As designers, we all have extensive font libraries. We have classic faces, decorative faces, the serifs and san serifs. But what typefaces should you really have in your stockpile, bare bones speaking? Which ones will really pull their weight time and again, are clean, communicate and can carry the message with style and essence?

Whether you have a limited number of typefaces or a vast collection, here is a short list of the essentials. It’s purely subjective, darling designers, but the faces featured are quite purposeful and clean. You might not be a fan of them all, (I’ve heard backlash towards Bembo and I’m not in love with Futura, for that matter), but they’re versatile and with one exception, all come with a family.

SIDE NOTE: A while back I read the proper definitions of “typeface” and “font.” Basically, a typeface is just that, i.e. Helvetica, Garamond, Rockwell, Baskerville and so on. A font is what you use. For example, 14 point Helvetica Condensed Bold. I probably have been using the terms interchangeably, and incorrectly, as do my clients, but at least we know what the other person means. That’s the important thing. That and everything is spelled correctly. ; )


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