A common practice for many newbie graphic designers is to use the coolest, newest typefaces available in their work. Just like fashion there are certain type styles that will come and go. Over time I have learned, that in most cases, your designs will be stronger if you choose to stick with a more versatile workhorse type style.
Truly learning the ins and outs of your basic font library will allow you to pick your type quickly and create the right look for your designs. Find out what attitude your typeface conveys subliminally, figure out the visual weight it adds to a page and how the font family fits together. How does the bold relate to the roman, the black weight, or the italic?
That being said here is my top 10 list of workhorse typefaces every graphic designer should have:
A true classic, this font is a great for body text and has a beautiful italic. The pro family offers ligatures and old style numbering for true versatility.
This sans serif font family offers condensed and extended weights. Great for simple headlines and body text. Can create a modern look, a sporty look, or just plain legibility.
The archetypical Neo Classical serif font creates a modern look. Use it for headlines to convey elegance, luxury, fashion. The italic weight is really quite decorative in a simple way.
4. Gill Sans
This sans-serif has the legibility of a serif. In its lighter weights Gill Sans seems friendly and is perfect for body text. The bolder weights are perfect for display type or type you really need to emphasize.
This humanist sans-serif typeface can be used in display sizes or lengthy texts with affecting readability. Widely used in advertising for display and text lines as well as being used in brochures, catalogues and magazines.
Meta is a highly legible sans-serif humanist typeface. It is perfect for signage and copy. Feels like Helvetica but with an updated look.
Rotis is a highly unified yet varied typeface family that ranges from full serif, glyphic, and sans-serif. This family is definitely worth your while.
Century offers a timeless feel. Featuring clear and crisp serifs this typeface is highly versatile.
9. Bickham Script
Beautiful and flowing, this typeface has endless swashes and flourishes. For a script this typeface is legible too.
10. Mrs. Eaves
Refined alternative to Baskerville, this typefaces has a beautiful italic that is great for displays or body text.