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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. Some of them were created in the 18th and 19th century and are still popular. You can find classic fonts in logo design, advertisements, or the newspaper. Many of them are already preinstalled 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. It was 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, is admired for its resemblance to 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 often used 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. It was updated several times and many variations like Bodoni Old Face and Poster Bodoni were created. 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 was inspired by motorway signage as well as old sans-serif typefaces such as Akzidenz Grotesk and Alternate Gothic. Being one of Microsoft’s web fonts it is included in most of their products and used and liked by many designers for web but also for print design.




Clarendon was designed by Robert Besley in 1845 and is considered to be the first registered typeface. It’s a slab-serif typeface, easy to distinguish from other serif typefaces because of its block-formed serifs. Clarendon is often used 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 typefaces being better readable if a white text is put on a colored background. This makes Avenir a typeface often used in logo design.




Baskerville was designed by John Baskerville in 1757. The typeface was created to replaced so called old-style typefaces by changing the characters to be more regular than before. As the other serif typefaces, Baskerville is used 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


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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: