June 22, 2023
By: Gareth Mankoo
The impact of fonts on the minds of consumers is remarkable. They can set the mood for any communication piece and convey your brand personality from the first word.
This powerful impact (in a digital age where hand-written communication is rare) has made it essential for brands to become more sensitive toward the kind of fonts they use.
When drawing out the brand guidelines for a brand, the most grueling debate in any designer's mind is between a serif or a sans-serif font.
The difference between serif and sans-serif fonts is subtle. The best serif font typically sports a little stroke at the ends of the characters. This characteristic extends to all characters within the respective font family.
Serif fonts have been around since the age of the Romans, with a possible lineage in the Latin alphabet. From being carved on rocks to becoming part of digital signatures in the modern age, the font style has sustained its position as an enhancer of personality for all things it represents.
Serif fonts are a great way to establish the powerful personality of any brand. Newer font styles choose minimalism, which is why sans-serif fonts tend to resurface more often.
What is assured is that the serif font will always maintain its hold on the world of typography, even with shrinking attention spans and the minimalism craze that is gripping the world of design.
Do not be surprised if you are discouraged from using a serif font for your branding collateral or your company’s website.
Popular belief states that serif fonts are difficult and more time-consuming to read when published in smaller font sizes. As a result, brands using serifs prefer to use them as part of their headlines, logo fonts, and other signature elements.
Secondary fonts that make up the bulk of content-heavy sections are generally sans-serif ones, as they are “lighter” on the eye. For your visual delight, we have curated 25 classic serif fonts that could still be relevant for your branding.
The contemporary curves and accents of Arapey make it one of the more modern serif fonts. The typeface uses soft lines, curving tips, and rhythmic nuances reminiscent of cursive writing.
The creator developed the font in a small town in Uruguay called Arapey during their vacation, which seems to have inspired the light, breezy strokes that aren’t common in legacy serif fonts.
Catch the Arapey font in action with this logo example below! If you like it, click the image and customize the design to your liking. The best part? You can take the logo home for free, along with free logo files and brand guidelines. No strings attached!
Suppose you are looking for a non-stylish, functional typeface to represent serious topics like academics or law firm material. In that case, Cardo is the best serif font to pick. It supports various languages and gives some characters a touch of classical goodness.
Catch the Cardo font in action with this logo example below! If you like it, click the image and customize the design to your liking. The best part? You can take the logo home for free, along with free logo files and brand guidelines. No strings attached!
A throwback to some Bodoni styles, Rufina does well in creating a calligraphy style. Some tips appear to have been carved out with the stylish fountain pen. You can use Rufina in text-heavy paragraphs in smaller sizes or as large headlines with highly contrasting words.
Rufina tends to evoke emotions. You can use it effectively as a medium-impact font for brands that deal with care and human connections.
Catch the Rufina font in action with this logo example below! If you like it, click the image and customize the design to your liking. The best part? You can take the logo home for free, along with free logo files and brand guidelines. No strings attached!
Among the few serif typefaces created to reside and thrive on digital screens, Merriweather does an excellent job of ensuring that it is easily readable. The x-height of the fonts is large, which aids in reading them even in text-heavy environments.
It has an entire set of weights and styles that are all downloadable for free. Merriweather also has a sans-serif sibling.
Catch the Merriweather font in action with this logo example below! If you like it, click the image and customize the design to your liking. The best part? You can take the logo home for free, along with free logo files and brand guidelines. No strings attached!
Contemporary, well-balanced, and hinting towards its ancestry in calligraphy, Lora creates a lasting impact among those who read it. The font is stylish but not overcooked, breathy, or too liberal.
Lora comes in different styles and weights and can be used in different situations to highlight a point without seeming too uptight. As a font, it is approachable, accommodating, and flexible.
Catch the Lora font in action with this logo example below! If you like it, click the image and customize the design to your liking. The best part? You can take the logo home for free, along with free logo files and brand guidelines. No strings attached!
Libre Baskerville is a web font and is among the classic serif fonts you can download. It is specially created for use in the body content of your texts. The font is inspired by Baskerville, which was created in 1941.
Catch the Libre Baskerville font in action with this logo example below! If you like it, click the image and customize the design to your liking. The best part? You can take the logo home for free, along with free logo files and brand guidelines. No strings attached!
Few fonts lend themselves to decorative writing the way Lovelyn does. It is an elegant yet authoritative font. The critical aspect of the font is how it allows creators to add strokes and decoratively extend letters.
As a result, Lovelyn is a preferred choice for celebratory or invitational messaging on envelopes and posters. The font offers several alternatives and versions of the main font to accommodate these needs.
Because of the natural weightiness of the typeface, Vidaloka is ideal for headlines and highlighted text sections such as quotes. With sloped character endings, the font has a distinctive form, notably the letter Q. It was released in 2011 and designed by graphic and type designers Alexei Vanyashin and Olga Karpushina.
Vidaloka maintains a high-contrast visual style when employed in headlines and larger sizes, which makes it ideal for high-impact communication.
Designed by Giambattisa Bodoni in 1798, the classical font with its creator's name is available in multiple avatars and sub-styles. Since Morris Fuller Benton revived the font, it has regained its widespread use across applications.
The font, with its slim lines and thicker edges, has unique characteristics that make it one of the most recognizable fonts. It takes some skill and extra courage to include Bodoni styles in modern digital applications because of the dynamic inconsistency of thickness in the letters.
