Most Influential Fonts in Graphic Design and Their History

In the graphic design world you are often spoilt for choice when selecting a font type. But what about when you just can not choose? Here we take a look at some influential and iconic fonts that are suitable for use in the graphic design field, for just about any purpose.


Helvetica is a design classic and a real exponent of modernism. Developed by Max Miedinger with Eduard Hoffman in 1957 for the Haas Type Foundry in Munchenstein, Switzerland. Originally called Neue-Hass Grotesk, the font was renamed Helvetica – the Latin name for Swiss. Its success depends on its clarity and simplicity, for this reason, Helvetica can be used as a neutral font, where the content and context of messages shine through rather than being evoked by a font. It is suited to signage and advertisements and has been used by companies such as American Apparel, American Airlines; BMW and NYC Subway.



Garamond can be credited to Claude Garamond a type designer who was commissioned to create the typeface for a French King, Francis I, in the 1540s. The new typeface quickly began to have influence all over Western Europe as it was a clean but elegant typeface that was a move away from the hard-to-read Gothic styles of the time. It can be said therefore that Garamond is very much a renaissance creation.

It is extremely popular for lengthy and continuous text, due to its elegance and warmth. Making it suitable for magazines, books and most printed material.



Named after designer, Giambattista Bodoni, often called King of Printers, the Bodoni font has a very unique style and a very pronounced contrast between thin and thick strokes. Bodoni is suitable for displays, posters, headlines and logos and the Bodoni typeface is considered to be one of the first modern typefaces. His type was characterized by simplicity as he rejected old-style letters and introduced clear and simple type.


Rockwell is a slab serif typeface. The typeface was designed at the Monotype foundry´s in-house design studio in 1933. Because of its mono-weighted stroke, Rockwell is used mostly for display rather than for lengthy text. Here is a fun fact, The Guinness World Records used Rockwell in some of their early-1990s editions.

Times New Roman

A serif typeface that was commissioned by The Times in 1931 after an article was published that criticized the newspaper for being badly printed. Victor Lardent at the English branch of Monotype created it. The Times used the font for over 40 years, and although it is not used at the paper anymore it is still heavily used in the United States for mass-market paperbacks.

Due to its adoption as a default font for Microsoft, it has become one of the most used and recognized fonts in history


Univers is a sans serif typeface that was designed by Adrian Frutiger in 1954 and released by Deberny & Piegnot in 1957. It was then acquired by Haas in 1972, and later by D. Stempel AG and then Linotype. It is known for its clear lines and legibility at great distances.


Choosing the right typeface can have significant effect on the design. it depends on readability, emotions, settings and more. If you want to learn more about typeface and history follow these links .

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