Category Archives: Fontlympics

Real Life Fontlympics

While we were busy running the Fontlympics out of the San Francisco office of FontShop, our Berlin colleague, Lucy, traveled to London to witness the real games. Lucy was kind enough to take some shots of the typography she spotted.

As expected, Gareth Hague’s custom typeface, Headline 2012, dominates the signage, though a bit surprisingly even shows up on the jumbotron (below) in animated LED form. It wouldn’t be a British event without Johnston  making an appearance on the wayfinding signage (above). Just as likely, Gill Sans Ultra Bold finds its way onto the daily program, but the Germans do manage to sneak in with some Futura (below).

Did you go to the London 2012 games? What typefaces did you spot?

Fontlympics Decathlon Wrap Up

A big hand to all the typefaces that participated in the now complete Fontlympics Decathlon. After all the ups and downs, what a surprise to see Jörg Hemker’s FF Sero emerge with the gold! Klavika’s strong lead held well into the second week until Wednesday’s Pull Quote, when FF Sero steadily pushed into first place. And in a tight match-up Thursday, Jackson Cavanaugh’s Alright Sans squeaked past Eric Olson’s Klavika in the Light Italic event, gaining second place by just ten points—only a tenth of a percentage point! So now with great pleasure we award each of our medalists for their best all-around performance, and thank you our readers for your enthusiastic and discriminating eye.

Special thanks to FF Chartwell and NBGrotesk for their impartial reporting during the games.

Fontlympics Decathlon Finale: Long Running Text

Before we get to the clincher, a short stop-in at yesterday’s results FF Sero overtakes Alright Sans by a small margin.


Now on to the final event, the Long Running Text. Select among the competitors below the face that reads best for longer passages. And remember, your vote could decide it all.

Polls close at midnight (Pacific). Check back here Monday for the full wrap-up, and thanks for reading.

Fontlympics Decathlon: Light Italic

After a quick look at FF Sero’s victory in yesterday’s Pull Quote, we’ll get right into today’s event: The Light Italic.

In its lighter weights, an italic can loosen up a bit and offer a fresh, distinct feel from the rest of the face while maintaining consistency. For today’s challenge, select the light italic shown that best accomplishes this task.

Polls close at midnight (Pacific). The final event of our Typographic Decathlon continues here tomorrow at 1pm.

DIY Fontlympics

Hopefully you’ve been enjoying our 2012 Fontlympics. With the event soon coming to a close (at least until the 2014 Winter Fontlympics, when Baseline FontsMegaflakes start falling), we wanted to point out some free assets and tools to help you build your own Fontlympics at home and on a budget.

First, don’t miss out on downloading Virus FontsJonathan Barnbrook’s Olympukes 2012 edition from our free fonts page. Read the interview with Barnbrook on The FontFeed, then build your own subversive competitions.

Next up, if you’re looking for an angular typeface on a budget for the background signage of your at-home games, try out Max Kisman’s FF Jacque from FontFont, a free download on

Finally, try testing out how other typefaces will fit into your games before you buy with the FontShop Plugin for Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. See how over 150,000 fonts look in your mockups with this free tool.

Get inspiration for your events from our blog posts, recent newsletters, Pinterest board and Twitter hashtag #fontlympics. We’d love to hear how your competitions turn out! Let us know in the comments.

Fontlympics Decathlon: The Pull Quote

And we’re back. Today’s event is the Pull Quote, but first a look at the scores from yesterday’s Superscript Throw:

Pull quotes are designed to pull the reader into longer texts, by offering up a particularly juicy bit of copy at a contrasting size or style, or by some other means of compositional contrast. For today’s challenge, select the face that best gets the reader’s attention and causes them to move on to the [not here presented] text of the story.

Polls close at midnight (Pacific). The next event in our Typographic Decathlon continues here tomorrow at 1pm.

Fontlympic Decathlon: Superscript Throw

Now rounding the curve into its final week, the Fontlympic Decathlon continues—taking the typographic acumen of you, our readers, and putting it to work to judge five faces competing for best all-around performance. Today’s event is the Superscript throw, but first a look at the scores from yesterday’s Dashes Competition:

Superscript figures are not merely figures that have been reduced and baseline shifted. They are drawn at size, with stroke weights that harmonize with the rest of the face. (Phony software-generated superscripts are easy to detect; They’re always too light and create a weak spot on the page.) To prevent fake superscripts, always select superscript from the OpenType panel, or hand set it from the Glyph palette. If you need a superscript, but the typeface you’re working with doesn’t have it, it’s time for some better type. Speaking of—choose from these pro faces the one whose superscript works best with the rest of the face.

Polls close at midnight (Pacific). The next event in our Typographic Decathlon continues here tomorrow at 1pm.

