The typeface used on a newspaper's front-page logo is an executive decision that is not made lightly. The title typeface--also known as lettering or font--is part of the paper's branding and is chosen to project a carefully crafted image. You may not consciously notice the typeface used on your preferred paper's nameplate or banner, but chances are this meticulously-chosen font has, in part, subconsciously influenced your decision to pick up the paper and read it.
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Types of Fonts
There are two main rules for a banner's design: it must be distinctive and also suggest the type of content in the paper. How can a typeface do all of that? Typefaces fall into three different categories: serif, sans-serif and decorative. Serifs are the small tabs on the corners of letters. Sans-serif typefaces, such as Helvetica, do not have any tabs and are, therefore, easier to read and can be made bigger and bolder. Tabloids typically use sans-serif in a colourful, informal style of masthead, while more serious broadsheets tend to use serif for its more traditional and authoritative feel.
Consider the thick Gothic calligraphy typeface known to typographers as "black letter," which became a popular font in the 15th century following the invention of Gutenberg's printing press. The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Los Angeles Times still use an Old English-style variant of this medieval typeface, no doubt because it evokes brand recognition that is long-established and distinguished and suggests quality and serious content.
Top 10 Fonts
A study on the "Fonts on the Front Page" of American newspapers was conducted by Ascender Corporation, a type-design house that develops fonts for both print and online. There is considerable interest and growth in the area of online typography as traditional print publications move to the web and revamp their images. The Top 10 print newspaper fonts, according to this study, are: Poynter Series; Franklin Gothic; Helvetica; Utopia; Times; Nimrod; Century Old Style; Interstate; Bureau Grotesque; and Miller.
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