10 Popular Newspaper Fonts and Where to Use Them

Choosing the right font for your newspaper is so much more than just aesthetics. Typography can affect hierarchy, set the overall tone, and is a crucial part of the design and branding of your newspaper. We’ve broken down 10 popular newspaper fonts and analyzed what they can offer as a potential headline or newspaper headline font. Don’t worry if you’re just getting into fonts or aren’t familiar with all the language. Our straightforward guide will make sure you feel well prepared to make the right choice in the end. Try Issuu's easy-to-use newspaper maker to create attention-grabbing, interactive digital newspapers.

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Table of Contents

  1. Key Terms

  2. The Importance of Font Choice

  3. Newspaper Headline & Body Fonts

  4. 10 Popular Newspaper Fonts

    1. Times New Roman

    2. Helvetica

    3. Poynter

    4. Franklin Gothic

    5. Playfair Display

    6. Courier New

    7. Century Old Style

    8. Utopia

    9. Nimrod

    10. Spectral

  5. How to Select the Right Font for Your Newspaper

Here are a few key terms to understand when comparing fonts.


Glyphs that combine two or more characters into one for easier reading. This most often happens with serif fonts where the decorative strokes are connected. 

Typeface vs. Font

Another important differentiation to know is the difference between a typeface and a font. A typeface can have multiple fonts, and each typeface is characterized by spacing and letterforms.

Serif vs. Sans Serif

Serif type fonts have additional decorative strokes at the tips of the letters while sans serif fonts do not. Generally, serif fonts are more classic looking and used more often in formal writing, while sans serif fonts are more casual and modern. 


Stress in fonts are certain characteristics that the stroke width has to emphasize a specific angle or weight. They can either be diagonal, vertical, or have no stress.


The distance between the baseline and the mean line of lowercase letters in a typeface.


A pictograph that shows characters or symbols. Every character in a typeface can be called a Glyph. For example, A, 3, !, $


A line measured from the top of the glyph to the bottom used to determine the slant and in turn the type classification.


Characters that all have the same width without regard to proportions. These types of fonts are commonly used for programming, tables and accounting.

The Importance of Font Choice

By looking at the x-heights and other characteristics of a font, they can evoke different emotions from the reader and reflect professionalism or a casual vibe. When fonts are paired together correctly, they can also establish a hierarchy of information. A well-chosen font is a vital part of brand design. In a newspaper where there are fewer images than in a magazine, the font acts as a visual representation of the text. If you’re a publisher looking to find the perfect font for your digital newspaper, continue reading and we will share with you all of our secrets on the top 10 newspaper fonts so you can be ready to pick the right one for your newspaper.

Newspaper Headline & Body Fonts

Newspapers often have different fonts for their headlines and body copy. This is because they each serve a different purpose. In order to dig deeper into this, we need to differentiate between legibility and readability. 

Newspaper headline fonts and title fonts need to be legible but still intriguing enough to make readers backtrack and read the title. People glance at titles and see if they’re interesting enough to continue reading the text below. Legibility refers to how easy it is to distinguish the difference between one character to another. This is important when you only have a few seconds of your reader’s attention as they are looking at your newspaper headline. 

In contrast, body fonts need to be readable. People spend the bulk of their time reading the actual body copy, and they want to be able to process and understand the meaning of the text. Therefore, readability refers to how easy it is to read the text and understand the information.

10 Popular Newspaper Fonts

Times New Roman

One of the most successful fonts of all time, Times New Roman was designed for the Times of London newspaper. Even though it has a lot of old style characteristics, it is still highly legible and is widely used in books, magazines, reports, professional use and, of course, in newspapers. 

Its shape is narrower than most other fonts, even when bolded, so it’s perfect for newspapers that want to fit more text on a single line. Due to its popularity, Time New Roman has become the default font for many platforms and professions. However, thanks to its ubiquity, it can come off as lacking character. In spite of that, Times New Roman is still a popular choice and also has one of the largest ranges of characters for international and mathematics printing. For a safe and professional choice, Times News Roman could be the one for you. 


Helvetica is another popular choice for newspapers as it’s a very strong font. It’s German and Swiss-inspired and has multiple weights, styles, and sizes with related and matching designs. Helvetica has a dense and solid appearance because of the large x-height and tight space between the characters. It’s easy to read because the letters are so close together and can be read from far away. 

Helvetica offers 36 different styles like Helvetica Light, BMW Helvetica, Helvetica Rounded, etc. It also supports the most languages including Latin, Cyrillic, Hebrew, Greek, Japanese, Korean, Hindi, Urdu, Khmer and Vietnamese alphabets. This font is ideal for large newspaper headline fonts, newspaper title fonts, or even for lengthier paragraphs.


A study done by Ascender Corp. found that 36 out of 97 leading newspapers used Poynter as their main font. It was designed specifically for newspaper printing in small sizes and for the narrow columns. Poynter is a serif typeface which means that it has extra strokes on the ends of the letterform. These types of fonts are usually used for copy that wants to evoke feelings of tradition, history, and honesty. The Poynter font also comes in 12 styles, with plenty of currency symbols, numerals, and punctuation marks that increase its legibility.

