The many expressive voices of New York-based designer Chris Allen’s work are each framed by a laser-focused attention to detail. Be it identity design, interactive projects, or even type specimen work, every element of Chris’s work is considered — every piece of type is perfectly placed, each illustration precisely rendered. While Chris’s work is exacting, it also utilizes an economy of forms, delivering adroit, beautiful results without extraneous flourish. On top of that, the work also displays an eminently discerning eye for typography.

Design lead for hardware marketing at Google, Chris also sports a robust list of freelance clients, having worked with IBM, Target, IKEA, Sports Illustrated, and the United States Postal Service, amongst many others. In issue no. 5 of My Favorite Five, Chris shares insights into his work and process, as well as his trusted, go-to typefaces that you too can find right here on MyFonts:

Chris’s Favorite Five Typefaces

Akzidenz Grotesk® Pro


Typeface family of 30 weights

Check out Akzidenz Grotesk Pro

“The OG sans. Helvetica’s dad. Designed in 1896 and still looks incredible today, what else can you ask for? I prefer the lower x-height, circular counters and bowls and some of the terminals over the Helvetica family (compare the ‘S’). For display type, it’s all about that medium weight in sentence case.”

DIN Next™


Typeface family of 14 weights

Check out DIN Next

“The most versatile option on the list. You can use it for anything: headlines, copy, logotype, UI, signage, industrial and technical diagrams, etc. The ever-so-slightly rounded corners give it a nice feel on screens and at large sizes.”

Sweet Sans


Typeface family of eight weights

Check out Sweet Sans

“The ideal engraver’s sans; I prefer it to the Engravers Gothic, Sackers Gothic or Burin Sans type families for the range of weights and some of the refined details. Always legible at small sizes because of the open counters, and looks great with ample letter spacing.”

Antique Olive™


Typeface family of nine weights

Check out Antique Olive

“Perfect for advertising and posters (a la Air France), I love the old school feel with the modern and refined details. Nord and Nord Italic are the standouts, applied as big as possible and with negative letter-spacing. An excellent alternative for when the Gill Sans family feels a bit too quirky for certain applications, and surprisingly versatile for type that has so much personality to it.”



Typeface family of three weights

Check out Compacta

“A great option for yelling in all caps. There’s nice stylistic variety amongst the weights, which makes it flexible and helps create a solid hierarchy. Just throw an exclamation point on the end and you’re good to go.”


Chris’s work


“Design and art direction for Google’s hardware brand and site”


“A mix of logos from the last two years or so. Two of the marks are adapted from existing forms, the IBMblr bee from Paul Rand’s original rebus design (second row, far right) and the Ogilvy Professional Networks mark from a prior version with the center filled (third row, far right).”


“Custom typeface and applications for NASCAR’s 2016 ‘Ready. Set. Race’ campaign. The campaign, including the Hashtag 500 (a live Twitter race), received three CLIO awards, two Cannes Lions and a gold #Live award from the first-ever Twitter Awards.”


“A mix of posters from the last year. As you might’ve noticed… big fan of stripes, repeating elements and a strong grid.”


“A series of typeface specimens produced for, which also included the Helvetica, Frisans and Applied Sans type families.”


“Storefront mural for Target Express in College Park, MD featuring some of my favorite places and things. As a University of Maryland grad, this was one of my best projects to date.”


Chris’s go-to type tip

“Big fan of breaking the rules… but never a fan of letter-spacing on lowercase type. It’s been a sort of trend I’ve noticed with d o i n g  t h i s. Make it all caps before you go wild with the tracking. Just my 2¢!”


Find Chris on Dribbble, Instagram
and the Web

We want to know what you think

How do you like My Favorite Five so far? Who would you like to see featured? Interested in being featured yourself? Get in touch at [email protected] and let us know. And while you’re tweeting, use hashtag #MyFavoriteFive to let the world know what your favorite five go-to typefaces are. Stay tuned for our next issue!