Too Many Myriads

I love Myriad Pro from Adobe, but jeez… I’m getting tired of it. It’s an Adobe Original, first released back in 1992, though it didn’t really bubble up to my consciousness until it started shipping with InDesign and the Creative Suite. Before that it was just “look at that cool font that Apple started using!”

Myriad is a cool font for so many reasons — it is more precise and sharp than the kinda-floppy Frutiger; it comes in lots of weights so it can be used in so many different places; it can be right up in your face and yet remains friendly. But as great as it is, it’s not for everything. I suppose that’s obvious; no font is good for everything. But some fonts everyone knows are not for everything, and other fonts people easily forget they’re not for everything. So I’m writing just to remind myself and everyone around me: Myriad is not for everything.

This really hit me after seeing a truly brilliant “fake trailer” for the movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

The person who made this did an awesome job with one exception: Myriad is such the wrong font for this!

myriad in credits

A font expresses emotion and feeling. It’s important to try out a bunch of them and see what feels right. Here are some others the maker of the video might have considered:






Those were, in order, Blackmoor, Charlemagne Std, Monotype Corsiva, Hiroshige, and Perpetua. Of course there are easily a couple dozen more fonts that might have fit even better. But you get the idea: each font has a different sense to it, a different unconsious meaning or connotation. Seeing the wrong font is like watching someone say yes while shaking their head, or no when nodding — the non-verbal cues cancel out the verbal ones and leave the viewer just confused.

But, since we’re all going to still be using Myriad, here are some great posts elsewhere on you should check out:



Posted on: September 12, 2013

David Blatner

David Blatner is the author or co-author of 15 books, including Real World InDesign, Spectrums: Our Mind-Boggling Universe From Infinitesimal to Infinity, and The Joy of Pi. He is also the author of InDesign Essential Training and the InDesign Insider Training titles at David is the co-host of InDesignSecrets and PePcon: The Print + ePublishing Conference, and is the co-founder of Creative Publishing Network.

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