This year I have made an advent calendar of my favourite typefaces. These are coupled with a colour flow, picking the second colour to go into the next frame. I’ve also picked up words beginning ‘Advent’. I love words, especially when you pick at them – there weren’t quite enough for the 24 days, but, despite their same beginnings, they mean so many different things.

Here is a video of the complete sequence – hope you like it!

Day 1. Rockwell

I have often put it forward as a font choice in a logo design, because, as one of the classic slab-serifs it is solid and great to play around with down to its lovely brick-iness.

I was pleased to see abcam pick it up a few years ago.. am pretty sure I would have put it forward when we designed their first logo, when they went with the equally lovely Franklin Gothic!

Having a play with the word ‘advent’ – let’s go on an advent-ure!

Black & red colour combo – nice and shouty

Day 2. Cooper Black

I love Cooper Black, resonating a late-1960s/early-1970s style from Bowie album covers to Dad’s Army titles – it’s so unique and that makes it difficult to use.

For the advent-urousness!

Red & blue, for a corporate vibe.

Day 3. Garamond

What’s not to like? A beautiful ‘classic’ font – and so it’s been recut a lot. Stempel was my favourite for heavy print text, ‘3’ more elegant for display, and hurrah- now ‘EB’ redrawn for the screen.

No longer advent-ive for the screen

Blue & pink for a friendly vibe.

Day 4. OCR-B

This has been on my stationery FOREVER.

It is THE most legible font at small sizes that I know. An optical character recognition font designed for humans from the original OCR-A in 1968 by the master of type, Adrian Frutiger.

Advent-urism – risky business.

Pink to green for a fun vibe.

Day 5. Avant Garde

Totally gorgeous. I have used it a few times in logotypes because it is so friendly and airy. The font rolled out from a logo designed in the 70s for the Avant Garde magazine by Herb Lubalin.

Advent-itious- happenchance.

Lime green to dark green for a natural vibe.

Day 6. Bauhaus

Based on the 1920s Bauhaus aim to unify design into an idealistic form, combining function with aesthetics and Herbert Bayer’s 1925 typeface ‘Universal’. Bauhaus immediately conjures up images of a Wassily chair, Gropius buildings and Mondrian art, the movements.

Advent-itia- coming from outside, external.

Dark green to orange for abundance & happiness.

Day 7. Bodoni

Looks modern doesn’t it! But first designed in the 1700s. A ‘modern’ serif or Didone design font. Although there are body text cuts, its best used as a display font as the thick verticals draw the eye which struggles to then read the letter defining thinner strokes – that’s called ‘dazzle’,
Advent-uresome- daring!

Orange to purple for full on creative luxury.

Day 8. Rawson

A new-ish font designed by Alfonso García and Latinotype Team, who make some pretty darned good funky fonts. New fonts are designed to work across all media from the get-go, so great for branding.

Advent-urism- improv!

Purple to yellow complementary, clashing in you don’t colour safely.

Day 9. Copperplate

Designed by Goudy (yes that’s a font too!) over 100 years ago, there’s no mistaking this Gothic wedge serif. I always think of it as the archetypal Victorian letterpress business card font.

Advent-urer- have calling card, will travel!

Yellow to Indigo – uplifting, spiritual. Smiley.

Day 10. Stencil

Designed a century ago twice, by Middleton and Gerry Powell, it is the go-to font for anything military, but also fits perfectly for The Home Depot and non-branding branding for Jerry Springer.

Advent-urist- no risks barred.

Indigo to light blue – calm, corporate.

Day 11. Gill Sans

Designed by Eric Gill (Monotype 1928). Look familiar? It’s based on Edward Johnston’s 1916 “Underground Alphabet”, the corporate font of London Underground, a much copied Humanist font.

Advent-itiously – unexpected.

Light blue to orange – for a real buzz.

Day 12. Franklin Gothic

Designed in 1904 by Morris Fuller Benton in one weight – this ‘Heavy’ cut not appearing until 1979, designed by Victor Caruso. Use for the first logo I designed for abcam.

Advent-ure – the story of start-ups,

Orange to brown – great things happen when you multiply and overlap.

Day 13. Meridien

Designed in 1957 by Adrian Frutiger – possibly the king of type. This wedge-serif has sharp, exaggerated serifs, perfect for body text with character.

