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There are thousands upon thousands of fonts out there to suit any imaginable design scenario. From classical hand-lettered scripts to ultramodern sans serifs, there’s no end to the choices available for curious designers. 

But as exciting and seemingly infinite as the modern font landscape is, it can sometimes be slightly overwhelming. Like they say, too many cooks spoil the broth. And too much choice can overload the mind. 

So to bring things back to basics, we thought we’d share 5 essential and timeless fonts which, between them, can be utilised for a huge variety of projects and will never let you down.


The font that needs no introduction, and our all-time favourite. Helvetica is the staple of staples. One of the most ubiquitous, diverse, and time-resistant fonts that’s ever been created.

Helvetica can be adapted for almost any purpose, and within the broader Helvetica family itself you can find a huge variety of styles. In a nutshell: Helvetica is, in our humble opinion, an absolutely indispensable font that should be in every designer’s toolbox. 


The Helvetica of serifs, Times is a wonderful font that always serves well as a classic-looking body text. It’s an easy, go-to, and failsafe option for print. Whether you’re designing a leaflet, a booklet, or a poster, Times will rarely steer you wrong. And when you’re looking for a solid serif font but are unsure where to turn, it’s an option won’t let you down. 


Avenir is a beautifully simple and modern font. For us, it’s a really fantastic option for when you want something as sleek and universal as Helvetica but not Helvetica itself. 

But that’s not to say it’s a second-best option by any means. Avenir stands on its own as an incredibly well-designed, aesthetically pleasing, contemporary font. Great for modern, minimal, and simple designs.


Another excellent serif font, Bodoni offers something just a little different for those times when you want a classical look with a very subtle twist. There’s just something about Bodoni that makes it stand out from the crowd. It’s compact, slim, and elegant, with a very friendly and appealing aesthetic. You could call it a modern classic, and it’s well worth using. 


For us, Futura is a bit like the sans serif equivalent of Bodoni. It’s compact and condensed. Very modern but with a classic and timeless feel about it. Futura is a bit of an underdog in the font world. It’s extremely diverse and surprisingly versatile, and will adapt itself to more projects and styles than you’d initially imagine.

Typography: the fundamentals 

Now that you’ve gone through some of the most fundamental fonts available to the modern designer, why not delve a little deeper into the area of typography in general? You can find our full design fundamentals post on typography here