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Thirty-six point Gorilla

By Emily King

The naming of typefaces has never been dictated by a single convention. In the days of proprietary type, when type was made by the manufacturers of type-setting machines, there was some coherence amongst the names within a single library. Now that typefaces from many different periods and sources can be united upon the desktop, the list of typefaces used in even a single piece of contemporary design can make fairly extraordinary reading:

‘Abbess, Altoona, Acropolis, Dolmen Decorated, Egbert, Enlivan, Falstaff, Garage Gothic, Helvetica, Melody, Monster, Narly, Pinwheel, Phrastic, Siena’

Each of this spectacular roll call of typefaces was used by the Los Angeles design group ReVerb in a recent Stella Artois Campaign. The success of the best known amongst them, Helvetica, has often been credited to its name. Originally called Neue Haas-Grotesk by the Haas Foundry of Munchenstein, the Stempel Foundry of Frankfurt renamed the face in order to sell it to a non-German speaking market. Promoted with Alpine imagery and described as a sans serif that was ‘devoid of personality’, the name and the typeface gelled in a way that must be at least partly responsible for its early success and, more recently, its vilification by sections of the design community. Other names within this extravagant list range from the adjectival, through the associative, to the just about impenetrable.

Read full article here: Thirty-six point Gorilla