Advent-s – arrivals.

Brown to dark pink – yummy and chocolately.

Day 14. Eras

Eras designed by Albert Boton & Albert Hollenstein in 1976, a humanist sans-serif typeface has an italic, forward-moving feel with its 3˚ tilt, it’s been the star for a few logos of mine.

Advent-ureful – given to adventure.

Dark pink to red – buzzing with the different weights multiplying.

Day 15. Sabon

Sabon designed by Jan Tschichold (1960s) based on the work of Garamond (c 15th), used by Cambridge University. The mark of a good book font is that it is easy on the eye, so information goes straight to the brain.

Advent-urous – risk taker.

Red to green – used by Matisse to make colours dance where they meet. Not one for the colour blind. Very Xmassy!

Day 16. Modern No. 20

Modern No. 20 designed by Stephenson Blake (1905) re-cut by Edward Benguiat (1955) a ‘didone’ typeface. Back in fashion now that digital typefaces are made good for online use.

Advent-uress – female seeks excitement (that’s me – open for new design adventures!)

Green to purple – wham bam suffragette.

Day 17. Futura

Futura designed by designed by Paul Renner (1927) in the spirit of Bauhaus and lovely if you want a font that feels ‘rounded’. Superbly legible and full of expression. Used by Nike, Fedex, D&G, Omega.

Advent-ured – explore your type.

Purple to pale blue – relaxing & dreamy -punchy when they’re mixed.

Day 18. Verdana

Verdana (verd-ant) designed by Matthew Carter for Microsoft (1996) a humanist font designed to be readable at small sizes on the low-res screens and so became a font of choice (along with Trebuchet & Georgia) for many websites.

Advent-itia- protective connective tissue.

Pale blue to light teal – dive in, it’s warm in here.

Day 19. Zapf Dingbats

Zapf Dingbats is a Pi or pictogram, ornament, a font without letters and numbers, a glyph only font designed by Herman Zapf (1977) and originally one of 35 PostScript fonts built into Apple’s Laserwriter plus. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve used one of these symbols, you will have too if you’ve ever written a bullet list or needed peace sign, star or a snowflake.

Cult ref: music magazine Ray Gun, printed an interview with Bryan Ferry in Zapf Dingbats (1994) …because it was so boring!

Advent – I’ve been playing with the word, it means so many different things.

Teal to lime – analogous refreshingly optimistic, even when mixed.

Day 20. American Typewriter

American Typewriter designed by Joel Kaden and Tony Stan (1974) a slab serif, with proportional letter spacing, used most famously in the I Love New York (I ♥ NY) logo by Milton Glaser

Advent-ure – the story of start-ups and pivots.

Lime to ruby red – zesty passion, for the brave.

Day 21. Impact

Impact designed by Geoffrey Lee (1965), is one of the last typefaces released in metal by Stephenson Blake foundry, acquired by Monotype, licensed to Microsoft, it’s been ‘free’ to use since Windows 98. Ever posted a meme? Impact was probably the typeface used because it’s easy to read, like a newspaper headline.

Advent-itious- happenchance.

Red to orange – passion, creativity, feisty, shouty.

Day 22. Rosewood

Rosewood from Adobe (1994) is based on Clarendon and modeled after a “Chromatic” (multi-coloured) design from William Page (1874) (1866). So, you get two fonts to play with. It’s hugely decorative and resonate of an era, so had to use in everyday use, but quite beautiful.

Advent-urous – like a wild west pioneer.

Orange to purple – controversial, intuitive, plush.

Day 23. Helvetica

Helvetica designed by Max Miedinger and Eduard Hoffmann (1957/60) a neo-grotesque font influenced by Akzidenz-Grotesk (1890). Prolifically used because it’s so damn beautiful.

Advent-a – about to arrive – are we there yet?

Purple to white – floral and suffragette.

Day 24. Neo

Neo Sans designed by Seb Lester (1994) a ‘versatile, futuristic typeface that didn’t look “crude, gimmicky or ephemeral” (Monotype). I have been using it in my logo for a number of years because I love its friendly feel. For online use I found similar web font called ‘Titillium’ that I use too.

Advent – arrival!

White to black – straightforward. As it’s Christmas – add some festive red and green!