Infographic: The 50 Most Popular Typefaces in the World

Shelby White has produced the ultimate lazy man's guide to typographic trivia.

Do you know where Arial was created? Or what year Paul Renner designed Futura? How about who designed Bembo? No? No? No? And you call yourself a typography freak.

Luckily, Seattle designer Shelby White has created a lovely little crib sheet to the top 50 typefaces around. Here it is, in all its nerdish glory:

[Click image for larger view]

White — who also runs an awesome design-inspiration blog — started out out by plotting 50 fonts "most commonly used in a lot of today's design" on a world map. (And by world map, we mean, of course, Europe and the U.S., design being the ultimate testament to Western exceptionalism.) Then he tacked on the typefaces' assorted makers, born-on dates, and cities of origin.


The chart doesn't try to highlight any patterns or fascinating insights into the evolution of type. It's just a nice presentation of design trivia for folks too lazy to read a book. (Like us.)

Typefaces of the World is available as a poster for $29. Pre-order it here.

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  • J C

    This chart is a failure for reading and for providing information.
    It is unusable on a large monitor, the type is too small and it is a JPEG not a PDF. One cannot blow it up to read it.
    If it was intended for print, it could still be hard to read unless the only version is a very large poster size print.
    The world map is basically an accessory. The lines connecting to the locations become so dense, they have no purpose. In the past, if one wanted to know where to find a location, you would look it up on, a map! Now, I guess you would google map it but, it's the same. It is not needed.
    Instead of the approach used here, it would have been nicer just to see a nice list of typeface name, designer, and location of the designer, set in the typeface if possible (although, I could see that could be expensive).
    I also wonder, is it really all that important to know where a designer is located? (Is that where he/she was born? Learned design? First lived? Worked? Where they died?)
    Type is now designed all over the world. Other than for historical purposes, I am not sure how a design like this, if it was usable, could be of help.
    It is more important to know the influences of the designer and the historical context within which the design occurred. The background and time period of the designers of Helvetica is much more important to know than the fact that they lived or worked in Münchenstein, Switzerland.
    For example: in the post WWI period of the roaring 20s, when so many cultural changes were occurring, the major international competing type foundries all developed and released the major modern san serif typefaces of that period. Erbar (Jacob Erbar - Ludwig and Mayer, Germany 1929), Futura (Paul Renner - Bauersche Giesserei, Germany 1929), Gill Sans (Eric Gill - Monotype, UK 1928), and Metro (W.A. Dwiggins - Mergenthaler, U.S 1929).
    An infographic or timeline about that or more recent type and culture connections would be far more interesting and would have less spider web thin lines, if any at all.

  • Ryan Pohanic

    @Craig The designer likely didn't have access to all 50 of these fonts....but I agree it would be nice to see them worked in somehow....

  • Craig Birchler

    For the life of me I cannot understand why there is no visual representation of the fonts. Everything is visualized in the same, basic font rather than the font the text is informing us of.

    But otherwise it's VERY nice.