by Linda Zebian
Keeping up with the hottest fonts can be draining for designers and costly for publishers. The best way to keep your magazine current without burning a hole in your pocket? Stay classic with the typefaces you purchase by sticking with styles that never look retro.
For years, PostScriptType 1 fonts were the only way to go, according to Greg Paul, partner of magazine consultants Brady & Paul Communications. OpenType, says Paul, is the new format, due to technology. Adobe InDesign supports the style, which is easily transformable and programmable.
Font libraries can cost upwards of thousands of dollars, and publishers should instead try investing in the OpenType versions of their most frequently used fonts instead of the entire package, or newer, fad fonts.
What’s Popular Now
Perhaps the most ubiquitous font right now is Myriad, according to Paul, who labels it "the Helvetica of the new millennium." Myriad, a sans serif, is not particularly distinctive, but is extremely functional, with an italic for every weight, width and size. "It’s got a certain anonymity and it doesn’t have a lot of associations," says Paul. "It’s the kind of font that is hard to screw up. Plus, it looks professional."
A font with more character is another sans serif called Amplitude, which has been broadly embraced by both funkier titles (Rolling Stone uses it) to more serious business and trade publications. The downside? It has no italic;which Paul says, is a frustrating aspect of some sans serifs.
Gotham, a typeface that was custom designed for GQ, has been widely adapted by a number of publications since the exclusive rights to the font expired. A sans serif that comes out of the school of futura, Gotham is very versatile, with a number of weights and an italic version. The font shows up everywhere on TV, in billboards and in ads. "The reality is that for years there haven’t been many really solid alternatives to future types and this is one, " says Paul. "But I have to argue against the logic of something that is designed for GQ for an accounting magazine."