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The most popular fonts used by designers

Design, Typography | Aug 30, 2011

There are usually two camps among designers when it comes to typeface choices.

One group has a handful of favorite typefaces they adapt to every design they create, believing that these handful of typefaces can be suitable for every situation.

The other camp believes in using a huge variety of typefaces, picking and choosing each one based specifically on the project at hand. Regardless of which camp you fit into, the typefaces below should interest you.

They have proven popular among designers the world over, and are used in designs for everything from multi-national corporations to individual books or journals.

Have we missed one of your old time favorites? Go ahead and add it in the comments area.

 

Akzidenz Grotesk

Akzidenz Grotesk was the first widely-adopted sans serif typeface, and an influencer of many later neo-grotesque typefaces, including Helvetica and Univers. There are a number of variations available, including Akzidenz-Grotesk Book, Book Rounded, Schoolbook, Old Fact, and Next. Akzidenz-Grotesk is one of the official fonts of the American Red Cross (along with Georgia).

Akzidenz Grotesk was created in 1898 by H. Berthold AG type foundry, and was originally called “Accidenz-Grotesk”. It’s been speculated that the typeface was derived from either Didot or Walbaum, which have similar looks if their serifs are removed. The official report, though, is that it was based on Royal Grotesk light, designed by Ferdinand Theinhardt (which was later merged into Berthold). Modern iterations of the typeface are descendants of a late-1950s project at Berthold to enlarge the type family, though these new typefaces retain the idiosyncrasies of the original.

Strengths
Akzidenz-Grotesk is a versatile typeface, suitable for both headlines and body copy. The slight idiosyncrasies present in the typeface give it a bit more visual interest than other, similar neo-grotesques.

Best Uses
It’s suitable for use in virtually any project.

 

Avenir

Avenir is a geometric sans-serif typeface designed in 1988 by Adrian Frutiger. The name, Avenir, means “future” in French. It was designed to be a more humanistic version of traditional geometric typefaces like Futura. Upon release, it was available in three weights, using Frutiger’s two-digit weight and width naming convention: 45 (book) /46 (oblique), 55 (text) /56 (oblique), and 75 (bold) /76 (oblique). Three more weights were later added.

Avenir is a relatively new typeface, but it’s become widely used. LG uses it for the buttons on most of their cell phones. BBC Two uses Avenir in its logo and identity. Dwell magazine started using it in 2007, and the upcoming J.J. Abrams film Super 8 also uses it for titles.

Strengths
Avenir’s greatest strengths are its simplicity and balance. It bridges the gap between geometric and humanist sans-serifs, making it a versatile, modern choice.

Best Uses
Avenir is suitable for both headline and body copy. Improvements in hinting have made it better for on-screen viewing at smaller sizes.

 

Baskerville

Baskerville is a transition serif typeface that falls somewhere between classical typefaces like Caslon and modern serifs like Didot. It was created by John Baskerville as an attempt to improve upon the typefaces created by William Caslon. To that end, it has more contrast between the thick and thin strokes of the letterforms, as well as sharper serifs and a more vertical axis to rounded letters. The characters are also more regular, and the rounded strokes are more circular.

Baskerville was created in 1757, and then revived by Bruce Rogers for the Harvard University Press in 1917. The original typeface was used by John Baskerville to print a folio Bible. His rivals of the time were intimidated by the perfection of his work, and some claimed that the stark contrasts of his typefaces would damage the eyes. Others admired him, including Fournier, Bodoni, and even Benjamin Franklin.

Baskerville was also revived in England in 1923 by Stanley Morison for the British Monotype Company. In 1996, it was used by Zuzana Licko as the basis for the Mrs Eaves typeface. A free version of Baskerville, called Open Baskerville, has also been created.

Strengths
The clarity and consistency of the letterforms are what make Baskerville such a readable typeface. It’s widely used in documents, and has a traditional, professional look. The University of Birmingham uses it for many of its documents, and a modified version can be seen in some of the Canadian government’s corporate identity materials (including in the “Canada” wordmark).

Best Uses
Baskerville is excellent for body copy, and is suitable for use in books, newsletters, newspapers, and other printed materials. It’s also a fairly common typeface, making it suitable for use on the web, though backup typefaces also need to be specified.

 

Bembo

Bembo is an old style serif, based on a humanist typeface created by Francesco Griffo in the late 15th century. It has a number of characteristics of humanist typefaces, including minimal variation between the weights of thin and thick strokes; a small x-height; short, bracketed serifs; angled top serifs on lower-case letters; and ascenders that are taller than capital letters.