Fontlympic Decathlon: The Dash

Our Decathlon continues with its sixth event, but first we’ll wrap up last week’s portion of the competition. A look at the scores from Friday’s Short Copy Text Competition:

Which leads us to our midweek standings (click image below for larger view). Eric Olson’s Klavika holds an impressive lead, but  Jackson Cavanaugh’s Alright Sans is battling it out with  Jörg Hemker’s FF Sero in the second and third slots. It’s still any typeface’s game as we head into the final five events.

Now on to hurdling these typefaces through em dashes, en dashes and hyphens. Deemed as the “spork of English grammar” by Mental Floss, the em dash (the width of capital ‘M’) can serve a variety of purposes in long strings of text — serving in place of other grammatical marks or breaking up the tone of your sentence. A bit harder to spot (and named after the width of the capital ‘N’), the en dash shows numerical ranges and can be used as a storied hyphen (when the second part of the hyphenated phrase has more than one word). Hyphens, of course, are a handy tool to join compound words and assist in multi-line text justification.

Polls close at midnight (Pacific). The next event in our Typographic Decathlon continues here tomorrow at 1pm.

Fontlympic Decathlon: Short Copy

Our Fontlympic Decathlon continues, but first a look at the scores from yesterday’s Stacking Competition:

Short bursts of text adorn the traffic sign, the report cover or film poster, in sum, anywhere attention is limited and just a small thought has space to be uttered. Select the competitor below that conveys its short bit of copy best.

Polls close at midnight (Pacific). The next event in our Typographic Decathlon continues here Monday at 1pm.

Fontlympic Decathlon: Stacking

Our Fontlympic Decathlon continues with its fourth event, but first a look at the scores from yesterday’s Weight Competition:

Stacking well is a tough challenge for a face. Its ascenders and descenders have to fit together just so, or retract in order to cause as small a disruption as possible from one line to the next. Choose from the competitors the face that stacks best.

Polls close at midnight (Pacific). The next event in our Typographic Decathlon continues here tomorrow at 1pm.

Fontlympic Decathlon: Weight

Our Fontlympic Decathlon continues, but first a look at the scores from yesterday’s Kern Competition:

When designing a face, adding weight can cause serious side effects. A cool, stern text face easily grows chummy or gets compositionally out of hand. Great pains are therefore taken to ensure that a typeface maintains a consistent tone across weights. Select from the below competitors the face that best carries its weight, while sustaining the feel for which it’s known.

Polls close at midnight (Pacific). The next event in our Typographic Decathlon continues here tomorrow at 1pm.

Fontlympic Decathlon: The Kern

Our Fontlympic Decathlon continues, but first, yesterday’s results:

Now on to today’s event. Kerns are adjustments in spacing made to specific pairs of letters. Some letter pairs, due to the nature of their forms, tend to crash or trap too much whitespace when juxtaposed. Look at the following samples and select the one that exhibits the best overall spacing, keeping in mind that sometimes the best kerns are the ones that don’t exist.

Polls close at midnight (Pacific). The next event in our Typographic Decathlon continues here tomorrow at 1pm.

Fontlympic Decathlon: Headline

This week and next our Fontlympic coverage turns to the Typographic Decathlon, beginning today with the Headline event. Five contenders test their ability in a series of challenges ranging from the sprint—to the long running text.

Competing for the top spots are  Jackson Cavanaugh’s Alright SansEric Olson’s Klavika, Michael Abbink’s FF MiloChristian Schwartz’s Neue Haas Grotesk, and Jörg Hemker’s FF Sero. As each face is put through its paces, one will emerge as the best performer all-around.

That’s where you come in.

Using your typographic eye and best judgment, select the face that best completes the challenge.

Polls will remain open until midnight tonight, Pacific. Responses will be tallied and points awarded daily. The next event begins here in 24 hours.

Don’t Miss the Fontlympics!

We hear there’s some big event kicking off in London this Friday (no, not TYPO London – but you can win a conference ticket for October 19-20). Getting in the spirit of international competition, we’re holding a coinciding event – The 2012 Fontlympics — a celebration of fonts and their many feats!

Catch a preview in last week’s newsletter and make sure to subscribe to future issues to catch all of the events. Watch our TwitterFacebook, and Pinterest as we spotlight our typographic competitors over the 16 days of the games. And you will not want to miss staying tuned to the blog for a special interactive competition.

That’s right, beginning Monday, July 30 and ending Friday, August 10 the FontShop blog will host the Fontlympic Decathlon, pitting five typefaces against each other throughout 10 events. Vote each weekday for the best face in each event and help us determine the best all-around typeface.

Let the games begin!


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