All About Titling Fonts

When looking for just the right display typeface, have you considered a titling font? If not, you are missing out on an entire category of possibilities. Titling fonts are typefaces designed specifically for headline or display usage. They are usually all caps, but some can contain lowercase, and even small caps! Titling fonts differ from their text counterparts in that their scale, proportion, and design details have been tweaked to look best at larger sizes. They often have an increased weight contrast between the thick and thin parts of the characters, and can sometimes have more condensed proportions than their text-sized cousins if part of a family.

This sub-category of display typefaces tend to have a refined, even dramatic look – qualities that make them an excellent choice for books, magazines, movie titles and sequences, logos, signage, or any usage that calls for large-sized type benefiting from finessed design details as well as a touch of elegance.

Titling fonts can be part of an existing typeface or a stand-alone design. They are most often – but not always – serif designs with pronounced weight contrast, as it is the thin strokes that vary the most in typestyles intended for text and those meant for display.

Font Families with Titling Fonts

Titling fonts, as mentioned above, are frequently single-weight variants that are part of a type family, such as those available with Adobe Garamond Pro, ITC Golden Cockerel, Dante, Plantin, and Bembo, They are designed to expand the range of usage of designs that are primarily intended for text. In some cases, titling fonts are made to be used with a font family of a different name, such as Forum Titling, which was designed by Frederick Goudy to be used with his Kennerley type family, a book face.

Bembo Titling has much more refined details than Bembo Regular, below it.

Plantin Titling is slightly narrower with thinner serifs than the regular version below.

Palatino Nova Titling is lighter, narrower, with some different design details than the regular version below it, such as a raised crossbar on the A.

Golden Cockerel Titling (upper) has thinner serifs than the regular version, including a lower serif added to the lower extension of the C.

Forum Titling has three weights, including titling small caps in place of the lowercase.

While most titling fonts are designed as part of the original family, some come later, both in concept and execution. One such example is Hoefler Titling. Hoefler Titling is unique amongst titling fonts in that it is a robust family of twelve fonts for display sizes. It is basically three weights (Light, Semibold, and Bold) that each includes romans (upright designs), italics, small caps, and swashes. This classic design in the baroque style was designed to be a display-sized companion to Hoefler Text typeface family. Some titling fonts deviate a bit from the typical model. One such example is Neutraface Display Titling, which is a heavyweight, all-cap version of this sans serif typestyle.

The Hoefler Titling family has a whopping 12 versions and is a companion to the Hoefler Text family.

Neutraface Display Titling is a heavier, all-cap version of the lighter weights.

Stand-alone Titling Fonts

Titling fonts can also be standalone designs, such as Felix Titling, Festival Titling, and Victoria Titling Condensed. Some are even more decorative than the typical titling font, such as Rococo Titling and Erler Titling. While titling fonts are most often all caps, there are some exceptions, such as Village Bold Titling, which has a lowercase.

The above three images are stand-alone titling fonts.

Village Titling has its own set of lowercase.

How to Find Titling Fonts

If you are using or considering a font that contains titling alternates within it, such as Adobe Garamond Pro, these characters can be accessed via the Character panel’s drop-down menu found in many design apps, such as Adobe InDesign and Illustrator. Note that only OpenType fonts have the expanded character capacity that can accommodate these extra glyphs.

Adobe Garamond titling caps are accessed from within the regular Garamond font via the Titling Alternates option located in the Character panel.

If you are starting an exploration for a titling font via a font foundry or reseller, the easiest way to locate them is to do a search for “titling.” Don’t forget to check out Google Fonts, which also has titling fonts, such as those shown below.

A selection of titling fonts available from Google Fonts.

You might even have titling fonts in your own library that you are not aware of, so don’t forget to search for “titling” in your existing library. If you are using a font management utility (FontAgent Pro, Extensis Suitcase Fusion, Linotype Explorer, or even Apple’s Font Book), you can drag the results of this search into a folder entitled “Titling Fonts” for easy identification in the future.

Another method for location individual titling fonts is to search from within the software you are using, such as Adobe InDesign, Illustrator, or Photoshop.

This includes searching via Typekit, which can be accessed from some of the Adobe Cloud apps. If you don’t find what you are looking for, and you or a client are in dire need of a titling font for a specific typeface for extra large usage, try contacting the designer or foundry, and they might be willing to make you a custom font for your needs.

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Posted on: June 21, 2017

Ilene Strizver

Ilene Strizver, founder of The Type Studio, is a typographic consultant, designer, writer and educator specializing in all aspects of visual communication, from the aesthetic to the technical. Her book, Type Rules! The designer’s guide to professional typography, 4th edition, has received numerous accolades from the type and design community. She conducts her widely acclaimed Gourmet Typography Workshops internationally. For more information on attending one or bringing it to your company, organization, or school, go to her site, call The Type Studio at 203-227-5929, or email Ilene at info@thetypestudio.com. Sign up for her free e‑newsletter, All Things Typographic, at www.thetypestudio.com.

1 Comment on All About Titling Fonts

  1. Good post! I have been using titling typeface for many designs since I started studying typeface design, most people don’t even get the difference between a display and text cut, so titling seems to go over the head a lot! One of my favourites is Domus titling (which is a sans *RARE*, and sometimes I wish FF Tisa had an alternative tilting cut to show off its features a little more!

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