Bembo was revived by the Monotype Corporation in 1929, under the direction of Stanley Morison. The original typeface was first used in February of 1496, though, in a 60-page book about a journey to Mount Aetna, called Petri Bembi de Aetna Angelum Chalabrilem liber, written by Pietro Bembo. Francesco Griffo later cut the first italic types, for Aldus Manutius.

Since the original typeface had no italic cut with it, it’s rumored that renowned calligrapher Alfred Fairbank was commissioned by Stanley Fairbank to create an italic for Bembo. Fairbank maintains that he created the type independently and then sold it to Monotype, but in either case, the metal type for an italic version of Bembo was released in 1929.

Strengths
Bembo is considered a good classical typeface, with a strong humanist, Old Style look. It’s perfect for use in designs where classic beauty or formal tradition are important.

Best Uses
Bembo is considered a good choice for book typography.

 

Bickham Script Pro

Bickham Script Pro is a script typeface based on English round hand writing common in the 18th century, and specifically on the engravings of George Bickham. It’s an ornate, romantic typeface, available in regular, bold, and semibold weights. Bickham Script Pro was created by Richard Lipton in 1997, and is available as part of the Adobe Type Library.

Strengths
Bickham Script Pro is excellent for formal, elegant designs, especially those reminiscent of its origin in the 18th century. It also includes a number of OpenType features, including discretionary ligatures, swashes, superscripts, stylistic alternates, and cast-sensitive glyph connectors. The contextual changes that occur to the characters as one types make it an especially versatile typeface, and improves your designs effortlessly.

Best Uses
Bickham Script is purely a display typeface, perfect for headings and subheads. It’s commonly seen in logos, menus, invitations, annual reports, and packaging, in primarily formal, elegant designs.

 

Bodoni

Bodoni is a modern serif typeface, with high contrast between thin and thick stroke weights, and a slightly condensed shape. It was based on the work of John Baskerville, but has taken his ideas to a more extreme conclusion. There are a few variations on Bodoni, some with more transitional shapes (including ITC Bodoni and Bodoni Old Face), and some more modern.

Bodoni was first designed by Giambattista Bodoni in 1798. In addition to the influence from Baskerville, Bodoni was also influenced heavily by the work of Pierre Simon Fournier and Firmin Didot.

Strengths
Bodoni, for the most part, is best suited to larger font sizes. Because of the extreme variation between thin and thick strokes, it can degrade at small sizes and become illegible (specifically, it creates an effect known as “dazzle”). There are some typeface variations though, that are optimized for use at smaller sizes (including Bodoni Old Face at 9 points, ITC Bodoni 12 at 12 points, and ITC Bodoni 7 at 7 points).

Best Uses
Bodoni is well-suited for use in modern designs where a serif typeface is desired. It’s a great serif for use in headlines and subheads, though some variations can be used for body copy, too. Some of its more recognizable uses can be found in the logo for grunge band Nirvana, and on the Mamma Mia! posters.

 

Caslon

Caslon is a set of serif typefaces with the irregularity common of Dutch Baroque types. It has short ascenders and descenders, bracketed serifs, and is moderately-high contrast. The italics have a rhythmic calligraphic stroke, and some of the lowercase italics have the suggestion of a swash.

The first Caslon typeface was designed in 1722. It was similar to Dutch Fell types by Voskens, and also by the typefaces cut by Van Dyck, another Dutchman. The Caslon types were used throughout the British Empire, including British North America. The decayed appearance common in a lot of early American printing is often thought to be caused by the oxidation that resulted from long exposure to seawater during the transport of metal type from England to America. Caslon was used extensively, and perhaps most famously in the printing of the U.S. Declaration of Independence.

Strengths
Caslon is sometimes considered a great universal typeface. There was even a common rule of thumb among printers and typesetters, “When in doubt, use Caslon.” It’s a versatile typeface that can be used equally well in headings or in body copy. The wide variety of weights and styles available make it even more versatile.

Best Uses
Caslon can be used for virtually any kind of typesetting, from body copy to headlines, and is quite legible at small sizes.

 

Clarendon

Clarendon is a slab-serif typeface, and is considered to be the first registered typeface. There’s only moderate contrast between thick and thin strokes, common of slab-serifs. It was originally designed by Robert Besley for the Fann Street Foundry in 1845. It was later copied heavily by other foundries.

Clarendon was used heavily during World War I by the German Empire, and was commonly used in wanted posters in the American Old West. More recently, it was used by the US National Parks Service on traffic signs, and became the typeface of choice by the Ruby Tuesday restaurant chain when they relaunched their corporate identity in 2008.

