20 Classic Fonts Used in Millions of Designs

by Jun 3, 2015Graphic Design, Marketing, Web design


Classic Fonts Are Classic For a Reason

Classic fonts have been used for decades (unless they’re newer classics) and have been used in millions for designs all over the world. The reason they are so commonly used isn’t because of the lack of creativity from designers, it’s because the typefaces are so versatile and well-built that they work in numerous applications. They look great in posters, magazines, books, and more. It’s how you use a font that makes it a successful solution. Let’s take a look at 20 classic fonts used in designs you know and love.

Akzidenz Grotesk

Akzidenz-Grotesk - classic fonts & my top choice

Akzidenz Grotesk is one of my favorite classic typefaces, because of how much I use it. It is flexible and great to use on just about any project. The thickness on this typeface is consistent across the entire typeface.


 baskerville is one of the top classic fonts

Baskerville is definitely one of the top classic fonts you’ll love to use. It has been around for ages in varying forms. This typeface is great for publications and its legibility.


univers is one of the most versatile classic fonts

I personally love Univers, for the fact that it is so flexible. There are so many different weights and styles, from italic to condensed. You can easily mix and match it with other typefaces, making it one of the most versatile type families out there.


 sabon is one of the most elegant classic fonts

Sabon is a lovely typeface that offers a great degree of flexibility. I love the italicized version. The typeface is great in anything from books, to logos, in publications, and posters.



Garamond is considered to be one of the top serif fonts, especially for books, magazines, and other publications. The letter forms are stellar, making Garamond a great choice for just about any design.



Adrian Frutiger was undoubtedly a typographic maven. It’s no surprise that his namesake typeface is considered a classic, applicable in a variety of different projects. The squared off typeface makes a bold statement that commands instant attention.



DIN has a sturdy, durable look to it. Its thickness is consistent throughout the typeface. It’s great for headlines and display purposes.



Futura is another great font that uses variations to its advantage. I a a big fan of the condensed version of futura, which gives a design a tall appearance that stands out.



One of the instant classic fonts you’ll love, Bodoni has always stood out. It’s thin and thick strokes create a huge amount of contrast that gives it a unique appearance.



Rockwell has always been considered the key slab serif typeface to use. With different weights, you’ll have the variation you need, that you don’t get with other slab serif fonts.

Franklin Gothic


With a tall x-height, Franklin Gothic gets a lot of attention. Many designers use Franklin Gothic in Logos and headlines



Didot gets mixed up with Bodoni a lot, but there are subtle differences. Didot is a little more delicate, which makes it great for chic and feminine design applications.



Times is a behemoth in print design. It has been used in everything from logos, to body text, and more. Times is super-easy to read. It’s well-balanced and a good choice for a newspaper or regular publication.

Gill Sans


Gill Sans is great for anything educational or technology based. It is great for diagrams or infographics, too.



Bembo has a fragile appearance that is great for a feminine design. It has a delicate look that speaks of elegance and class. You would use Bembo in a design where sophistication is key.



Optima has a distinct look. it’s largely due to it’s varying strokes and curves. Use this font when you want to really stand out.



Helvetica is easily considered the king of modern fonts. If has been used to the point of being considered overdone. However, it’s still a classic and a staple of many designers, even today. Helvetica has been used in designs for companies ranging from Crate & Barrel to Toyota, Staples, American Airlines and Jeep.



Caslon has been around for a long time. It’s a powerhouse classic that has been used in display applications, books, branding and more. It has a very strong presence and commands immediate attention.



Clarendon is a slab serif typeface with rounded corners. Unlike Rockwell, with all of its straight angles and corners, Clarendon is a bit softer, with a few rounded edges.



Palatino has tapered strokes, which gives it a lot of variation. Also, it’s axis on letters like the lowercase o are tilted slightly. It’s nice when you’re looking for a typeface that is legible, without being so straight vertically or horizontally.

Conclusion: Classic Fonts

These classic fonts have stood the test of time. They are loved by designers the world over. Which one of these classic typefaces are your favorite? Mine would have to be a tie between Sabon and Akzindenz Grotesk. They aren’t cliche, but they are classics that I can depend on when I need a typeface that rocks. I’d love to hear your favorite. Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.