a kid. When my father was studying photo-journalism at Syracuse University he would often have to grab his Letraset catalog from me. I still have that old catalog today (along with several other editions).

You can develop a more methodical ability for spotting typefaces by breaking down certain physical features and narrowing down the category. But this involves some intense study into typography. There's lots of font categories, and some typefaces will actually draw their names upon those categories. Such categories include old style, transitional, modern, slab serif, sans serif (very broad and can include sub categories like humanist), script, display, etc. "Stressed" is a pretty 1980s to 1990s category.

In the end, you're only going to get good at indentifying fonts if you're really nuts about them. Non artists can't even understand why I would care about the difference between Helvetica and Arial, much less be able to tell the difference.

Oh, back to the question in the topic, what are some fonts I can't live without? I mention a few. Some are among the more "boring" ones people love to hate:

Helvetica Neue
Adobe Garamond
Adobe Caslon
Bodega Sans
ITC Officina Sans & Serif
Bank Gothic

Fred Weiss

Merchant Member
Identifying fonts comes from understanding the various classes of fonts and looking for earmarks.

You'll find several threads here in the Typography Forum from a while back that got into some discussions of both typeface classification and identifying type. Most of the major players like Adobe have considerable information about type classification at their websites.

There's a short bit of information at my website that may prove to be a decent starting point as well.

The best book on the subject, a bit dated at this point but still highly useful, is Rookledge's International Typefinder.


New Member
I like having a ton of fonts because I kind of see how I want a word to look in my head then I pick a font that is close and start messing with it to make it what I want. Because I take from one font and add to another, the stokes and such need to be alike so with a ton of fonts, there always is one that is good. A while ago I posted a layout I did for "Foxcroft" a sign I was working on. That word is two different fonts. The upper case "F" was from one font, plus I took out the double stroke it had in it and the rest of the copy had another font that I put a pass on with either rounded or square (can't remember which) edges on the serifs and threw out the orginial letters.

My favortie fonts change all the time. I'll really like a certain font and then I'll see it being over used in ads or on other signs and will go out and find a new favorite.


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