What makes a font popular?
I keep wondering.... what is the ... X-factor for a font. Is it just making good kerning? What about grungy fonts where kerning isn't really that good?...
What do you think?
if you ever find an answer ti this, please tell us !!
I guess it's called the X factor because it can't be quantified. I don't think kerning is the most important thing as most of the fonts here would be used for small amounts of text where kerning would be done by hand anyway.
For me, if I see a font I like, it gives me a nice warm feeling inside and a little flutter of exitement, like when you suddenly come across a beautiful sunset. There's something about the balance, the flow of the letters, their unity, the patterns they make together. And with so many fonts around these days, there has to be something that surprises but works, something a litte bit unusual.
you should add the taste of anyone or the trend of the moment
Being on the front page of dafont helps.
I'd say timing and trends are the two most important factors in a fonts popularity with the masses.
Until recently, Most of the fonts I'm most proud of making and put the most time and care into, are no where near the most downloaded! haha.
Larry E Yerkes
I spent one weekend designing and kerning Rough Typewriter. It's downloaded 500 to 1000 times a day, generally.
I spent over a month on Clementine, trying to make it look hand drawn, and it gets downloaded a few times a week.
I think the most important thing for a font is what's popular right now.
And that's GRUNGE.
Rough typewriter is gorgeous. And maybe you based it on a font that someone spent longer than a weekend making?
Even in grunge I think there are more popular fonts... what makes these one special?
I think what truly makes a font popular is a balance between originality and usability. and being in the top 10 fonts or on page 1.
I spent maybe a week on Blog The Impaler and Oakland Hills 1991 but they dont get downloaded nearly as much as Take Out The Garbage, which took me like 20 minutes to do. So despite the originality of a 3D flaming Block Serif font, it doesnt lend itself to many applications. Brutal Tooth on the other hand is now the logo font of choice for crappy Death Metal bands all over the world. (not that I've seen much in the way of donations for it either)
Pee Pants was in the top 5 for a couple months, #1 for most of it. Then a new batch of fonts came out and wham, page 60. seeing similar with Ghetto Marquee now too. Thanks dafont for the 15 minutes.
@JasonArthur I cant even imagine spending more than a few days, let alone a month on a font. Kudos for the dedication.
I haven't kept track of the statistics, but to me it seemed that the downloads of The Art of Illuminating took a leap just before Xmas so at least some fonts are seasonal.
The font of mine that I see the most often (by a huge margin) is Convalescence. I designed it during my second year of high school in 2005, and I spent all of 3 hours on it. I see it everywhere.
I think what made that font so popular is that there really aren't any fonts that look like it does. Convalescence is the go-to font for runny, splattered letters. That was the exact reason I designed it (I'm using the word "designed" generously). However I'm not too proud of it, it's not particularly "good", and yet I see it everywhere. From First To Last used it, A Black Rose Burial used it, I've seen it on TV, in Hot Topic catalogs, I could go on and on. Whenever I see it, I know that whoever designed whatever it is on was lazy about doing so.
I worked forever on Neuton, and I haven't seen it used yet! Though it has been featured on a couple blogs, and it's (at the moment) on page 1 of the Basic/Serif page. Don't know how long that'll last.
I think quality is a factor for fonts people pay for, mostly. Because, if the high quality free fonts were the most popular ones, well I think the top fonts on here would look a little different. But it really depends on what you consider "quality", like what an experienced graphic designer, who studied in school, and does product branding for work, probably would consider quality to be a different thing than teenagers making posters. Yet I think there's a quality to that. And so it might be what is the most useful. For most free font users, their use will probably be for posters, or tshirts, or bands, or anything that's used in short spurts of texg. So trends would play a large role because of that.
Also, I should note that grunge has been the trend since some time in the eighties, though it's been more or less popular at times.
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