Greatest fonts countdown: 51 – Aperçu

We're counting down the 100 greatest typefaces in existence. Here is number 51...

FontShop AG, the renowned type foundry, conducted a survey based on historical relevance, sales at FontShop.com, and aesthetic quality. With a few additions from the experts at Creative Bloq and Computer Arts magazine, the best fonts ever were selected for the new book, 100 Best Typefaces Ever.

Here we are counting down the 100 greatest fonts, but you can read interviews with some of the typefaces' creators, a brief history of type, the anatomy of a font, and much, much more in the book – find out how to get your copy in print or digital formats at the foot of this post.

But without further ado, here's the 51st best typeface…

51. Aperçu

Australian magazine MADE Quarterly documents the work of modern makers, and uses Aperçu as it does so

The Colophon foundry was set up by designers Anthony Sheret and Edd Harrington, who are based in Brighton in the UK. Their studio, The Entente, typically designs identities, books, exhibition graphics and more, and along the way creates bespoke typefaces. Building upon this, some of the letter work they do gets turned into full, standalone typefaces, which are sold by Colophon.

They've made names for themselves, particularly with web designers looking for unique typefaces that can be practically applied online. Aperçu is a hugely popular example of just such a typeface. In 2009 the pair began designing and trialling the typeface, using it in certain commissions they were working on, before releasing it for sale in 2010. Their aim was to create a typeface approximating classic sans-serif humanist fonts like Johnston, Gill Sans, Neuzeit and Franklin Gothic. It currently comes in 12 families, and now includes a Roman serif version, and italics.

It has gone far beyond being a solid choice for web designers. Designers Hunt&Co has used it for the magazine for creatives, MADE Quarterly. The typeface has also been used by MoMA and Zeit Magazine. Of course, it also appears on plenty of websites.

Colophon has since released a Pro version with 530 characters per weight, supporting Central and East European languages, as well as Cyrillic alphabets. Could its popularity be an of-the-moment thing among web designers? Time will tell, but at the moment it sits at number 51 on our list.

This is an extract from The 100 Best Typefaces Ever, the definitive guide to the greatest fonts ever created, in association with FontShop AG.