Fantastic Fonts and Creative Characters

If the movie Helvetica piqued your interest, you'll love the e-newsletter Creative Characters: The Faces Behind the Fonts. But you don't have to be a fan of the font or the movie to love the My Fonts website. (In fact, if you DON'T like Helvetica, this is definitely the place to go for alternatives!)

My Fonts is a terrific online source for great type fonts that you can license and download to your computer. At last count, they offered 62,411 fonts. Now that's a lot of fonts! You'll find all of the classic fonts, the newest fonts, and the most unique fonts. But what's really wonderful is that you can try them all out (well, that might take a while, but you can certainly play around with this as long as you'd like). Just click on the Find Fonts page, choose a category (I recommend starting with Best Sellers if you're new to the site), type in a few words of text (such as your name, business name, or project title) and then start clicking on the fonts to see how it looks. You can also search by (or play with!) What's New, Font Categories, Foundries, Designers, Starlets, Decorative Fonts, Value Packs, International Languages, Keywords, Specials or, if all else fails, Alphabetical Order.

If you've found a font you like (say, from another company, magazine or designer), but you don't know what it is, you can upload a scanned image of the font to What The Font and let their font recognition system take a stab at identifying it for you. And if that doesn't work, you can post it on their What The Font Forum where font fanatics from across the globe play Name That Font.

But beyond the great fonts, what I really love are My Fonts' newsletters. First of all, they are among the best designed e-newsletters around. And they are fun to read. Creative Characters, which is published monthly, features an in-depth interview with a notable type designer. This month's issue, for example, features Tomas Brousil of Suitcase Type Foundry in Prague, who talks about his career as a graphic designer, his mentors, his favorite fonts, and what makes his font families unique. The interviews offer insight into the creative process and the minds of designers.

The other newsletter, Rising Stars, features new fonts. And it not only shows examples of the fonts, but gives you a bit of background on the font--who designed it, how it came about, what it's suitable for. My personal favorite in the new issue is a clean, casual, naturally flowing script called Mullen Hand by designer Jerry Mullen.

Anyhow, if you need a new font, are interested in font design, or just want to know more about the faces behind the fonts, bookmark this page.