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The Very Best 10 Commercial Serif Fonts

“In typography, serifs are semi-structural details on the ends of some of the strokes that make up letters and symbols. A typeface that has serifs is called a serif font (or serifed typeface). A typeface without serifs is called sans-serif, from the French sans, meaning “without”. Some typography sources refer to sans-serif fonts as “grotesque” (in German “grotesk”) or “Gothic,” and serif types as “Roman.”–Wikipedia

best commercial serif fonts

In my last post, I enumerated my best sans serif fonts and as promised, I am going to list also my favorite serif fonts. As I have mentioned I am not a fan of serif fonts. But, as a designer, I have to use and love this type of fonts as a requirement. If only I could use just sans-serif fonts all the time!

01-Georgia
The reason why I am using this serif font for my website! Looks very similar to Times New Roman, Georgia is the serif companion to the first Microsoft sans serif screen font, Verdana. It is designed for clarity on a computer monitor even at small sizes, partially due to a relatively large x-height.

Georgia - best serif fonts

02-Garamond
Although there are many versions of this serif font, the most used version today is the Adobe Garamond version. Garamond’s letter forms convey a sense of fluidity and consistency. Some unique characteristics of Garamond characters are the small bowl of the a and the small eye of the e. The letters also have long extenders and the top serifs have a downward slope. Garamond is a great serif font for long bodies of texts such as in magazines, textbooks and websites

Garamond-best serif fonts

03-Palatino
This serif font is widely used for both body text and display type. The reason of its popularity is maybe because of its inclusion— along with Helvetica and Times — in the Mac OS. Also in the Palatino family are the Palatino Linotype, Palatino nova, Palatino sans, Palatino sans informal and Palatino Arabic.

Palatino-best serif fonts

04- Trajan
Trajan is an old style serif font designed in 1989 for Adobe. The design is based on Roman square capitals, as used for the inscription at the base of Trajan’s Column from which the serif font takes its name. This serif font has been the favorite of the designers of many Hollywood movie posters .

Trajan -best serif fonts

05- Bodoni
I mainly use this serif font for headlines and logos. Bodoni has a narrow underlying structure with flat, unbracketed serifs. The face has extreme contrast between thick and thin strokes, and an overall geometric construction which makes it a very aesthetic looking font. Bodoni has been used for a wide variety of material, ranging from eighteenth century Italian books to 1960’s periodicals.

Bodoni-best serif fonts

06- Caslon
It is characterized by short ascenders and descenders, bracketed serifs, moderately-high contrast, robust texture, and moderate modulation of stroke. Caslon and its variants are good, readable choices for text.

Caslon-best serif fonts

07-Baskerville
A classic serif font dating from the 1750s, the many variations of Baskerville and New Baskerville serif fonts work quite well for both text and display use.

Bakersville-best serif fonts

08-Cambria
Cambria is part of the suite of serif fonts that come with Microsoft Windows Vista, Microsoft Office 2007 and Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac. It is specifically designed for on-screen reading and to be aesthetically pleasing when printed at small sizes. Cambria also features even spacing and proportions. Diagonal and vertical hairlines and serifs are relatively strong, while horizontal serifs are small and intend to emphasize stroke endings rather than stand out themselves.

Cambria-best serif fonts

09-Minion
It comes in PostScript format, and supports ISO-Adobe character set. A unique feature of Minion is the support of Regular and Display optical sizes in Regular and Italic fonts. The different optical sizes of this serif font have different stroke contrasts and details, designed to optimize texts for specific applications. Minion Black does not have italic counterpart.

Minion-best serif fonts

10- Goudy Old Style
Also known as just “Goudy”, this serif font is suitable for both text and display applications, Goudy Old Style is a graceful, balanced design with a few eccentricities, including the upward-curved ear on the g and the diamond shape of the dots of the i, j, and the points found in the period, colon and exclamation point, and the sharply canted hyphen.

Goudy Old Style-best serif fonts

So, there goes my list of favorite serif fonts. Please also checkout my article about best sans-serif fonts (if you haven’t read it yet).
Credits: Images from Wikipedia

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4 Comments

  1. Such a nice post! :D
    These fonts, especially when italicized, really improve the look of a design. Thanks for narrowing it down. Though I’m sure there are still a lot of other beautiful serif fonts out there, it’s always nice to opt for the “simple” and “elegant” through the use of these 10 here.

  2. Really great post! It’s much easier to choose which font I prefer when they’ve been put together in a nice organized post like this. I’m working on a logo for a client which I think Trajan or Minion will work well for me.

    Thank you!

  3. I am looking to identify a font that is found on the iPad Kindle application. Perhaps you can help?

    The font has a sloped cross stroke in the small “e” letter. It slipes this way “/” upwards from left to right, in the same way that the small “a” slopes a little bit upward from left to right on the top part of the stroke that completes the circle in the bottom half of the letter. In addition, there is a peculiar small “m” character. The small “m” character also slopes downward from left to right. That is, the second “hump” on the top of the small letter “m”, the one on the right side, is slightly lower than the first hump.

    The baby “f” has a cross stroke that is slightly longer on the right hand side.

    Finally, in the serifs for the small letter “u”, the left serif slopes downward from right to left, but the right serif is horizontal.

    CAN ANYONE IDENTIFY THIS FONT FOR ME?
    Would be greatly appreciated.

  4. If you’re not a fan of serif fonts, maybe you could concentrate yourself on “the new typography” as put forward by Jan Tschichold in the 30s. Reading his book “Asymmetric Typography” would be a good start. This theory is based completely on the exclusive use of sans serif.
    Eventually he admitted serif fonts were useful but he designed many great modern design with only sans serif.

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