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10 classic fonts you should know

October 5, 2016

Why are classic fonts so popular?


There’s just one answer to this: Classic fonts are timeless. Most classic fonts were created in the 18th and 19th centuries and are still popular today. You can find classic fonts in logo design, advertisements, or the newspaper. Many of them are already on our computers. We use them every day. Our eyes are even trained to recognize them immediately upon seeing and I am sure you will recognize some on this list too.




10 classic fonts you should know


classic fonts: helvetica and times new roman




Helvetica is a sans-serif typeface and one of the most used classic typefaces today. Designed by Max Miedinger and Eduard Hoffmann in 1957 it quickly gained popularity because of its neutral and simple look (a trend at this time). Over the years many styles were added like Narrow, Light, and Rounded. The classic look makes it versatile and liked by many designers.


Times New Roman


Times New Roman, a serif typeface, was originally created by Victor Lardent for the British newspaper The Times in 1931. Today it is still popular in the print industry and used for newspapers and books because of its good readability.

classic fonts: futura and garamond




Futura is my personal all-time favorite. Designed by Paul Renner in 1927. It is based on the geometric shapes that are found in Bauhaus style designs of that time. I call it a modern classic.


Adobe Garamond


Adobe Garamond, designed by Robert Slimbach in 1989, strongly resembles the original typeface Garamond created in the 16th century. The striking characteristics make this typeface easily recognizable and the good readability ensures its frequent use in body text.




Optima is a sans-serif typeface although its characters come very close to serif typefaces. Created by Hermann Zapf between 1952-55, who was inspired by Roman and Italian stone carving. Optima is a great typeface to use in logo design. Read more about fonts in logo design >>




Bodoni is another one of those timeless classics. Named after its designer Giambattista Bodoni and designed in the late 18th century. The Bodoni typeface is popular ever since. Bodoni received several updates over time. New variations like Bodoni Old Face and Poster Bodoni have been added. The typeface is popular in advertising because it is bold and eye-catching.





Trebuchet is a young typeface. Vincent Connare wanted to create a typeface for screen publication. He got his inspiration from motorway signage as well as old sans-serif typefaces such as Akzidenz Grotesk and Alternate Gothic. It’s one of Microsoft’s web fonts. The modern style makes it popular amongst web designers. 




Clarendon was designed by Robert Besley in 1845 and is the first registered typeface in history. It’s a slab-serif typeface, easy to distinguish from other serif typefaces because of its block-formed serifs. Many designers love to use Clarendon for displays.





Another geometric sans-serif typeface created by Adam Frutiger (creator of Frutiger typeface) in 1988. Frutiger added many variations which are sometimes only slightly different in weight. He explained his decision with the demand for “easy-to-read” typefaces. At the time, designers were looking for typefaces with clear lines. White text on a colored background was highly popular. This made Avenir the perfect typeface. 




The last on this list is another serif typeface. Baskerville, created by John Baskerville in 1757 to replace so-called old-style typefaces by changing the characters to be more regular than before. As the other serif typefaces, you can find the typeface most often in book design and other designs with long body texts.


What is your favorite font? Is it on the list? Let us know in the comments. Pin this post, you might need some inspiration for your next design project! Looking for free fonts? Read this post: 5 places to find free fonts



Leave a Reply

2 responses to “10 classic fonts you should know

  1. Huma

    I find it difficult to distinguish one from another. Remember which is which? No way! Is there a trick or explanation to it?
    Apart from following an instinct, it’s a mystery how to select the right font.
    Any guidelines?

    • Sandra @thatistheday

      It’s all in the details. Every font has different attributes from the thickness of a character to the dot on the “I” which make the difference. Knowing which font is which becomes easier the more you work with fonts. If you want to know more about choosing the right font for your project take a look at this post: