I'm a strategist and designer based New York who help brands grow by crafting distinctive brand identities, backed by strategy. Need help with your project?—Get in touch
As a graphic designer, your projects may require all kinds of different fonts.
Fonts play a key part in any type of graphic design work—they determine the aesthetics of a project.
What are the most popular fonts that professional graphic designers use?
To help you select your favorites, I’ve put together a massive list of 70 best fonts for your inspiration.
Remember—preparation is key to success, so even if you won’t be able to use them right away—be prepared with top quality fonts in your collection when the next project comes.Here’s my ultimate list of 70 essential fonts for designers, featuring top 10 in each category: sans-serif, serif, slab serif, display, script, signature and variable fonts.
*This collection was inspired by @kalypsodesigns Instagram Post (follow him on Instagram!).
The list includes the newest and latest fonts as well as classic and iconic typography.
Ps. Some of these fonts are free others are paid—be sure to check out the license before using them commercially.
In typography, a sans-serif fonts is one that does not have extending features called "serifs" at the end of strokes.
Sans Serif fonts are often used to convey simplicity and modernity or minimalism.
These fonts have are commonly used in logo design & branding due to the minimalistic forms and geometric shapes.
These fonts become the most used type of fonts for display of text on computer screens.
In fact, sans-serif fonts were invented for digital use because tiny serifs may often disappear or appear too large.
In print, they’re mostly used for display (headlines and subheads) and less for body text.
Many companies have adopted sans serif fonts as the basis of their new logos, including Google, Mircosoft, and Airbnb.
Branding and logo design in 2021 continues to be dominated by sans serif fonts.
In typography, serif is a small element attached to the end of a stroke in a letter within a particular font.
Serif fonts have a more ornamented design that gives off a natural, organic look.
They are generally easier to read because the serif extensions on letter strokes help guide the eyes to recognize words more clearly.
Serif fonts are often used in publications with larger blocks of written material, to make it easier for readers to absorb the content.
Most of them were invented originally for print, but more and more brands prefer to use unique serif fonts in their branding for clear differentiation.
Serif fonts are usually used for body text because they are easier to read in print than the above mentioned sans-serif fonts.
The popularity of serif fonts throughout history has helped them maintain a classic, traditional look ideal for books, formal invitations, poster design, or cover art.
Sans serifs tend to be the most beautiful fonts of all.
If serif is an extension of a stroke, then slab-serif is a thick, block-like extension—it’s basically a more prominent serif that deserves its own category.
Slab-serif fonts are intended to grab the reader's attention and make an emphasis.
The thick, block-like serifs of these fonts help to attract attention and convey a strong, confident look.
Slab serif fonts were also often used in typewriters and this tradition has translated for computer use as well.
Slab serifs can often be seen in headlines and titles—you can’t pass by without turning your head when seeing a slab serif.
Whether in a magazine article or an advertisement, on a signage or book cover, slab serif designs project solid style and confidence.
Designers use these fonts particularly for their ability to capture people’s interest, and for their legibility even from a distance.They are best suited for content with spacious layouts, as they aren’t as effective in cramped designs.
Display typefaces are specifically designed for large-format applications, such as billboards or posters; logotypes; headlines in magazines or websites; and book covers.
Display fonts transcend styles—they can be a serif, sans serif, slab serif and so on.
These have more eccentric designs to highlight content and help make brand material look unique.
Display fonts aren’t intended for bodies of text like in paragraphs or descriptions.
Instead, they’re more suitable for use for stand-alone applications, like headlines or a logo due to their expressive forms.
The advantages of using display fonts are that they’re less common and much easier to differentiate from other fonts.
Display fonts allow for easier brand recognition, and it can help people associate your business with a signature look.
They’re also often referred to as “weird fonts“, because these fonts are usually given a range of decorative features to make them look unique.
Script fonts simply mimic different handwriting styles to add a fluid, personal touch to any graphic design project.
Script fonts are designed to capture the artistry of traditional hand lettering and calligraphy.
They usually look as if written with a pen, brush, or a marker—having a wide variety of unique styles that portray classic look and feel.
By using these fonts, you can make your designs look distinct and sincere—a great way to add credibility to a composition.
They’re also often intended to provoke ideas of femininity, elegance, and creativity—commonly used in packaging and by consumer brands.
These are some of the best script fonts available on the market.
Script fonts can be successfully used for things like logos and slogans, light up signs (neons), and branding in general.
Just be sure to use them appropriately, as they can be less legible than standard fonts in most situations.
A subcategory of script, signature fonts also convey natural handwriting, but take on a more expressive range of motion like a signature.
Signature fonts can make any design look more personal and authentic.
They embrace inconsistencies to portray a more genuine version of personal penmanship, which adds to the natural look and elegant aura of the text.
Often used for email signatures, packaging, autographs, and special edition branding material, these fonts work best for names and short phrases.
They are also suitable for wedding invitations, greeting cards, or any other type of design where you need to convey authenticity or craftsmanship.Here’s my roundup of the 10 best signature fonts of all times.
As you can see, they aren’t the most legible fonts, so they’ll have to be used accordingly, but they provide a distinguished look unmatched by standard fonts.
The generous strokes and fluid motion create an aesthetic that is sure to catch people's attention.
As a bonus, I’ve included variable fonts here as well, to give you full flexibility in your graphic design work.
Variable fonts have the capability of storing features of several different types of fonts.
This allows designers to have full control over features such as weight, slant, optical size etc. when using these fonts for different graphic design work.
They’re most often used by web designers and developers, because the variable font technology helps optimize web pages for minimal latency and faster loading times.
While print media is usually enriched by a myriad of typographical styles, web design is typically scaled back, but variable fonts help to change that.
Here’s my list of the 10 best variable fonts for graphic design.
Fonts in this category are still relatively new compared to their more traditional counterparts, but the versatility that they bring is sure to make them popular in the near future.
With nearly everything moving towards web integration and online presence, variable fonts will only continue to grow in use and mass adoption.
Although time-consuming, choosing the perfect font for your project isn’t something that can be rushed.
Having a wide variety of different fonts at your disposal can save you valuable time during your creative process.
The tools you use define what you can create
Graphic design professionals always keep a collection of many of these fonts, and this allows them to be ready when the new design project comes along.
That way you can be more creative and have numerous options for logos, brand design, marketing material, and more.
So whether you’re just exploring, or looking to strengthen your collection with some quality fonts, my list provides you with the best of the best.
All the essential fonts you may need for a successful career in graphic design are listed in this article.
They are perfect for graphic designers, business owners, content creators, and anyone with a creative spirit.
Did I miss any of your go-to fonts?, What are the fonts that will end up in your collection?
I’d love to hear your feedback—leave a comment below.
Arek Dvornechuck is a strategist and designer who helps brands grow by crafting distinctive brand identities, backed by strategy. Need help with your project?—Get in touch
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