Top 10 Professional Fonts for Designers

If you want to create designs that look iconic, a professional font is an important component of any successful graphic design project.

Professional designers know that in addition to geometrical shapes, signs, and symbols, the font is an integral part of their work, and it makes the whole composition. 

Typography is at the core of all branding material, and graphic designers spend a lot of time choosing the best fonts for their designs to look professional.

Every designer needs a solid set of professional fonts in their collection.

The fonts you end up using will go hand in hand with the company colors and logo.

With thousands of typefaces out there, choosing the right font to embody what a brand stands for can be a tough decision.

Fortunately, I’ve simplified the search by compiling a list of the top 10 professional fonts for designers.

Top 10 Professional Fonts

  1. Helvetica
  2. Futura
  3. Trajan
  4. Sabon
  5. Garamond
  6. Bodoni
  7. Rockwell
  8. Proxima Nova
  9. Frutiger
  10. FF DIN

Below, I go into some detail about what these fonts are all about, and show you some previews of how they look.

1. Helvetica

Helvetica is the go-to choice of professionals for its clean, confident look that is both legible and presentable.

Helvetica has a subtle look that effortlessly emphasizes content and catches the eye.

Many world-renowned companies use logos that are based on Helvetica—this is probably the most professional font of all times.

Helvetical Font
Helvetica font

Mike Parker, typographer, type designer, consultant, and historian was the creator of Helvetica font as we know it today.

Originally designed in Switzerland, the Helvetica typeface has a long history of adoption and evolution, with over 50 years of use and a quick rise to become the most popular sans serif in the world.

It has always been a ubiquitous and versatile font because of its numerous weights, widths, and sizes.

The clarity and neutrality of this font made public and governmental institutions rely on it in their documents and signage, e.g. the New York subway system.

The collection includes 34 variations to suit all your needs, from more condensed versions to more rounded.

Being one of the most prolific font styles in modern-day typography, it can be seen as the foundation of many brand logos, including: Jeep, Panasonic, Microsoft, Lufthansa, American Apparel, Nestlé, and many more.

Helvetica is widely used by graphic designers for print work and signage, because of its high legibility and easily recognizable look.

2. Futura

This historic font continues to be a popular typographic choice to express strength, elegance, and conceptual clarity.

Futura has always been able to portray form and order, with an extra hint of creativity.

Presented in 1928, Futura is considered to have been born out of the iconic Bauhaus movement in Germany, and it’s been used all over the world ever since.

Futura Font
Futura font

Designed in 1927 by Paul Renner, the original drawings were based on classic geometric forms like circles, triangles, and squares.

Its look, and its name, earned it the right to be a striking futuristic typeface back then, and it has since been adopted globally as a timeless blend of modern design and tasteful forms.

You can use Futura to achieve the maximum in a limited space: logos, slogans, corporate typefaces, and books with a need for a small text.

Based on geometric shapes, such as circles, triangles, and squares, Futura helps the text to look perfect.

Futura was named "the typeface of today and tomorrow" due to its spirit of modernity.

Some designers dislike the font, but for many, it became an integral part of their graphic design experience.

World-famous brands, such as Nike, Supreme, Gillette, PayPal, Red Bull, and many others use Futura font versions in their logotypes.

The font is extremely widespread in film and video making industries.

Due to its ability to be captured and recognized quickly, transport is the other area of its use, for example, Mercedes-Benz panel graphics and Boeing airliners’ cockpit controls exploit the font.

With the font family including 22 different versions, it remains a versatile typeface suitable for many different situations.

Graphic designers turn to Futura for an aesthetic that looks strong, innovative, and orderly.

3. Trajan

Trajan is extensively used in the film-making industry, especially it is known due to numerous Hollywood movie posters.

A symbolic existence in society, religion, law, and class characterizes the Trajan typeface.

The old-style serif typeface, Trajan was developed for the purpose of Adobe by Carol Twombly in 1989.

Trajan font

The font creator got her inspiration from Trajan’s Column where Roman square capitals were inscribed.

Trajan design was improved by numerals and punctuation, and bolder versions.

It's fascinating that Twombly`s ancient style interpretation gave the world a font family whose clarity and beauty ornament not only printed materials but is extensively used in digital design projects.

Take into account that Trajan was created for display in large sizes that's why pay special attention when you use it in print.

4. Sabon

Known best for its characteristic narrow "f" in italics, this font type is widely used in books and printouts for its soft, easy on the eyes look.