Strengths
Clarendon has strong letterforms common to slab serifs. It’s also a very readable typeface, which makes it appropriate for use at somewhat smaller sizes.

Best Uses
Strong letterforms make Clarendon a great choice for things like signs, logos, and headlines. It’s already used by companies like Sony and Wells Fargo in their logos.

 

Franklin Gothic

Franklin Gothic is a relatively high profile grotesque sans serif typeface. In addition to Franklin Gothic, the News Gothic, Alternate Gothic, Monotone Gothic and Lightline Gothic typefaces are essentially just different weights of the original. Franklin Gothic itself is an extra-bold typeface, with a traditional double-story “a” and “g”.

Franklin Gothic was first created in 1902. “Gothic” at that time just meant sans serif. It briefly fell out of popularity in the 1930s with the rise of Futura and Kabel, but was then rediscovered by American designers in the 1940s, and has remained popular since.

Strengths
Franklin Gothic is quite a strong typeface, stylistically, though the addition of related typefaces makes it much more versatile.

Best Uses
Franklin Gothic is well-suited to display use due to its weight. Other variations of the typeface, though, can be used for body copy, especially in onscreen situations.

 

Frutiger

Frutiger is a sans serif typeface designed by Adrian Frutiger. There are also serif and ornamental varieties of Frutiger, including Frutiger Serif, Frutiger Stones, and Frutiger Symbols. Frutiger was originally commissioned in 1968 by the Charles De Gaulle International Airport for their directional sign system. Frutiger was originally called Roissy (the airport is located in Roissy, France), and was completed in 1975.

Strengths
Frutiger was designed to have the rationality and cleanliness of Univers (also designed by Adrian Frutiger), but with the proportional and organic aspects of Gill Sans. Because of this, Frutiger is both distinctive and legible, with a modern appearance. Apertures of the typeface are wide and ascenders and descenders are prominent, making it easy to distinguish letters from each other.

Best Uses
Because of its excellent legibility, Frutiger is suitable for a variety of uses. It’s especially well-suited for signs though, as its readable from a distance, and from varying angles.

 

Futura

Futura is a geometric sans-serif typeface that was commissioned by the Bauer type foundry in 1927. Originally, it included Light, Medium, Bold, and Bold Oblique fonts, and then later Light Oblique, Medium Oblique, Demibold, Demibold Oblique, Book, Extra Bold, and Extra Bold Italic fonts were released.

Futura was designed by Paul Renner. While he wasn’t associated with the Bauhaus, he shared the idea that a modern typeface should express modern models, rather than simply reviving an older design.

Strengths
Futura has an efficient, forward appearance, and is derived from simple geometric forms. This is evident in the obvious influence of near-perfect circles, squares, and triangles. All non-essential elements were removed from the typeface, and the uppercase characters have proportions similar to classical Roman capitals.

Best Uses
Futura is an excellent choice for advertising copy. It was used by IKEA until 2010, Volkswagen, Shell Petrol, and HP in their advertising and branding. West Anderson uses Futura for all of his films, and it was also Stanley Kubrick’s favorite font. It’s well suited to any modern design, for both headings and short copy.

 

Garamond

Garamond is an old-style serif typeface, named after punch-cutter Claude Garamond. Adobe Garamond and Stempel Garamond were both based on this original typeface from the 16th century, and Granjon and Sabon were heavily influenced by it. There are a few unique characteristics of Garamond, including the small bowl of the lowercase “a” and the small eye of the “e”.

Garamond is one of the most legible serif typefaces, especially for use in print applications. It’s also one of the most eco-friendly typefaces in terms of ink usage. The original punches and matrices were sold to Christopher Plantin upon the death of Claude Garamond, and were in turn used in many printers, adding to its rise in popularity. Garamond revivals were created as early as 1900.

Strengths
Garamond’s greatest strength is its legibility and readability.

Best Uses
Garamond is an excellent choice for printed materials, including books and reports, due to its high legibility in print.

 

Gill Sans

Gill Sans is a humanist sans-serif typeface created in 1926 by Eric Gill. It was developed further, into a complete type family, after being commissioned by Stanley Morison to compete with the families of Erbar, Futura, and Kabel. In 1928, Gill Sans was released by Monotype Corporation.

The uppercase characters of Gill Sans are based on Roman capitals like those found in Caslon and Baskerville. There are fourteen styles in the family. Gill Sans is distributed as a system font with Mac OS X and is bundled with some Microsoft products as Gill Sans MT.

