If you want to be sure your font collection includes the most legible and readable, tried and true typefaces for text, you can't go wrong with the selection of serif fonts presented here. While this is only the tip of the iceberg, these classic serif fonts are versatile and reliable standards. Within each grouping are many varieties and renditions, some more suitable than others for body copy. Because few designers can agree on which is best, this list is presented in alphabetical order.
A classic dating from the 1750s, the many variations of Baskerville and New Baskerville serif fonts work quite well for both text and display use.
A classic text face styled after the work of Giambattista Bodini. Some font versions are, perhaps, too heavy or carry too much contrast in thick and thin strokes for body text but work very well as a display face.
Benjamin Franklin chose Caslon for the first printing of the American Declaration of Independence. Fonts based on the typefaces of William Caslon are good, readable choices for text.
- Adobe Caslon Volume (Buy Direct)
- Adobe Caslon Expert Volume (Buy Direct)
- Adobe Caslon Complete Family Pack (Buy Direct)
- ITC Founder's Caslon Complete Volume (Buy Direct)
- Caslon Classico Complete Family Pack (Buy Direct)
- William Caslon Complete Family Pack (Buy Direct)
- Caslon Antique Complete Family Pack (Buy Direct)
The best known of this family is probably New Century Schoolbook. All the Century faces are considered highly legible serif fonts, suitable not only for children's textbooks but for magazines and other publications as well.
Typefaces bearing the Garamond name are not always based on the designs of Claude Garamond; however, these serif fonts share certain characteristics of timeless beauty and readability.
A relatively "young" design from the late 1980s, the whole family with its coordinated serif, sans serif, and informal families work well for mixing and matching styles.
Possibly overused but a good basic serif font nonetheless. Originally designed for newspaper use, Times, Times New Roman, and other variations are designed to be easily readable and legible as body text — a neutral font.