Top 10 Corporate Design Fonts

Looking for some ideas on a font that will make your company look legit? Trying to figure out what other major brands are using in their logo designs and corporate identity systems? Here are some of the biggies.

#1 Helvetica

So, Helvetica is just everywhere. There’s even a documentary about it, titled Helvetica. It’s a good watch.  It’s a sans-serif typeface developed in the 1950s, based on Akzidenz-Grotesk. Most people will be familiar with Arial, a very similar font popularized by Microsoft Windows. The easiest way I can usually spot the difference is by looking at the capital R.  One of the great things about Helvetica Neue is that it comes in Condensed versions and so many weights, so it really allows you to establish some nice hierarchy in your layouts.

Companies that use Helvetica

  • American Airlines
  • 3M
  • Target
  • The North Face
  • Crate&Barrel
  • Microsoft (formerly – Black weight)
  • Panasonic (Black weight)
  • Jeep (Bold weight)
  • JC Penney (thinner weight)
  • Oral B (Black italic)
  • Dole
  • Nestlé
  • LG

#2 Avant Garde Gothic

Another sans serif, Avant Garde Gothic is based on the Avant Garde magazine logo, this font has only been around since the 70s but it’s one of my favorites and works for a lot of uses where you want a classic look. It can either give you a look from that time period, and stands up well in modern applications as well.  A spin-off that may be installed on your computer already is Century Gothic.

Companies that use Avant Garde Gothic

  • Adidas
  • ExxonMobil
  • New Balance
  • GROUPON
  • Arby’s
  • Bloomingdales
  • Macy’s
  • Nutella
  • RE/MAX
  • Yoplait
  • ASPCA

#3 Avenir

A sans serif font that’s a bit more modern as it was released in the late 80s, Avenir is widely used in corporate design today.

Companies that use Avenir

  • Best Buy
  • Nationwide Insurance
  • Toyota
  • AOL (newer logo)
  • Black & Decker (latest logo)
  • Bloomberg Television
  • Seagate Technology
  • Spotify
  • AT&T

#4 Frutiger

Another sans serif named after the Swiss designer, he also designed #3 Avenir. This one was designed for great document legibility, so it’s a great font for running text and pairs nicely with sans serif fonts.  Ha…I’m making fonts sound like cheese and wine now.

Companies that use Frutiger

  • Flickr
  • ERICSSON
  • Cornell University
  • Panda Express
  • Radio Shack
  • State Farm
  • TD Bank
  • Deutsche Post
  • Amtrak

#5 Univers

Another Frutiger sans serif…sorry, I’ll be mixing it up soon, but so many companies use Univers that it would be hard to drop it down the list just because we’re getting tired of these Frutiger sans serifs. This is a bit older and was released in the 50s, so you’ll find it in use by older companies.

Companies that use Univers

  • FedEx
  • Adobe
  • Unicef
  • eBay
  • Budget
  • BP
  • Black & Decker (their old logo)
  • Harman
  • Palantir
  • Unicef
  • Western Union

#6 Gotham

This typeface has been hugely popular in the 2000s. It was famously used by the Obama presidential election campaign, and gave what is usually a pretty dull field of design a very fresh look.  Definitely a nice departure from the Frutiger and Akzidenz-Grotesk inspired fonts.  It was commissioned by GQ magazine, and designed by Hoefler & Co which created one of my favorite serif fonts, Hoefler.

Companies that use Gotham

  • GQ Magazine
  • Chipotle Mexican Grill
  • Citroën
  • DC COMICS
  • Discqus
  • Feeding America
  • Frigidaire
  • Game Show Network
  • Martini & Rossi
  • TGI Fridays

#7 Garamond

Finally, a serif font. Apple managed to keep this Serif font alive in the tech business for quite some time. It’s actually quite old, as many serif fonts are, as it was developed in the 1500s.

Companies that use Garamond

  • Apple
  • Room&Board
  • Dior
  • Abercrombie & Fitch
  • Google (formerly)
  • Duke University (And likely many other Universities)
  • New Line Cinema

#8 Clarendon

Clarendon

Another serif font, this one a bit newer…from the 1800s.  I love using a font that my great great grandparents probably thought was a fresh look. This one actually is one of my favorites, but I haven’t had a chance to use it professionally so far.  Some older brands like SONY and Tonka make this one recognizable. With the Tonka connection, its boldness definitely seems like it could be used in work for very rough industrial industries.

Companies that use Clarendon

  • SONY
  • People Magazine
  • Tonka
  • Wells Fargo

#9 Futura

Futura

Designed in 1920s Germany, following the famous Bauhaus design philosophy, Futura is a sans serif font with a very nice, clean, European look. What I like about Futura and bauhaus stuff is they didn’t believe anything should be based on a previous work, so this was very original in its time.  I love the lowercase g and lowercase a in this font. But the lowercase j gives me trouble. The numbers are very clean and legible with very circular curves and sharp corners.  It’s definitely a favorite of mine.  It can be used to get a classic look, as you’ll find that it was used in a lot designs in the 50s and 60s.  These days, it’s probably used more for running text than for logos, but it has a few examples of logos.

Companies that use Futura Pro

  • Dell
  • Union Pacific
  • Petco
  • Absolut Vodka
  • Louis Vuitton
  • Red Bull
  • Domino’s Pizza

#10 Bodoni

Bodoni

Out of all of these, this serif font is perhaps the most unique, and it is very recognizable out in the world.  Not used as much in corporate design as it is in the entertainment and book publishing business, but you’ll see it on the walls of many shopping malls around the country.

Companies that use Bodoni

  • The Gap
  • Georgio Armani
  • Vogue Magazine
  • Columbia Records
  • Used a lot in entertainment, the Nirvana (band) and Mamma Mia word marks are a couple of examples

Honorable Mentions

  • Akzidenz-Grotesk
  • FF DIN
  • Colfax
  • Charlotte Serif
  • Dax
  • Optima
  • Trajan – I nearly put this one in the top 10, because it’s so widely used in major Universities.
  • Baskerville
  • Bembo
  • Bickham Script Pro
  • Caslon
  • Franklin Gothic
  • Gill Sans
  • Lucidia Sans and Lucidia Grande
  • Minion
  • Myriad
  • Palatino
  • Rockwell
  • Sabon
  • Century Gothic
Dustin Marson photoDustin Marson is a freelance multimedia designer located in Minnesota. Dustin has been a professional working designer for over 15 years. He works on a wide variety of graphic design, web design, photography, video, and motion graphics projects. He also works with clients and marketing teams on the latest SEO and Adwords strategy.

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