Strengths
Gill Sans has a less mechanical feel to it than typefaces like Futura, because of its basis in Roman tradition. The lowercase letters are modeled on the lowercase Carolignian script, which is especially noticeable in the two-story lowercase “a” and “g”. This basis in traditional, classical typefaces gives Gill Sans a more refined look than many other sans serif typefaces.

Best Uses
Gill Sans is ideal for display uses, and can be used successfully as a text font at larger sizes. It’s best suited for modern designs, though it can be combined successfully with more traditional typefaces for classic designs.

 

Helvetica

Helvetica is probably the most commonly used typeface in all of graphic design, and almost certainly the most widely used sans serif. It was developed by Max Miedinger in 1957 with Eduard Hoffman, for the Haas Typefoundry. There are dozens of variations and numerous typefaces have been based on it.

Helvetica is often considered a “neutral” typeface, in that it takes on the mood and attitude of its surroundings. Used in a modern setting, it appears modern. And yet it can blend into a classic setting effortlessly, too. It’s largely because of this chameleon-like ability that Helvetica has become so widely used.

Strengths
As mentioned, Helvetica’s ability to be used in virtually any circumstance is probably its greatest strength. It also has excellent letterforms and kerning.

Best Uses
Helvetica could be argued to be the most versatile typeface out there. It’s literally suitable for virtually any kind of design application, and looks good at both large and small sizes. It’s used in numerous logotypes (including those for American Airlines, American Apparel, 3M, Verizon Wireless, Motorola, Panasonic, Target, Toyota, Microsoft, and many, many others). It’s commonly seen online for both body copy and headlines, and can be seen in use on signs around the world.

 

Lucida Sans/Lucida Grande

Lucida Sans is a humanist, sans-serif typeface that is part of the larger Lucida type family (which includes serif, blackletter, console, and other variations). It was designed by Chalres Bigelow and Kris Holmes in 1985 as a complement to the Lucida Serif typeface. Technically, Lucida Grande is part of the Lucida Sans type family (which also includes Lucida Sans Typewriter, a monospaced typeface, and Lucida Sans Unicode, which is based on Lucida Sans regular but with additional characters).

Strengths
Lucida Grande and Lucida Sans are both highly legible, even at small sizes. Because of this, they’re heavily used for body copy and large blocks of small text.

Best Uses
Lucida Grande and Lucida Sans are both commonly seen as the primary typeface for body text on various websites and blogs, Facebook being just one example. It’s most recognizable, though, for its use throughout the user interface of Mac OS X.

 

Minion

Minion is an old style serif typeface, inspired by late Renaissance-era typefaces. It was designed in 1990 by Robert Slimbach for Adobe Systems. One unique feature of Minion is the support of Regular and Display optical sizes, meant to optimize the legibility by using different stroke contrasts and details, in the Regular and Italic versions of the typeface.

The Minion Expert font package includes small caps, ligatures, old style ligatures, and swash glyphs that aren’t included in the regular Minion package. There’s also a Cyrillic version of Minion available.

Strengths
The different optical sizes available with Minion are one of its greatest strengths, making it considerably more versatile.

Best Uses
Minion is an excellent choice for printed copy, and is used for typesetting books and journals. It has also been used in various logotypes, including MathWorks’ Matlab and Brown University.

 

Myriad

Myriad is a humanist sans-serif typeface created specifically for Adobe Systems by Robert Slimbach and Carol Twombly. It’s easily distinguishable from other sans-serif fonts because of its special “y” descender and slanting “e”cut.

Originally, Myriad was offered in two weights, with complementary italics for each. Later, a condensed version was released, and then a “Headline” version. Additional variations have since ben released, including Myriad Web and Myriad Pro.

Strengths
Myriad’s greatest strength is the letterforms it includes that set it apart from other sans-serif typefaces, which are often too similar to be easily recognizable.

Best Uses
Myriad is recognizable as the typeface of choice for Apple’s branding efforts. It’s well-suited to modern designs, especially if you want to evoke Apple’s corporate branding.

 

Optima

Optima is a unique sans-serif typeface, in that it uses varying stroke weights more commonly found in serif typefaces. In addition to the varying stroke weights, it also has subtle swelling at its terminals, reminiscent of a glyphic serif. The italic version of Optima is really just an oblique, without any specialized italic letterforms (like a single-story “a”), which is more typical of realist sans-serif typefaces like Helvetica.

Optima was designed by Hermann Zapf in the mid-50s, for the D. Stempel AG Foundry. Linotype owns the trademark to Optima, though the typeface is widely imitated (Bitstream’s Zapf Humanist is one such example, as well as the free MgOpen Cosmetica).

