Essential Typefaces

Indices : Typefaces : Typophile’s List of “Essential” Typefaces

In response to several requests for a list of “essential” typefaces, this page is an experiment to compile a list agreed upon by Typophiles.


  1. If you don’t see a typeface you feel is “essential,” please list it here. For every face you agree is essential, put an “I” in the parentheses following the font name. This will be representative of one (1) vote.
  2. Put a designation in the square brackets: bt=book text, mt=magazine text, nt=news text, dn=display sans, df=display serif, fp=fine print, as=architectural signage, gp=general purpose, cs= computer screen, tv=television. (Feel free to add more as needed)
  3. Put your initials in the curley brackets and an explanation of your initials in the Initials Index at the bottom.

Please do not “stuff the ballot box.” Also, do not erase others’ votes. Moderators will be able to know who has tampered with the voting!!!

The List
Amplitude (I) [] {sjc}
Avenir (I) [bt] {tc}
Baskerville (III) [bt, mt] {ba, sm, jjgs}
Bembo Book (IIIIII) [bt] {gwah, lms, tc, mf, mb, sib}
Californian (III) [bt, fp] {pdh, hmh, lms}
Chronicle Text (I) [bt, mt, nt,] {am}
Clarendon (II) [gp] {jcp, jjgs}
Comic Sans (I) {dl}
MT Dante
Georgia (IIIIII) [cs] {pdh, ba, gg, ern, cl, da}
Helvetica (III) [mt, fp, as] {mb, jjgs}
FF Kievit (II) [fp] {jcp, gg}
HTF Knockout (I) [dn] {cl}
Lexicon (I) [gp] {cl}
FF Legato (II) [mt] {hhp, sjc}
FF Meta (II) [mt, ds, as] {ba, mf}
Mercury Text (I) [bt, mt, nt] {am}
Minion Pro (IIIIIII) [bt] {jd, lms, ba, da, sib}
News Gothic (II) [mt, ds, as] {ba, jjgs}
Optima (III)[cb] [gp] {jjwp, jjgs}
PMN Caecilia (II) [df, gp, cs] {mb, tb}
FF Scala (IIIIIII) [gp] {cs, lms, ba, mf, gg, sjc, cl}
Sabon (II) [cb] [bt, ds] {ba}
Sentinel (I) [bt, mt, df] {am}
Thesis (I) [gp] {cl}
Univers (III) [bt] {tc, cl, da}
Verdana (I) [cs] {cl}
Verdigris (I) [] {sjc}
Whitman (I) [bt] {cpc}
Initials Index: hhp, sjc, pdh,hmh, jd, cpc, jjwp, gwah, lms, ba, tc, mf, gg, ern, mb, cl, dl, am, jjgs