Yesterday evening, on a train journey home, I was musing about the reading I need to line up over the summer. One of the subjects that jumped to the front of my mind was that of typography. After all these years studying data visualisation, an sufficient understanding of which typefaces are most effective and elegant for different purposes had so far eluded my attention and represented a gap in my knowledge. I've had no formal design training so every choice I make around typefaces is based largely on instinct.

And so I took to Twitter to undertake a crude, mini-survey to obtain feedback from followers on the fonts they perceive to be the best for a) displaying numbers and b) text items on a visualisation.

Strangely enough, the vast majority of responses I received said they didn't know and were more interested in what others were saying, which is why I decided to publish this post and start a discussion. So here is a summary of the responses:

For Numbers...


Helvetica Neue


Gills Sans



Lucida Sans

(I also received a suggestion for wingdings but we'll swifly move on...)

For Text...




Lucida Sans

[For titles] Adobe Jenson

I also received the wishilist below from follower Graham van de Ruit:

Anyway, I would love to hear more from people in the comments boxes about your own typeface choices so please feel free to contribute. I would also like to receive some tips on the best books/texts to learn more about the effective use of typefaces. So far I have come across this collection of books from Brainpickings.