Strengths
Optima’s similarity to serif typefaces gives it a more classic appearance than most sans serifs. It also improves legibility at some sizes.

Best Uses
Optima is an elegant if conservative type choice, and is well-suited to understated designs. Most famously, it’s been used for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and by the 2008 John McCain presidential campaign. It’s also the official branding typeface of Estée Lauder Companies and Aston Martin.

 

Palatino

Palatino started out as an old style serif typeface designed by Hermann Zapf. It was released in 1948 by Linotype. A revised version was released in 1999, also designed by Zapf, called Palatino Linotype. This new family included extended Latin, Greek, and Cyrillic characters.

The original Palatino was based on humanist typefaces from the Italian Renaissance, and was named after 16th century Italian calligraphy master Giambattista Palatino. Palatino has larger proportions than most Renaissance-inspired type, and because of that is much easier to read.

Strengths
Palatino’s greatest strength is its readability.

Best Uses
Palatino is widely used for body copy, especially in books and similar printed materials.

 

Rockwell

Rockwell is a slab serif, with no real variation in stroke weight. It was designed in-house at Monotype in 1934, supervised by Frank Hinman Pierpont. It’s a geometric typeface, with upper- and lowercase “O” more of a circle than an ellipse. The serif at the apex of the uppercase “A” is a distinctive feature of Rockwell that sets it apart from many other serif type faces.

Strengths
The geometric forms of Rockwell make it more similar to sans-serif typefaces, making it a good choice for combining with geometric sans serifs.

Best Uses
Rockwell is best-suited for use as a display typeface due to its thick, monoweighted strokes.

 

Sabon

Sabon is an old style serif typeface designed by Jan Tschichold between 1964 and 1967. It was released jointly by Linotype, Monotype, and Stempel foundries in 1967. It’s based on typefaces designed by Claude Garamond, particularly the one printed by Konrad Berner of Frankfurt, as well as the italics by Robert Grandjon.

One of the distinguishing features of Sabon is that the roman, italic, and bold weights all take up the same width when typeset. It’s an unusual feature, but meant that only one set of copyfitting data is needed for all three styles.

Strengths
Sabon is a highly legible typeface, with moderate contrast between thick and thin strokes. That makes it suitable for use in a variety of sizes.

Best Uses
Sabon is a favorite for typesetting book copy, and is well-suited to any traditional or formal design.

 

Times New Roman

Times New Roman was commissioned by the British newspaper The Times in 1931 after the paper was criticized by Stanley Morison for being typographically antiquated and poorly printed. It was created by Cameron S. Latham of Monotype, under the supervision of Morison.

The name “Times New Roman” was used because the former font of The Times was called “Times Old Roman”. It was based on another typeface by Morison, called Plantin, but revisions were made to make it more economical in terms of space and to increase legibility. Times New Roman is still widely used in book typography, and it has served as the basis for a number of other typeface, including Georgia.

Strengths
The ubiquitous nature of Times New Roman has made it an ideal choice for situations where fonts can’t be embedded. It’s also highly readable, even at smaller sizes.

Best Uses
Times New Roman is best suited for body copy, both online and off.

 

Univers

Univers is a neo-grotesque sans serif typeface that was designed by Adrian Frutiger in 1954, and released by Deberny & Piegnot in 1957. It was then acquired by Haas in 1972, and later by D. Stempel AG and then Linotype.

Univers is based on the 1898 typeface Akzidenz-Grotesk, which was also the basis for Helvetica (the two typefaces are sometimes confused). The entire Univers type family consists of 44 faces, with 16 uniquely numbered weight, width, and position combinations. Twenty of these fonts offer oblique characters, while eight support Central European character sets and another eight support Cyrillic characters.

Strengths
The largest strength of Univers is its diversity, which is further enhanced by the number of weights available. It also has some of the same neutral character of Helvetica.

Best Uses
Univers is well-suited to a variety of designs, especially modern designs. It works well as both body copy and display.

 

Close calls

There are a lot more typefaces that are commonly used by designers the world over. Below is just a partial list of some additional popular choices (feel free to add more in the comments!):

Antique Olive

 

Avant Garde

 

Century Gothic

 

Dax

 

Didot

 

Din

 

Gotham

 

Meta

 

Mrs Eaves

 

Trade Gothic

 

Trajan

 

VAG Rounded

 

Warnock

 

Written exclusively for WDD by Cameron Chapman

What do you think of these fonts? Have we missed any of your old time favorites? Go ahead and add them in the comments below.

