Magazines make the perfect canvas for fantastic typography. Your choice of font can transform layouts from dull to dramatic, and instantly create a sense of atmosphere, style and authority.
Discover our recommendations for the best free and premium magazine fonts.
1. If you’re designing a Foodie magazine…
Foodie magazines need to look tactile and sensual. Appropriate use of colour, images and typography can work together to create layouts that look good enough to eat.
2. If you’re designing a Fashion or Lifestyle magazine…
High-end magazines all share one thing in common – they love a beautiful serif font. It makes fashion titles look elegant, timeless and luxurious. Harper’s Bazaar uses Didot, a typeface which has become synonymous with the magazine. For a less costly alternative (much less costly – it’s free!) take Theano Didot for a spin.
That’s not to say that all fashion magazines follow the same formula. In this example layout from Marie Claire, a blown-up serif character provides a gorgeous background for no-fuss sans serif text. Try Fuller Sans DT Extra Light for a similar effect, or the free font District Thin.
Fashion and lifestyle titles for men use similar typefaces, but are often more experimental with headers and titles, to give the titles more edgy appeal.
Download Ano to imitate the quirky font used for the subtitles at the bottom of this cover for AnOtherMan magazine.
3. If you’re designing a Commentary or Journalism magazine…
More formal magazines covering business, political or social commentary, or human interest stories, use typefaces that communicate a sense of authority and impact. Many contemporary newspapers use similar typographic styles too.
For a typeface that looks both serious and cutting-edge, you can’t go wrong with a strong sans serif. Choose one with versatility that can be used equally effectively across slab headings, italic quotations and smaller body text. Bloomberg Businessweek has used Neue Haas Grotesk since 2010. But you can also achieve a similar effect with the ever-popular Helvetica.
Time uses a version of Times New Roman for the magazine title, which is classic and linked to an authoritative tradition of use across broadsheet newspapers.
Be inspired by Time and mix up traditional serif typefaces with more modern serifs and sans serifs. You can see on the cover here that there are two further fonts in use, a thin sans serif for the running header at the top (try out any sans serif font with a light weight, or Verb Cond Extra Light for a closer match) and an elegant serif typeface for the article summary (try Proforma, Elena or FF Scala).
4. If you’re designing a Music magazine…
One option for designing a music magazine is to adapt your typeface(s) to the music genre you’ll be covering in your magazine. Pick an elegant serif for a classical music title, or experiment with digital-inspired styles for an electronic music title. Try out Audimat which is free to download.
Founded in 1967, Rolling Stone has stayed true to a rock-n-roll aesthetic, and still maintains a nostalgic typographic style in spite of a couple of moves to update the title’s look in recent years. Mimic the timeless look of the Rolling Stone logo with Royal Acidbath, which is free for personal use.
Use Parkinson Roman for body text, a classic serif which gives a nod to 1960s type styles.
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For more help choosing the right fonts, have a read of our best book cover fonts article. Or if any fonts you love to use for magazine design weren’t mentioned here – share them with us in the comments below!
Craving more of the same? Don’t worry, we’ve got more magazine design inspiration here.
Learn how to make your own magazine with our easy 2-part tutorial.