Extra Bold, Ultra Black Fonts: Hit Hard with Heavy Duty Type

News|The FontFeed|Stephen Coles 2007-07-25 02:13:16

In an effort to get noticed, a lot of folks turn to the most obvious item in their font menu: Impact™. In concept, it plays the role well. It is heavy and condensed, yet still legible, with short descenders that enable the user to stack headlines big and tight. The problem: overuse. No matter how loud it looks, a typeface can only shout so many times before it loses its voice.

Fortunately, when a powerful vehicle is needed to carry an important message, there are plenty of capable, but less obvious typefaces for the job. Have a look at our Extra Bold newsletter and see more heavy duty headline options in the list below. And for the most up-to-date selection of heavy hitters, check out our categorized and sample-laden FontList.

Compact Sans Serifs

Tall and narrow, with gigantic x-heights and compact descenders, these space-efficient sans serifs pack in the most words per line.

Impact – yeah, we've always got the old standbyHelvetica CompressedHelvetica InseratAnzeigen GroteskHadrianCompactaPlacardPlakBlock Gothic Extra BoldBee FourAuraAurora – Tom Carnase started with this for his Macworld logo fontBigticy NarrowFF GovanFF KippTasseFutura DisplayAtrament BoldPTL AdigioPTL Fabrik TwoPTL HighbusNimbus Sans Black CondensedAriergard HeavyFF Fago Condensed Black

Heavy Sans Serifs

Large sans serif families often include a "Black" or "Ultra" weight at the dark end.

FF Meta Headline BlackFF Unit UltraFF Sanuk FatFF Clan UltraFF Quadraat Display BlackFF Zine Sans Display BlackAmplitude Black and UltraTitling Gothic BlackInterstate Ultra BlackToday Sans Serif UltraParalucent HeavyNeo Sans and Tech UltraAgency BlackTruth UltraGriffith Gothic UltraSansa Condensed Ultra Black, Sansa Condensed Soft Ultra BlackKabel Black and UltraFutura Extra Black, Futura ND ExtraBold, Flyer, and PlakFrutiger Ultra BlackProxima Nova BlackFF Sari BlackTaz III Ultra BlackGloriola Std Display FatBlack GroteskGvardia HeavyHumanist 521 UltraQuadrat Grotesk Black

Heavy Slab Serifs

There is no serif tougher than a slab serif.

Pharaon Ultra BoldGizaGlypha Black, Glypha Black ObliqueStymie BlackBeton Extra BoldPTL Qugard BlackFF Zine Display BlackFF ZapataVolta BoldIronmongerAachen BoldMalaga BlackClarendon Extra BoldEgyptienne BoldQuimera CompactaGeometric Slabserif Extra Bold

Chocolate Chunk Serifs

The soft, goopy serifs that often grace candy wrappers or vintage tee shirts.

Cooper BlackGoudy Heavyface, LTC Goudy HeavyfaceWindsor Ultra HeavyITC Clearface BlackPaddingtonITC Motter CorpusITC Souvenir BoldSaunaRayela ChocolateBardi Ultra Bold

High Contrast Serifs

Shout with grace. These serif faces get extra dark while retaining their thin hairline strokes.


Monotype Bodoni Ultra BoldPoster Bodoni, ItalicURW Bodoni BlackURW DidoniCarouselAnnlieWalburn UltraWorldwide UltraITC Fenice UltraITC Fat FaceThorowgood


Century 725 BlackFreight Big Black, Freight Display BlackGlamour BoldCaslon GraphiqueITC Caslon No. 224 Std BlackTimes BlackBritannic UltraRomana UltraFarnham Display BlackURW Antiqua Ultra BoldWeiss Antiqua Ultra BoldCarmina BlackNicholas BoldITC Zapf International HeavyITC Zapf Renaissance BoldITC Tiffany HeavyCalifornian Display BlackLapidary 333 BlackSkylineLTC Hess Monoblack RegularNimbus Roman Extra Bold

Fat and Round

Hot dog type like VAG Rounded taken to a very plump extreme.

FrankfurterGustoFF Unit Rounded Ultra

Playful and Comical

Bulbous and animated typefaces derived from comics, packaging, and show card lettering.

AsphaltMVB GrenadineMVB BovineEl GrandeArbuckleMesse GroteskKobaltPoster BlackShowcard GothicThrillsBellyLaughClobberin TimeFoomFramistatOrgovanP22 Vienna BlackITC Beesknees


Here are heavy metal's heaviest.

FakirFF BrokenscriptFette GotischBastard Even Fatter

Wood Types

Back when type was set by hand, the biggest, boldest letters were made of wood to save costs. Headline typefaces from this era have a particularly warm, organic quality or charming idiosyncrasies.

Maple BlackRhodeBureau Grot Black and Ultra BlackBloc and Informal BlackPL Barnum BlockFTN FaraoBehemothBaritonGothic 821

Other Novelties

Techno types, stencils, retro faces, and other extra bold novelties in the Display type category.

Techno, Futuristic

FF TrademarkerAlphaville UltraFF QType Square BlackShimano BlackBubba Enbloque

Retro, Signpainter's Lettering

KolossFF Matinee GothicFF Sale Bold ItalicBrothers BoldITC Black TulipFreemanFat AlbertDextorBremen BlackBlakelyFF ZanCasey UltraP22 ConstructivistDestroyerStormtrooper RegularBlippo Black


Futura BlackFF WaterTowerChernobylCaslon Fina SencilCaslon StencilBeton StencilParalucent StencilBorgstrand StencilStencil and Stencil MoonlightBlippo StencilCooper StencilClarendon No 1 Stencil Extra Bold


FF PenguinAlphabet SoupJudgementMunichGriffinNeulandMobleyLTC Glamour GrotesqueBinnerAchtung Baby

The Blackest

"How much more black could these be? And the answer is none, none more black."

FF ExtraBigticyBlackWhite HeadlineCopal SolidAsphaltArmada BlackEagle BlackMostra BlackFiltGustoBlack Boton BoldFF Soul UltraFF Berlinsans BoldFF FlavaFF Beekman Square BoldCorpulentUnovis

Update May 2, 2008 — Several new fonts added.





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