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  • http://twitter.com/csskarma Tim Wright

    what, no comic sans?

    • http://twitter.com/codeworxx codeworxx ws

      I like ;)

      Miss it, too :)

    • http://twitter.com/codeworxx codeworxx ws

      I like ;)

      Miss it, too :)

    • http://profiles.google.com/caesartjalbo Caesar Tjalbo

      It’s popular but not with designers.

      • http://cinitriqs.deviantart.com CiNiTriQs

        Many wars are being fought over this one… (trust me, I have dabbled with this enemy font as well, lol)

  • Flo

    Interesting that there are always so many german words as sampletext :)

  • Flo

    Interesting that there are always so many german words as sampletext :)

  • Flo

    Interesting that there are always so many german words as sampletext :)

  • http://www.digital-results.com/ Russell Bishop

    …the f***’s Museo?

  • http://www.digital-results.com/ Russell Bishop

    …the f***’s Museo?

    • http://twitter.com/cameron_chapman Cameron Chapman

      Museo is a relative newcomer, and while it’s definitely being used in some prominent designs, it’s not yet as popular as the fonts mentioned in the article.

      • http://helikopta.com Bill Addison

        Curious, how are you measuring what’s popular? 

  • http://www.digital-results.com/ Russell Bishop

    …the f***’s Museo?

  • http://www.facebook.com/jessedcouch Jesse Couch

    I’m very glad that you chose to feature GOOD typefaces that are being used, instead of just choosing the popular ones – otherwise, we’d be reading about Papyrus and Comic Sans (as mentioned by another commenter below). Good article!

  • http://www.facebook.com/jessedcouch Jesse Couch

    I’m very glad that you chose to feature GOOD typefaces that are being used, instead of just choosing the popular ones – otherwise, we’d be reading about Papyrus and Comic Sans (as mentioned by another commenter below). Good article!

    • Andy

      It does say used by DESIGNERS, not just anybody who made a banner. Otherwise yes Comics Sans/Papyrus would be here, thankfully designers don’t use these =)

    • http://twitter.com/GanimeCreative Anthony Ganime

      Death to Papyrus!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1612659939 Harriet Duncan

      Worst use of Papyrus I’ve seen locally is for a Presbyterian Church’s signage. The architecture is early 1900s, sign does not fit at all. What were they thinking?

  • http://www.facebook.com/jessedcouch Jesse Couch

    I’m very glad that you chose to feature GOOD typefaces that are being used, instead of just choosing the popular ones – otherwise, we’d be reading about Papyrus and Comic Sans (as mentioned by another commenter below). Good article!

  • Mark Hetherington

    There’s the relative newcomer on the block, Proxima Nova, that I see hasn’t been included in the above list!
     
    That aside, this is a nice and comprehensive article – thanks for the posting!  

  • Mark Hetherington

    There’s the relative newcomer on the block, Proxima Nova, that I see hasn’t been included in the above list!
     
    That aside, this is a nice and comprehensive article – thanks for the posting!  

  • Mark Hetherington

    There’s the relative newcomer on the block, Proxima Nova, that I see hasn’t been included in the above list!
     
    That aside, this is a nice and comprehensive article – thanks for the posting!  

  • http://twitter.com/M_I_C_H_L Michael Schmid

    Proxima Nova <3

    • Frederic Limeness

      Proxima Nova less than three?
      Users?
      Characters?
      Licenses properly bought.
      Understand that I don´t.

  • http://profiles.google.com/caesartjalbo Caesar Tjalbo

    “The most popular fonts used by designers”.
    How was this determined? What are the sources? E.g. is this based on literature study or did you count font-usage on the web, in print, on items/packaging, etcetera or is this based on sales from font foundries?
    Or is this list just made up from what you think are popular fonts?

    • http://twitter.com/cameron_chapman Cameron Chapman

      It was determined through the results of various surveys and posts from designers about which fonts they prefer to use and which are their favorites (which I then compared, to see which fonts showed up most often). Basically, it’s hours of research on Google and elsewhere about what designers prefer as well as what actually gets used, which I used come up with what seem to be the most popular. Not 100% scientific, but it’s compiled from a good cross-section of the information that’s out there to give a pretty accurate picture of which fonts are most popular.

    • Anonymous

      If you don’t agree that these are among the most popular I don’t know on what planet you live on. Are you expecting some kind of scientific method to determine the list? Get real.

      • http://helikopta.com Bill Addison

        While some of these fonts may be the “most popular” used by designers, it’s plausible that some people will question the methods used to define this list. Having read the author’s response, the title could be reworked to be a little less misleading, for example: Some of the most popular fonts used by designers.

        In the article itself, the author should clarify exactly how this list was constructed. The clarification should be more than “various surveys and posts from designers” which sounds defensive and vague. If this is true, it should be stated more clearly such as: Through 4 independent survey’s of 200 designers from over 20 countries along with analysis of over 400 design portfolios to determine which fonts are most popular among designers.

        Something like that would be more plausible and help the reader believe that some real research went into putting this list together as apposed to guessing which fonts seem to be the most popular amongst designers. 

        If I were to guess, I’d probably come up with a similar list to this as well, but point is that it’s the misrepresentation of information which is a problem for many readers and which should not be taken lightly.

  • http://twitter.com/madmaxcorp Max Kovalev

    League Gothic

  • Designerist

    Nice to know, that all this good classic stuff I like so much is popular!

  • http://3circlestudio.com/ Justin Carroll

    Yeah, that’s about right!

  • Chris Robinson

    How is Gotham not in this list?

    • http://www.kevingalls.com/ Kevin

      Gotham is in the “Close Calls” section. Very popular but again, not as long-used or iconic as the first 23.

  • http://www.bluehornetstudios.com Young

    Amazing article. I love that you included images with various colors and kernings!

  • http://www.facebook.com/ikiam Ikiam Ninan

    it is good

  • http://twitter.com/MioPlanet MioPlanet.Org

    ………….

  • http://twitter.com/MioPlanet MioPlanet.Org

    grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

  • Elizabeth

    I second the call for Museo. 

  • http://twitter.com/tobcreatives BCreatives

    PT Sans, Androgyne and Tenderness missing. Albeit rocking post – super!

  • http://twitter.com/a2format Matthias Conrad

    Oh you listed Mrs. Eaves but what about Mr. Eaves? In my opinion it’s beautiful and worth mentioned too. (http://new.myfonts.com/search/Mr+Eaves/fonts/)

    • Fred Miya

      I love Mrs. Eaves

  • utroda

    <3 DIN

  • http://twitter.com/GanimeCreative Anthony Ganime

    Love this post! Print designers are more likely to appreciate this but with more recent advancements in web typography, it’s time for all designers to embrace the unique characteristics of the many font varieties…

  • http://tolmanbryant.com bryant16

    I have seen an awful lot of Cholla from Emigre lately, Layers Magazine was using it before its demise, and I’ve seen it on commercials as well. I have been using it for a couple years now and love it. 

  • Alex

    Great article. I’m new to the design world and I find choosing a font one of the hardest things – so many to choose from and where to start? I especially like the advice on the look that different typefaces engender. More articles like this and maybe with more focus on web design would be great :-)

  • Alexandre Dumas de Rauly

    A book about the history of Futura typeface is available in French. Futura Une gloire typographique par Alexandre Dumas de Rauly et Michel Wlassikoff aux Éditions Norma. 
    http://www.editions-norma.com/Livres/Arts-decoratifs-l-Design/Futura-une-gloire-typographique
    http://www.facebook.com/futurastory

  • http://twitter.com/JoseDepaz Jose Depaz

    Yesterday I purchased The Big Book of Font Combinations PDF eBook and it has ALL of these fonts and more. Overall it’s a good resource, I recommend it. Pretty much it shows you how you can combined these designers fonts. Here’s the link: http://bit.ly/poPHez  << safe to click

  • http://twitter.com/JoseDepaz Jose Depaz

    Additional designer fonts I would also include: American Typewriter, Arno, Bell Gothic, Berkeley, Bernhard Modern, Chaparral, Egyptienne, Eurostyle, Formata, Goudy Old Style, Interstate, Jensen, Monotype Grotesque, MT Grotesque, Museo, New Century Schoolbook, Officina Sans, Rotis, Souvenir, Stone and Thesis. 

  • Simontini Sen

    Nope! what about few more of ‘scripts’ like Mistral, Park Avenue, etc. etc.?

    Thanx with nice,
    Simontini.

  • Anonymous

    That I recommend to see here!   http://www.dv.gd/35884

  • http://twitter.com/sifex Sifex

    Museo and Myriad ProAlthough Museo isn’t as popular, it’s already being used on soo many websites.
    Myriad Pro is just a no-Adobe-brainer.

  • Sanjay

    very good…

  • Andrés Salvarezza

    While Bickham is a beautiful script, I doubt it could be included in a “most popular” category. Is there a font called Dax? It sounds like a cross between a washing liquid and German techno band.