A part of modern typefaces (categorized as Didone), Prata demonstrates the art of teardrops in a font. The curvy yet vertically astute typeface makes for a compelling dominance in typography. The serifs are triangular, giving the vertical lines a pillar-like look, a characteristic that conveys how grounded the font can be.
The font doesn’t only sound classical and historical; it even appears so. Marcellus is a clear, firm, and well-established typeface that can find its application in various applications.
Each character under the typeface is broad, with sharp lines and smooth curves. Roman inscription letterforms have inspired the font, which effortlessly forms beautiful flared-serif typography.
Quattrocento has a classic and elegant facade with a strong impact if used correctly. The font's letters are wide and have ample breathing space thanks to its natural kerning.
The letterforms are open and can be used effectively in smaller sizes and as regular body text. The well-spaced characters make Quattrocento an easy font to read, even in text-heavy paragraphs.
Elegantly lean and narrow with a distinct look, Afrah captivates the senses of those who love elevating the experience of a brand.
From jewelry to lifestyle, brands in various niche categories prefer Afrah to represent all they stand for. The strokes are smooth, and the lines have a powerful contrast in thickness, which gives the font its unique characteristic.
Woodland is one of the classic serif fonts to use without trying too hard if you want to get your message across with a neutral charm. It isn’t imposing but also unmissable. It is approachable, soft, and charming in demeanor and can be used to create light-hearted content or represent a friendly brand that deals with lighter topics.
Semi-condensed and neo-classical, Singel is a font marked by sharp serifs at the tips of letters. Designers can employ it in different applications, including logos of luxury and high-end brands that do not want to try too hard.
The Singel family offers a range of weighted fonts, from light to bold, and extended Latin and Crylic, which makes it applicable to 130 languages.
Slim and geometric, the letterings of the St. Marie font are like no other. Each character has a slim line defining it, while the serifs keep appearing as deliberately accentuated additions to the characters.
The slab serif effect keeps the font within a virtual container when written in caps. It is among the few serif fonts you can read swiftly and efficiently, even in small sizes.
The highly rounded font has a character that may not match every palate. As a result, Calgary does well only in specific mediums: logo designs, movie or music album artwork, or even Instagram quotes. The font carries its charm confidently but also begs for limited and exclusive usage.
A practical, everyday serif font can be the best serif font in your arsenal. Sharis brings its simplicity to the fore with applications that extend from headlines for special occasions to writing regular body content. The font contains seven different weights. Mohammad Ahsan designed Sharis.
Sophisticated, chic, and modern—Glamour is a font you may have encountered at some point in your encounters with luxury brands and lifestyle magazines. The Latin characters are instrumental in creating impactful headline typography. The variations in the thickness of lines give the font its unique style and arrest the eyes.
Like most wider fonts, Unna creates a feeling of softness and easy of use. The simplicity of the font makes it convenient to read, even in body copies and heavy prose. Unna is the surname of Jorge de Buen’s mother. De Buen was the one who created the font. The neoclassical, vertical font style also works well in headlines and titles.
A Telugu font, Suranna, was created for use in news publications. You can use it in headlines and earmarked texts in any content. The font has been named after an ancient poet. Silicon Andhra offers the Telugu font version under the SIL Open Font License v1.1. Cyreal, a type foundry in Moscow, designed the Latin variant.
Primarily a Devnagari font, Sahitya has been designed to keep the original aesthetics of its origin intact. Juan Pablo del Peral designed the Latin variant of the font. The font’s bold serifs and consistent thickness define it and give it a pleasant and balanced feel across applications.
Artsy, playful, and liberal, Buenard is a font that makes for exciting headlines. The serifs add character to the lettering, which doesn’t comply with conventional curves and lines. Though artsy, the style has a modern touch and can also be applied in digital realms. It has heavier serifs, and the strokes are less contrasted.
Gilda Display is a font made with heart and is a favorite among those who love delicate balance. The high-contrast strokes make your text stand out from the crowd.
It is among the classic serif fonts for headlines on brand advertising content for luxury, fashion, and jewelry segments. Though presumptuously simple, Gilda Display has donned a diva's hat and is ruling the ramp.
As a part of a global collection of all modern and ancient languages, Noto Serif balances different scripts rather well. The font is available in various styles and weights, so you can assign it the role you have in mind. It is available in the Latin, Greek, and Cyrillic family.
What are some commonly asked questions about the best serif fonts? Get your questions answered with these three FAQs.
Yes! Serif fonts are commonly used for the body text in print media. It has been the standard option for quite some time, and for good reason. Both sans serif and serif fonts are acceptable for use in online body text. Historically, sans serifs have been favored for screen text because they were easier to read on older, lower-resolution displays.
Yes. It has been found that the average inter-letter spacing of serif fonts provides a greater enhancement for readability, making those fonts marginally more readable than sans serif.
Serifs have functional as well as aesthetic purposes. They serve a useful purpose as body copies. Serifs often lend a bit more legibility at smaller scales. Serifs make it easier to read printed and online materials by making the text legible and more aesthetically pleasing.
While this list may seem exhaustive, we’ve hardly scratched the surface in our explorations of the best serif fonts. Always keep these three points in mind before you pick your next serif font:
After thoroughly examining the application of your fonts and the journey you have planned, you can pick the best serif font to fulfill your needs. There may be times when you need to pair your serif fonts with sans-serif fonts. Experiment, assess, and decide. No rule is written in stone that your creative mind cannot control.
Happy writing to you!