The iconic Sabon font manages to be legible without having a monotonous look.

Sabon is an old-style serif typeface designed by the German-born typographer and designer Jan Tschichold who wanted to create a font with curves that keep readers engaged, but without straining the eyes.

Sabon Font
Sabon font

A new take on the classical Roman font, it was designed in the early 1960s to be better fit for Linotype casting machines.

Since then, it has become a favorite of typographers, authors, and graphic designers alike for its smooth texture and pleasant serifs.

The gentle curves of the serifs help naturally guide the eyes from one letter to the next, and from word to word, and this is evident even more in the iconic italic styles.

This classic typeface is best for body text—a relatively faithful, organic book typeface strongly rooted in tradition

Sabon was used in the 2000s as the official logo typeface of Stanford University until 2012.

This typeface is also used by Örebro University, together with another typeface Trade Gothic.

Also Vogue and Esquire use a slightly modified version of Sabon for headlines.

The Sabon font family comes in 4 different styles and has support for up to 19 different character sets.

Sabon's popularity has transcended its origin as a commission to fit a tight set of business requirements.

5. Garamond

Introduced at the Paris World’s Fair in 1900, Garamond is one of the most famous fonts in the world.

Garamond is an elegant serif font with fine, precise edges and natural looking curves.

Garamond is ideal for magazines, websites, and textbooks, and is used by designers for all kinds of creative graphics.

Garamond Font
Garamond font

Named after Claude Garamond and based on his alphabet, along with the work of Jean Jannon, the font was derived from Italian font forms and stylized to be more elegant and clear.

This typeface has characteristics of the Transitional style, and was one of the main fonts to embrace a combination of classic and modern elements during its time.

Despite having lots of versions, the Adobe ITC Garamond, designed in 1989, is the most popular font version.

Garamond`s brilliant popularity is grounded on its bold and subtle style that is perfect for academic requirements.

Recently, a German publication agency named Garamond the second-best font after Helvetica.

Apple and Microsoft Windows used new variants of the font for their interface designs. 

Now it’s a very popular look for graphic designers going for a relaxed version of the classic, official look.

The Garamond Classico font family comes with 5 different styles that give you just what you need for your graphic design material.

6. Bodoni

This is the most historical font on the list, and it still holds its own in graphic design today.

Bodoni has strong contrast between fine and thick lines that brings out a confident, bold look.

Created in the 18th century by Giambattista Bodoni, known as the King of Printers at the time, the Bodoni typeface is a serif font with plenty of history and application.

Bodoni Font
Bodoni font

The foremost thing professional designers appreciate in Bodoni is its aesthetic attractiveness.

When it was first released, it was classified as a classical font due to Bodoni’s rather rational structure.

Later the font became a new design of Roman or Renaissance letter styles, known as modern font or Didone design.

Geometrically shaped in a discreet manner, it is a charming feature of any project.

The Bodoni font is characterized by its strong characters and is said to embody the rational thinking of the Enlightenment.

Its letters and symbols have a distinct look that makes for great graphics in posters or package design, and it can often be seen in fashion and print.

However, due to its iconic mix of fine and thick lines, the font tends to be less legible than other more clear options, so it is best-suited for larger media with generous spacing.

There are 14 available styles of Bodoni, and it’s a favorite among graphic designers especially when working with cover page designs or poster graphics.

Bodoni`s recognizable typeface gained its popularity in the fashion industry, in particular fashion logos and headlines.

The font is recognizable by very thin “Hairlines,” which contrast to the thicker lines.

You have definitely seen it in world-famous brand logos: Vogue, Calvin Klein, and Gucci.

Prominent Italian designer Massimo Vignelli claimed it to be “one of the most elegant typefaces ever designed.”

7. Rockwell

Known as a slab serif, Rockwell introduces a blend of serif legibility and large geometric design that offers some of the best of both worlds.

Rockwell is exceptionally adaptable, and it works with a multitude of other complementary fonts and imagery.

It’s a wonderful middle ground between classic serifs and modern sans serif typefaces, and the family is excellent for branding and headlines.

Rockwell Font
Rockwell font

Product of Monotype Corporation, Rockwell was released back in 1934.

It is quite legible and straightforward when used for display and small size text designs.

This slab serif font's main features make it resemble horizontal strokes.

Its blocky nature makes Rockwell be widely used for headlines instead of body content.

The radiance of the end product is achieved through Rockwell`s distinct design—geometric shapes.

