Design

The Best Fonts to Use with the Scandinavian Alphabet

I honestly couldn’t imagine putting together a more pretentious article than: “My favourite minimalist fonts”. But as much as I try to pretend that I don’t drool over a nice slab serif, it’s time to face facts: I am one of those people. I really love typography. “More than life” is the somewhat concerning evaluation of my sister when I asked her if I actually did love typographical design quite that much.

Typography was something that I noticed from a young age. My first love was Dom Casual when it eased my through my first poetry recital. The labels on my school books were the height of avant-guarde cool thanks to Wingdings 3.0. Soon afterwards, I joyfully upgraded from Office 95 fonts to the seemingly endless possibilities of Office 97. As much as I like Matisse ITC, I didn’t want my teachers to think I was an anarchist. These were exciting times for an 11-year-old.

As I grew up, the font patterns emerged. Frutiger is used in almost every airport. Indian restaurant menus favor Trajan Pro. Danish hairdressers and locksmiths across the country have united in using white Broadway on black background on every sign (and I have no idea why). Lately, Brandon Grotesque has become the hit sensation and we’re loving it!

Fonts are a way to personify our words, giving even the most mundane text a layer of visual meaning. There is a personality in every typeface. Consequently, there are certain fonts that capture the Scandinavian personality: clean, functional, beautiful, quirky as hell. But alas, not all fonts embrace the Scandi alphabet with it’s å, æ and ø possibilities (I’m looking at you Governor). Here are my top picks of fonts for the Scandinavian alphabet:

 

Avenir

Very simple. Very Scandi.

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Avenir

 

Fonts similar to Avenir

 

 
 

Boing

Playtype is a Copenhagen foundry and a concept store founded by e-Types. You can buy their fonts online, or visit their store in Vesterbro to revel in their typographic goodness.

boing

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Boing

 
 
 

Caslon

This typeface looks both incredibly modern but also classic. No, it doesn’t originate in Scandianvia, but it has certainly be favoured in older editions by Gydendal Publishing.

Guess what font you’re reading right now? You guessed it: Caslon. It’s definitely my favourite serif font. If you’re looking for a classic font that’s similar to Times New Roman with an edge, Caslon is you’re best bet. The typeface has been around since the late 1600s, and will be likely to hang around for years to come. Long live Caslon!

caslon

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Caslon

 

Caslon was used in the famous edition of Byrne’s Euclid, published by William Pickering in 1847:

 

 
 

Elephant

Move over Futura, this font is my new standard sans serif. I discovered it when learning about Bouvetøya, a remote Norwegian Island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

If you’re into graphics and strange remote islands, the Bouvetoya: A Cultural History of an Isolated Landmass book is not only a beautiful book, it’s a fascinating read.

elephant

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Elephant

 

 
 
 

Fugue

This is probably the sexiest font in town. I remember texting my friend: “I can’t stop looking at this font. This font is my everything.” I finally purchased the font as the 30th birthday present for myself. I don’t know why I’m telling you these embarrassing details about myself. Unfortunately the “I” leans too hard towards a serif font, and the “J” leans to hard towards nothing, but otherwise an excellent typeface.

fugue

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Fugue

 

 
 

Inter

An elegant font created by Rasmus Andersson, a Swedish designer and programmer based in San Fransisco. Designed for screens, the font is highly readable and, I guess, cool. Best of all, Inter is a free and open source font family, so you’re free to use it in almost any way imaginable!

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Inter

 
 
 

Other Fonts We Use on This Website

Generally on Scandinavia Standard, our go-to font for headings is Plantin, but otherwise we use Adobe Caslon, and Futura for small headings.

Occasionally, we use Fugue for graphical elements. And in case you’re interested, the Scandinavia Standard logo is based on Austin, with customised letters.

 

Curious about Scandinavian design? Discover more!

 
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