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

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

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.


Heavy Sans Serifs

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

Ultra Black Slab Serifs

Heavy Slab Serifs

There is no serif tougher than a slab serif.

Soft Chunky Serifs

Chocolate Chunk Serifs

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

High Contrast Serifs

High Contrast Serifs

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

Fat and Round

Fat and Round

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

Playful and Comical

Playful and Comical

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



Here are heavy metal’s heaviest.

Wood Type

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.

Bold Novelties

Other Novelties

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


None More Black

The Blackest

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

Update May 2, 2008 — Several new fonts added.


  1. This is an incredibly useful list for a designer. Thanks!

    Posted by Mahatma on Jul. 25, 2007
  2. Where have you been all my life! I never took typography 101 but love to learn about it, hard to find good resources, this list is the best!

    Posted by darby on Aug. 13, 2007
  3. I have been using this list since you published it and its about time I thanked you for it.

    Posted by mmolai on Oct. 21, 2007
  4. I landed on your page looking for the name of the typeface used in the “John Edwards 08” campaign…

    “”On Design Observer, Bierut sets the record straight, saying it’s Futura, which is what he said in the first place.”

    It’s NOT futura – or Bierut must have been talking about another version – but what typeface is it ?

    Notice the quasi-identic arms of the ‘E’, and the same width of the strokes, all parallel.
    ( I subscribed to these comments’s feed, so feel free to answer here ! )

    Posted by Tris on Nov. 1, 2007
  5. Hi Tris. The John Edwards campaign uses Gotham, a type family we don’t carry, but you can get very close with Mark Simonson’s Proxima Nova Black.

    Posted by Stephen Coles on Nov. 8, 2007
  6. Thank you, Stephen !!

    Posted by Tris on Dec. 12, 2007
  7. thank you.

    Posted by amica on Oct. 7, 2008
  8. Thanks a lot. Great reference

    Posted by fredda on Apr. 14, 2009
  9. funny, i recently wondered with what words to describe faces like cooper black. thank you. heh.

    Posted by daniel on Sep. 15, 2009
  10. I love Ultra Black fonts. Going to bookmark this list because I’m going on a font shoppingspree soon =D

    Posted by MattS on May. 26, 2010
  11. A fantastic list of fonts, thanks so much for sharing!

    Posted by Joyful on May. 31, 2010
  12. Such a great list here! Thank you.

    Posted by David Selkirk on May. 23, 2011
  13. Super! Thank you.

    Posted by Dawn on Sep. 12, 2011
  14. WOW! This is amazing. I will be spreading this list around the design department next week.

    Posted by Ami on Apr. 14, 2012
  15. Sorry…I’m a developer and not a graphic artist so please forgive my ignorance…which font is used in the Novelties image above? I really like it – thanks!

    Posted by Ron on May. 17, 2013
  16. FF Trademarker

    Posted by Yves Peters on May. 19, 2013
  17. I love the font used in the title image for High Contrast, but have run through the fonts listed and can’t seem to find which one matches. Could you let me know what font it is? Thanks!

    Posted by Jack on Sep. 16, 2015
  18. That’s Caslon Graphique

    Posted by Yves Peters on Sep. 16, 2015

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