Which One Font Would You Take to a Desert Island?

Question: What is your favorite font?

Khoi Vinh: I guess if there was a desert island scenario and I only could take one font with me, I guess it would be Helvetica, though it has it's limitations, I think it's incredibly versatile and gets the job done and I also think it's one of the typefaces that will really survive the test of time beyond the next several decades if not into the next century.  I think there's just something that really done right when that typeface is put together and not just that, I think the conversation that sort of grew around Helvetica in the past five years ago has really solidified it as a timeless classic.  So, that's the one I would take with me.  It's certainly not the only one, but if pressed, that would be the one. 

Question: Besides the Times, which publications’ Web design do you admire the most?

Khoi Vinh: Well, I think our colleagues over at The Guardian are doing a really great job with their new presentation.  And I think the art director over there, he's Mark Porter.  Mark Porter at The Guardian is doing a terrific job with the new presentation.  He's a guy who came from a print background, he was art director for a newspaper for a long time and what I really like about that example is he was quite modest in coming to the web and really understood that it required him to really immerse himself for a year, if not for several years to get the medium and the results are really, really quite amazing. It's a very nicely controlled, evenly sort of executed news experience over there that at the same time really respects user's needs and goals and responds to them.  I think that's terrific. 

At the same time, I think they have a different economic situation than the Times does, which I am quite jealous of.  They don't have to accommodate the advertising units that we do, so part of that is jealousy. 

I also think over at NYMag.com, New York magazine's site, I think Ian Adelman, the design director there is doing a really terrific job making a site that's not that different from ours, but I think is infused with a lot more sort of playfulness than the Times is, and has just done a terrific job over the past few years creating a site that's really full of character and I think really accurately translates the personality of the print magazine to the web without being slavish to the print side.

Recorded on March 3, 2010
Interviewed by Austin \r\nAllen

\r\n

The NYTimes.com designer talks favorite fonts and websites.

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