Old style typefaces can be a timeless, classy addition to any font library. But what is the old style serif typeface classification, and why do modern fonts still take influence from it? In this article, we'll discuss what old style serif fonts are and check out a list of beautiful fonts that take influence from old style serif typefaces.
What Is the Old Style Serif Typeface Classification?
So what is the old style serif type classification—or what is a type classification at all? Think of it as a means of sorting type into different "types". For example, fonts are often broadly categorized as serifs or sans serifs, as a means of describing parts of their design.
If you're new to type classification, check out our free video course. It's a wonderful place to start for beginners, and a worthwhile refresher for experienced designers.
There's more to type classification than serifs vs. sans serifs. For example, there are many different classifications for serif typefaces. Old style is one of those classifications. As an example, let's compare two different serif type classifications: old style and Didone.
Both of these typefaces have serifs—the extended lines at the end of the font's stroke. However, they are each visually quite different. In the Didones, we see a straight serif. In the old style type, we see a more tapered serif that looks more like a wedge. Notice the difference in the strokes too. Old style lacks the stark contrast that we see in Didones. We'll often see more of a tilt in the type's axis, as well.
Old style serif fonts have a beautiful, timeless aesthetic that can work in a wide variety of design situations. Some popular old style fonts include Garamond, Goudy, Palatino, and Minion. Modern fonts often draw inspiration from old style typefaces (as well as the Transitionals, where you'd see fonts like Times New Roman). There's something very classy about serif type—it's not uncommon to see them in newspapers, magazines, and in the interior of your favorite book.
Let's take a look at some beautifully designed fonts that draw inspiration from old style typefaces. They may not all necessarily follow the old style aesthetic completely by the book, but that's the beauty of modern fonts. Many of them draw inspiration from several aesthetics.
So, if you're looking to add some elegance and style to your font collection, take a look.
Stylish Old Style Serif Fonts From Envato Elements
If you love to download new fonts, check out Envato Elements. For one low fee, you gain access to a library of thousands of fonts, and you can download them all without any limits. This is a bargain if you're looking to try out a lot of different fonts and you want to use them for commercial purposes. There are plenty of old style serif inspired fonts, as well as geometrics, sans serifs, handwriting fonts, and more.
But it's not just a font library. Envato Elements also comes with graphics, illustrations, photographs, design templates, professional mockups, and much more. The best part is, it's all included with unlimited downloads.
So, if you're a professional designer who regularly turns to stock imagery, needs templates, and other professional assets, Envato Elements is a bargain and a valuable resource. Spruce up your website. Find the perfect assets for your Instagram account. Enjoy all of the font downloads you like—on top of all these perks.
Let's take a look at some of the beautiful serif fonts over on Envato Elements. Many of them are very clearly inspired by old style serif fonts, while others take hints from the old style serif aesthetic. Regardless of the approach, they are an elegant addition to any font library.
Enjoy the type inspiration or consider adding one of these fonts to your collection today.
This font is a versatile and stylish addition to any font collection. This font download also includes eight different weights, making it a perfect fit for a wide variety of design situations.
Isn't this font classy? Pair it with your photography, use it in your next magazine design, or use it to set copy in your next layout design.
Here's another font family to check out. It includes multiple weights and is a classy addition to any font collection. It works great at larger sizes, but could work well as body copy too.
This typeface deviates from what we'd expect from old style fonts, but we can see a little inspiration here too. That's part of the beauty of type design—we can take from more than one influence to come up with something awesome.
Aren't the serifs on this font visually interesting? It makes for an elegant aesthetic, perfect for a number of design projects. Download this one today.
Check out this stylish typeface. The "M" here creates a lot of visual interest. This font family also includes multiple weights for your experimentation. If you're looking for something different, give this one a look.
This font is bold, and we don't need the imagery here to clearly associate this one with business. Try it out in a headline or title in your next design project.
Beautiful and versatile—that describes this lovely serif typeface. It would be a lovely fit for a number of book projects. It has the perfect readability for both large and smaller type treatments.
There's a slight variation in the strokes of this font that makes it stand out from the others. Less is often more; those slight tweaks make an impact, when you give this type a try.
This font is a little less old style; we have a lot more contrast here, but notice the more wedge-like serifs. This interesting font would be a beautiful addition to high-end product design and packaging.
Now here's an interesting font with some really beautiful alternates. Beautiful swashes and curls added to this serif font give it an extra stroke of elegance.
This font pushes the curve of the serif wedge even further. The slight organic quality to the strokes also lends to the overall aesthetic here. Use this one for a wide variety of design projects.
