a peek at type evolution

Sampling the evolution of typefaces:


A network of typefaces

When talking about typefaces or fonts, there are some names that everybody knows: Times New Roman, Arial, Helvetica. But the cool thing about typefaces is how different types are related to each other: when talking about Arial, it is almost impossible not to mention Helvetica, etc. One way to visualize their interdependence/influence is looking at Wikipedia: Wikipedia lists more than 200 typefaces, and we can use the links in the pages to visualize how these are interconnected. This is what I show in this graph:


Each node represents one typeface/font, and its size and color is proportional to the number of typeface Wikipedia pages pointing to its page in Wikipedia. Not surprisingly, Helvetica features as the most linked typeface, and the top ten includes some usual suspects such as Times New Roman or Arial, but also other interesting cases such as Frutiger or Baskerville. Only serif, sans-serif, and monospace fonts are included in this network.

Book antiqua and Palatino

The other day it just downed on me how closely Book antiqua resembles Palatino. I had heard of the Helvetica vs Arial discussion, but I had never come across any Book antiqua vs Palatino. How close they are? This is a comparison between Helvetica and Arial:


They look similar, but there are some differences, some of which can be found here. In contrast, the overlap between Book Antiqua and Palatino Linotype is almost perfect:


the letter Q

Funny how when you think of it, each type has its own personality. Here is the letter Q according to 12 different types: