Classic Serif Fonts Give Print Projects a Timeless Beauty and Legibility

These serif fonts are designer favorites

If you want your font collection to include the most legible and readable, tried and true typefaces for text, you can't go wrong with this selection of classic serif fonts.

While they are only the tip of the serif iceberg, classic serif fonts are versatile and reliable standards. The classics on this list include many of the old style of serif plus some transitional and modern serifs.

Within each font family are many varieties and renditions; some are more suitable than others for body copy. When searching font sites online, you'll find variations of these basic serif typefaces, often with similarly named sans serif, open face or chiseled display styles, and other companion faces.

Note

Not every version is suitable for body copy, headlines, captions and web pages. However, members of the same family are designed to work well together. This list is presented in alphabetical order; no one font is considered better than another.

Baskerville

Baskerville
Fonts.com

A classic dating from the 1750s, Baskerville and New Baskerville serif fonts with their many variations work well for both text and display use. Baskerville is a transitional serif style.

Bodoni

Bodoni
Fonts.com

Bodoni is a classic text face styled after the work of Giambattista Bodoni. Some Bodoni font versions are, perhaps, too heavy or carry too much contrast in thick and thin strokes for body text, but they work well as display type. Bodoni is a modern serif style.

Caslon

Caslon
Fonts.com

Benjamin Franklin chose Caslon for the first printing of the American Declaration of Independence. Fonts based on the typefaces of William Caslon are good, readable choices for text.

Century

Century
Da Font

The best known of the Century family is New Century Schoolbook. All the Century faces are considered highly legible serif fonts, suitable not only for children's textbooks but for magazines and other publications as well.

Garamond

Geramund
DaFont

Typefaces bearing the Garamond name are not always based on the designs of Claude Garamond. However, these serif fonts share certain characteristics of timeless beauty and readability. Garamond is an old style serif font.

Goudy

Goudy
Dafont

This popular serif typeface from Frederic W. Goudy evolved over the years to include many weights and variations. Goudy Old Style is a particularly popular font.

Palatino

Palatino
Fonts.com

A widely used serif font for both body text and display type, Palatino was designed by Hermann Zapf. Part of its widespread use may stem from its inclusion—along with Helvetica and Times—with the Mac OS.  Palatino is an old style serif font.

Sabon

Sabon
Fonts.com

Designed in the 1960s by Jan Tschichold, Sabon serif font is based on Garamond types. Those who commissioned the font design specified that it should be suitable for all printing purposes—and it is. Sabon is an old style serif font.

Stone Serif

Stone Serif
Fonts.com

A relatively young design from the late 1980s, the whole Stone family with its coordinated serif, sans serif and informal families works well for mixing and matching styles.  The serif version is classified as a transitional style, along with older fonts of this style that first appeared in the 17th century.

Times

Times
Fonts.com

Times is possibly overused, but it is a good basic serif font nonetheless. Originally designed for newspaper use, Times, Times New Roman and other variations of this serif font are designed to be easily readable and legible as body text.