  • http://www.emberlinearts.com Anne Emberline

    I love a lot of these. I’m also partial to using custom hand-drawn lettering here and there. Love to see it in other people’s designs too! It’s such an organic, human element.

  • Dirty Henry

    Great resource. (though it’s Wes Anderson, not West)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Simon-Wilkinson/100001994034533 Simon Wilkinson

    Interesting, the majority of the fonts are all san serif.  Personally, I do not think designs with serifs are easy to view online so try to steer clients to arial or similar.

    Thanks

  • Steve

    After 40 years in the business, I’m reminded how excited I used to get over the slightest nuances between fonts. Fortunately, I’ve been able to overcome that and distill it down to preference and “does it work?”. I was a little disappointed that Goudy wasn’t at least mentioned. Although it certainly has it’s limitations, I consider it one of the most exquisite and graceful fonts ever designed.

  • Warner Blake

    I hope you didn’t include the designer of your site’s masthead in this survey!

  • http://tomdurkin.me Tom Durkin

    Nice examples, thanks for sharing!

  • http://www.bluepigcreative.co.uk Info

    Good post – seems to cover all of the fonts we like to use :)
    If fonts weren’t so expensive for a good decent family range, then we would defo use more!

  • http://twitter.com/netgfx Michael Dobekidis

    Arial?

  • http://twitter.com/CGiannandrea Claire Giannandrea

    nice xx

  • Paul Clifford1

    Well I think many if not most designers keep coming back to old favorites.

  • JenBrast

    I found this post really intriguing. It was interesting to compare this list to my typical choices. But I do have a complaint. I had to wince that an article on typography did not also display each font sample with proper kerning. ACK! 

  • Ovidiu

    As free fonts, Bebas, Poplar STD and RNS Camelia look good. Check them out.

  • LinnDesignStudio

    Most of my favorites are included here. There are some I’m not familiar with and can’t wait to check out. However, one that is not listed that I really like is Copperplate.

  • Arnold Camas

    League of Gothic?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Travis-Tom/1092830019 Travis Tom

    You might mention ITC Legacy Serif, Sans Serif and Square Serif by Ronald Arnholm. Was my professor at The University of Georgia and he also designed the font for Crest toothpaste and the The Silver Bullet campaign by Coors. I have written and illustrated an alphabet book based on alliterations and will be my first published e-book in pdf format (Animal Alliterati-An Alphabet Adventure –available in the next few months). The book is set entirely in Helvetica Neue.

  • http://twitter.com/GUSNICKLOS GUS NICKLOS

    There is a great book that unpacks this very topic called “30 Essential Typefaces for a Lifetime” by Pao and Berger, published by Rockport. Essays on why a lot of these fonts are relevant and why others have been omitted. See also plazm.com and findtype.tumblr.com

  • Dhyan

    Yes! Smell of a print!!!

  • Carmen

    so now i think we need to see the comic sans and mistrals, etc on the most unpopular / ugliest font list :o)

  • Mike Douglas

    How ’bout Clarendon and Eurostile?

  • Nancy Krause

    Frutiger is my “go to” font. It has beautiful symmetry, clean, legible letters and a wonderful x height, even at small sizes. For those who want only the latest and greatest, I say, you too will come around to know the versatility and understated elegance of Frutiger. It’s a font that won’t let you down.
    Thanks for the post.

  • Furmanski Andrew

    arial? verdana?

  • Rob

    Thanks for the post.  Can you divide the popularity of the font usage for web designers for a B2B or B2C use?  Who uses the most Helvetica?

  • Espilotro

    Very nice i liked very much this subject. I use in my job almost fonts for this list.

  • IRespectComicSans

    Interesting, but only in that it proves that the biggest influence on typeface (please stop saying font) choice is technology. In fact I’d suggest that only limiting the definition of what constitutes a ‘designer’ kept “arial,helvetica,verdana,san-serif” off the top of the list.

    And Comic Sans is a very well designed typeface. Designers who hate it are the same ones who champion Helvetica over Arial without being able to spot the difference.

  • http://www.vincent-verdeille.fr Vincent Marseille

    Interesting to list those basic (but essential) fonts. As says, it’s an elementary collection of quality fonts.

  • http://twitter.com/Aen Aen Tan

    How is this survey even done?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Micky-Bandeira/100002346594451 Micky Bandeira

    Siempre es bueno volver a las bases. Muy buen informe. Saludos.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Micky-Bandeira/100002346594451 Micky Bandeira

    Siempre es bueno volver a las bases. Muy buen informe. Saludos.