This is a great font download, because you get a two-in-one pack. This font duo includes a lovely serif font and a matching sans serif font too. No need to figure out what would be a good match—they were designed for each other.
Isn't the crossbar in the upper-case "A" here visually interesting? Additions and variations like the ones in this typeface make it a fun and valuable addition to any font library. Use this one at large sizes or small.
Here's another serif typeface that employs beautiful swashes and curls. It really is a lovely pair with a classic serif, isn't it? Use this display type for logo design, headlines, and more.
This is a beautiful, classic font. Try out the two included widths to help create hierarchy in your next design. It's clean, versatile, and has plenty of possibility. Give this font a look today.
This stylish font family is a great fit for photography, but it looks elegant on a page on its own, too. It also comes with five different weights, so there's plenty to work with here.
If you're looking for an elegant, modern take on a serif font, give this one a look. There's a touch of vintage elegance here and some nods to the Didones, while also keying into some classic serif aesthetics.
This font has so many possibilities. There's more dramatic contrast in this one than in many of the other fonts we've looked at. It would prove to be a great addition to any font library.
There's something so elegant about well-designed type, isn't there? This serif font is an awesome example. Use it in a variety of design projects in its round, regular, and outline variations.
There are stylish extras at the end of many of these beautifully designed letterforms. Check out the included ligatures and alternates to craft beautiful headlines, logos, and more.
If you're looking for a versatile font that can fill many roles, give this one a look. Choose from light, round, and bold styles with this font download. It also includes web font files for your convenience.
This classy serif font family includes six different weights. It's a great fit for classy headlines and logos, but also works well for body copy and other supplemental type. Give this one a look.
Isn't this hand-drawn type beautiful? It includes lovely flourish styles, perfect for display type and other points of emphasis. Or stick to the text styles for the perfect design supplement.
Here's another font with some really stylish alternates. These little decorative twists add a lot of extra character and personality to this serif aesthetic. This one is definitely worth a look.
Looking for a stylish serif font that can fill a wide variety of roles in your next composition? This one is super versatile, has seven different weights included, and has also received regular updates from the designer.
The Best Old Style Serif Fonts From GraphicRiver
If you're not looking for unlimited downloads or an entire library of fonts, take a look at GraphicRiver. It's another collection of beautifully designed, high-quality design assets, but the focus is on single downloads. Browse thousands of fonts by so many different type designers, and download your favorites. So if you're looking to add some old style serif fonts to your collection, give GraphicRiver a look.
Here's a look at some of the lovely font offerings over on GraphicRiver. It's just a taste of all the fantastic type design there is to see.
This beautiful font is a perfect fit for prestige branding, elegant projects, and other classy situations. Use it at larger sizes on your packaging, letterhead, and more.
Typefaces like this transitional serif take some influence from the old style, but also mix it with neoclassical aesthetics too. It's a classy look and feel, isn't it?
Here's another stylish serif that takes an interesting approach to the serifs. With multiple interesting cuts, curves, and angles, this font has a memorable aesthetic worth adding to your library.
Decorative additions give this serif font a touch of stylish flair. Keep things neutral, or use the stylistic alternates to add some extra variety to the type you've set.
Here's a different take on the serif, this time with more width. It works in a number of old style elements, while putting its own twist on the aesthetic. It feels a little vintage, a little retro.
This elegant serif font is a great fit for invitations, branding, and more. It's got a classy, timeless feel that works well at large sizes, small sizes, and everything in between.
If you like a hand-drawn aesthetic, check out this typeface, which takes some visual inspiration from old style serif fonts. The characters have a lovely, organic quality, making it a great fit for informal projects.
How about a different aesthetic? This font takes an old style serif vibe and literally cuts it up. This is a really fun font to use for display purposes. Create some visual variety and emphasis with this font.
This serif font borrows from several aesthetics, and the result is a versatile font with a lot of potential and personality. Give this one a try in your next design project.
Which Old Style Typefaces Are Your Favorites?
Which fonts were your favorites? Any designer's collection or font library would benefit from several strong old style serif fonts. In addition, there are so many fonts out there that mix classifications, taking something from old style fonts and creating something stunning, new, and versatile. Isn't type design wonderful?
If you're a font lover, remember to check out Envato Elements. One fee gets you access to an entire library of fonts. Download and try out as many as you like from a huge collection—and the licensing is for commercial usage too. It's a perfect resource for professional designers and hobbyists alike.
Or, if single downloads are more your style, check out GraphicRiver. There are so many beautiful fonts to check out and download today. It's a perfect choice if you want to keep things simple: only download what you need.
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