Franklin Gothic

Franklin Gothic is a san-serif typeface that gives a modern look to your newspaper. The word ‘Gothic’ was used to describe fonts that are sans-serif in the past but is rarely used now. Due to its fuller and bold look, it’s most often found as a newspaper headline font or on advertisements. Franklin Gothic is less suitable for longer text because it’s extra bolded and doesn’t save space. It easily reminds readers of a classic newspaper look so it’s used even for digital newspapers now. The heavier stroke weight gives it personality and style and stands out among the rest of the sans serif typefaces. As a result, words are wider and very legible even on a small screen or as a smaller font size.

Playfair Display

Playfair Display is an open source transitional serif font, meaning it is available free for personal and commercial use. Similar to Franklin Gothic, it’s more suited for headlines and titles because of its delicate stroke and beautiful italic style. It gives off a handwritten feel but is still legible enough for quick reading in headlines. Because of the high contrast strokes, readability is lower when the font is used at smaller sizes. Transitional fonts are characterized by a larger x-height, more contrast between the thick and thin strokes, and wide and bracketed serifs with flat bases. These fonts usually have vertical stress meaning that there is more pressure on the vertical access and weight is on the horizontal axis. This shows up on lettering as the verticals of the letters are thick and the horizontals are thinner. It is often paired with Georgia, Lato, or Josefin Sans for editorial purposes.

Courier New

Originally designed for IBM as a typewriter face, Courier New is now also used in magazines and newspapers that focus on more industrial topics. The inspiration behind its design came from the typewriter fonts used for technical documentation. 

Fun fact: it’s often used in computer programming because it has larger punctuation marks, sans-serif options, and features that increase its legibility on screens. As a monospaced font, Courier is useful when columns of characters need to be aligned consistently. Compared to its predecessor, Courier, Courier New is more legible with smoother edges and a higher line space.

Century Old Style

Known for its readability, the Century Old Style is a serif font with a large x-height and letters that are all open form. It’s often paired with ITC Johnston for use in newspapers. Century Old Style is one of the few fonts that is ideal as a newspaper font for both the headline and body. It’s offered in two different styles—regular and bold with an italics version for each. Due to its high legibility, the U.S. Supreme Court requires that all briefs are presented in fonts from the Century family. If you’re looking for a font that makes a statement but is still highly readable, Century Old Style may be the one for you.


Utopia reminds readers of classic newspaper fonts such as Century, Walbaum, and Baskerville but with a simpler, more contemporary look. It’s offered in four different sizes, four weights, small caps, and other styles. Utopia is often used in newspapers and other formal editorial copy. The clean look comes from the larger x-height, clean joins between characters, vertical stress, and a distinct stroke contrast. In particular, the Expert Collection from the Utopia typeface is more prevalent in advertising, newspaper publishing, and other corporate uses. The Expert Collection is a new release that has more than two ligatures, weights, small capitals, and optical variants. Because this font has many different styles and extra bold options for headlines, Utopia can be used for newspaper title fonts and body content as well. Utopia pairs well with Larsseit because it is a fairly neutral sans-serif typeface that doesn’t overpower Utopia’s simple design.


Designed specifically for the newspaper industry, Nimrod is an extremely versatile font that is definitely one of the best newspaper fonts. It’s very legible even in small sizes and is able to withstand the degradation of newspaper production and printing. Nimrod comes in 11 different style and family package options. Similar to other fonts that work well at small sizes, it has a large x-height, strong serifs, and is not overly ornate but still has character in its design. The Guardian, London used Nimrod as its main font from the late 1980s to 1998 until it was replaced by a version of Miller. The Oxford Dictionary and Canadian daily newspaper “The Globe and Mail” also use Nimrod as their main font. Nimrod’s overall look is very similar to Plantin and has similar shapes to Century Schoolbook.


A new font from a French digital type design agency, Spectral is used mainly for design professionals that want to publish for luxury, media, and retail type purposes. It’s a serif font with seven weights in roman and italic and offers small caps. It’s quickly becoming a favorite in digital newspaper publishing because of its efficient design that can fit a lot of long form text on screens but still maintain its readability. It was commissioned to be used for Google Docs and Sheets so is ideal for on-screen performance. If you’re looking for a new free font to try out for your digital publications, Spectral is offered by Google Fonts as an open-source font. The design features substantial, triangular serifs and is best matched with Source Sans Pro.

How to Select the Right Font for Your Newspaper

While there is no best newspaper font for every newspaper, there is definitely one that fits your newspaper the best. Fonts that are best suited for newspapers generally have a large x-height, are not overly ornate to have high legibility and readability, and heavy serifs. Some fonts work especially well for newspaper headlines and need to be paired with another font for the body while options such as Nimrod, Utopia, and Century Old Style can be used for both. Issuu renders your fonts upon upload so your content remains on-brand. Our newspaper creator is the perfect way to get started!

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