Greek typefaces worth studying

My list below is not exhaustive, and is mostly focused on text-intensive typefaces, and is limited by the ones I have had time to examine more closely. Updates at the bottom of the page.

From previous typemaking technologies: the Didot Greeks, which defined the contemporary modulated-stroke style (converted into Monotype Series 90); and the Monotype hot metal monoline / low contrast Greeks, which were models for Greek adaptations of Latin sans serifs.
(I omit on purpose the first batch of phototypesetting Greek typefaces, which were intentionally “Latinised”.)

Contemporary digital typefaces to look at:

  • the ClearType families: the Greeks in all are good enough, but Gary Munch’s Candara is a superb example of fresh thinking.
  • Robert Slimbach’s modulated Greeks: Garamond Premiere Pro offers a re-interpretation of a historical standard; Arno Pro, a versatile update of a calligraphy-inspired family, and the relatively new Adobe Text Pro (which always makes me think “This is what Times Greek should look like!”).
  • Jeremy Tankard’s Greek typefaces: his Bliss Pro (as well as the CT Corbel) are exemplary low-modulation Greeks.
  • Peter Bilak’s Fedra Greeks (the family is massive, and in the serif styles I strongly prefer Serif B over A). The extensive weights and styles of Fedra have made it extremely popular within Greece in recent years, mostly in newspapers and magazines.
  • Hoefler & Frere-Jones’ Whitney Greek, a very good example of a Greek extension to a successful Latin family
  • Jovica Veljovic’s Agmena Pro, an exceptional adaptation of traditional styles to contemporary typographic needs, with an innovative take on writing-inspired ligatures.
  • John Hudson’s Brill typeface (2011): an exceptional interpretation of historical influences to a contemporary text-intensive brief for mixed-script use. Free for non-commercial use. (Also, John’s SBL Greek is probably the best updating of the traditional Didot style, with a twist. It has a massive character set, but unfortunately only one weight. It is a free download.)

Update late 2015

Notable recent Greek typefaces that are good examples, three by Irene Vlachou, and two by Toshi Omagari:

Type-Together Marco

• Typographies Colvert Greek

Type-Together Literata

Monotype Haas Unica Greek

Update late 2020

A few more Greek typefaces worth looking into (n.b. it is increasingly difficult to keep track of what’s been published, as more people are doing very competent work):

• Adobe’s Source Sans Pro and Source Serif Pro families (With regard to Greek, these two are very good examples of wide-use open-license fonts, unlike some other high-profile families, which are anywhere between mediocre and terrible.)

Alegreya and Alegreya Sans by Huerta Tipográfica

• Production Type Stratos and Proto Collection (by Irene Vlachou for PT: scroll down for the PDF specimens, the on-screen type testers do not show Greek)

Oi, a masterful extra-bold by Kostas Bartsokas (whose work includes Eqil, an award-winning typeface that will be published in the near future)

You will have noticed that Irene Vlachou’s work features heavily here; much of her work is consultancy that is uncredited publicly, but is evident in notable OEM/System fonts.