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Classic Sans Serif Fonts Give Your Print Projects a Crisp, Clean Appearance

These sans serif fonts are designer favorites

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The uncluttered lines of these sans serif fonts are perennial favorites that designers turn to again and again. Within each grouping are many varieties and renditions, some more suitable than others for body copy. These classic sans serif fonts are presented in alphabetical order because few designers and typography buffs can agree on a ranking.

Akzidenz-Grotesk

Akzidenz Grotesk Pro Volume; Fonts.com
Akzidenz Grotesk Pro Volume; Fonts.com

Despite the "grotesque" name, this predecessor of Helvetica and Univers is a lovely favorite among many designers.

  • Akzidenz-Grotesk Complete Family Pack (Buy Direct)
  • Akzidenz-Grotesk Pro Complete Family Pack (Buy Direct)

 

Avant Garde

ITC Avant Garde Gothic; Fonts.com
ITC Avant Garde Gothic; Fonts.com

Drawn with geometric precision, it's a crisp headline font. The condensed weights are quite legible for text work as well.

  • ITC Avant Garde Gothic Complete Family (Buy Direct)
  • ITC Avant Garde Gothic Multilingual Complete Family Pack (Buy Direct)

Franklin Gothic

ITC Franklin Gothic Com Book; Fonts.com
ITC Franklin Gothic Com Book; Fonts.com

A popular choice for newspaper work, the various weights give this sans serif font great versatility and the condensed versions maintain high legibility in tight spaces.

  • Franklin Gothic Complete Family Pack (Adobe) (Buy Direct)
  • ITC Franklin Gothic Complete Family Pack (Buy Direct)
  • ITC Franklin Gothic Com Complete Family Pack (Buy Direct)

Frutiger

Frutiger Next Regular; Fonts.com
Frutiger Next Regular; Fonts.com

This clean, legible sans serif font from Adrian Frutiger was originally designed for signage but works quite well for text and display. It was drawn with a certain subtle unevenness that produced a font that is warmer, friendlier than Helvetica and other early sans serifs. As with most classics, there are many versions of Frutiger.

Futura

Futura Com Book; Fonts.com
Futura Com Book; Fonts.com

Longer ascenders and descenders than many similiar text sans serif faces plus its geometric consistency help give Futura its elegant and practical appearance. It comes in many weights and makes a handsome font choice for text and display use.

Gill Sans

Gill Sans; Fonts.com
Gill Sans; Fonts.com

Eric Gill's popular and highly legible sans serif font comes in several weights for both text and display use.

Helvetica

Helvetica Roman; Fonts.com
Helvetica Roman; Fonts.com

One of the most popular and confusing typefaces, this san serif font was originally designed by Max Miedinger in 1957. The introduction of Helvetica Neue brought some order to the chaos with more design consistency among the various weights that had developed throughout the 60s and 70s. Helvetica works well for many applications from body text to billboards.

Not Helvetica: Some of the fonts that look like Helvetica or are very similiar are Arial, Aristocrat, CG Tiumvirate, Claro, Corvus, Europa Grotesk, Geneva 2, Hamilton, Helio/II, Helv, Helvette, Holsatia, Megaron/II, Nimbus Sans URW, Spectra, Vega, Newton, Sans URW, Sonoran Sans Serif, Swiss, Swiss 721 BT, Switzerland, Swiss 911 BT (Helvetica Compressed), Impact and Placard Bold and Swiss 921 BT (Helvetica Inserat/Compressed), Arial Narrow (Helvetica Narrow). There are probably many others.

Myriad

Myriad Pro Regular; Fonts.com
Myriad Pro Regular; Fonts.com

You'lll find a myriad of uses for this 1990s era Adobe Originals typeface. Robert Slimbach, Carol Twombly, and other Adobe staff had a hand in the design of this modern sans serif font.

 

Optima

Optima nova Pro Regular; Fonts.com
Optima nova Pro Regular; Fonts.com

Hermann Zapf created Optima with tapered strokes that are almost like serif faces, but without the serifs. A classy choice for text and display use.

 

Univers

Univers 55; Fonts.com
Univers 55; Fonts.com

Similiar to the ever-popular Helvetica, there are 21 typefaces in Adrian Frutiger's Univers family. The full range of consistently developed weights makes it a versatile sans serif font choice that mixes and matches well for text and display.

Readers Respond: Best Ways to Mix and Match Fonts

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