It is entirely created of straight lines and right angles that may create an impression that’s mechanical and unnatural.

The magnificence of this font is grounded on its ability to combine various features and be used for scientific purposes, be retro, modern, and playful at the same time.

The Guinness World Records, Docklands Light Railway, and publisher Tall Lighthouse are famous representatives of those who used the font.

The robust design gives it a striking look that works well to capture attention both in print and in digital media.

It holds lots of potential for messaging power and brand recognition if matched with the right colors and images.

As long as it isn’t set such that the serifs touch, the typeface is highly legible even from a distance, and would work well as 3D signage too.

The Rockwell font family by Monotype comes with 9 different styles featuring different variations of light, standard, bold, and condensed, and would be a versatile addition to any professional graphic designer’s collection.

8. Proxima Nova

The latest revamp of this font has made it a rising star in recent years.

Proxima Nova offers a minimalistic, modern look with a touch of elegance in all the right places.

The Proxima Nova font family provides a great blend between typefaces like Futura and classic sans faces, and it is sure to give off a sense of formality and professionalism.

Proxima Font
Proxima Nova font

The font style is described as a hybrid combining humanistic proportions with a somewhat geometric appearance.

This family comes with a whopping 48 variations, all of which are full-featured OpenTypes with loads of extra character support.

All of the different included variations along with the modern style of the font allow it to be widely applicable in multimedia and legible on screens of all sizes.

With such a massive package, Proxima Nova is an all-purpose modern sans that can give graphic designers an instant collection of sleek minimalistic styles to choose from.

9. Frutiger

This font was specifically designed for signage, and its careful consideration of legibility and recognition from various distances and angles makes it both highly functional and elegant.

Frutiger is an artful piece of modern craftsmanship offering both form and function.

Swiss designer Adrian Frutiger gave the name to the Frutiger font family he was commissioned to work on sign and directional system for the new Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris.

Fruitger Font
Frutiger font

When Adrian Frutiger was given the task in 1968, everyone assumed he would want to use his successful Univers font family, but instead he opted to create a new sans serif typeface better-suited for the project.

Frutiger has come a long way and is now a popular choice for smaller-scale text in magazines and booklets as well.

Frutiger is known to be a “humanist” typeface since its characters are clear and readable.

The designers are attracted by the opportunity to make a small size text recognizable at a distance.

Many institutions around the world exploit the Frutiger font as an official typeface, such as universities, colleges, companies, organizations, signage programs in hospitals and airports.

The Frutiger family is described as being neither strictly geometric nor humanistic in construction; its forms are designed so that each individual character is quickly and easily recognized.

The family comes with 19 different styles of varying weight, spacing, and italics.

It explains why many designers worldwide adore using this font, and Erik Spiekermann named it "the best general typeface ever".

10. FF DIN

Created toward the end of the 20th Century, FF DIN has quickly caught on in the graphic design world despite its basic, technical appearance.

FF DIN is one of the most popular condensed technical fonts ever.

It works great for packaging, posters, way-finding, and modern logo design too.

FF DIN Font
FF DIN font

Finding the sweet spot of being technical by design without looking too primitive or boring, this font manages to provide pure lettering uninterrupted by additional decoration.

This barebones, minimalist look has allowed it to become a favorite for architecture and engineering books and magazines, as well as environmental graphic design for spatial text and museum wayfinding.

FF DIN provides advanced typographical support with features such as case-sensitive forms, fractions, super- and subscript characters, and stylistic alternates.

When used properly, this typeface can help deliver a bold, confident brand image whether it’s used in your logo, business cards, website, or newsletters.

For a long time FF DIN was considered as offical font of Germany.

Conclusions

Whether you like the simple style of modern fonts, or the ornamented look of some of the classic, elegant fonts, there’s no denying that these professional fonts are must-haves for professional designers.

Equipping yourself with the right fonts to create your designs allows you to unleash your creativity and mix and match to deliver quality work.

Every typeface will have its own style and intended vibe, and you’ll likely use many of the fonts on this list over time either in logo design, cover pages, websites, or more.

Now, at least when you encounter these situations you have a better idea of what the pros use, and hopefully this article helps you make an informed choice in your next design endeavor.

Using professional fonts can help make your brand appear credible and established.

Also make sure to also check out my tutorials on how to design a logo and then how to present logos, and finally how to deliver a logo package.

Which font looks most professional in your opinion?—Leave a comment below.

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