The best italic fonts are a great solution if you need to emphasise wording, but they have other uses too. Taking their name from Italian-designed calligraphic typefaces, slanted italic fonts and traditionally used to stress the importance of certain words or to differentiate the titles of things such as novels, movies or scientific names from surrounding text.
However, they can also be used in design for stylistic reasons to create contrast and differentiate different content, for example, captions, from the main text. There are lots of options out there, but below we've made our own pick of the best italic fonts to suit different needs, including both premium and free italic fonts.
If you can’t find what you’re looking for here, check out our guide to the best free fonts for further inspiration. We also have roundups of the best script fonts, fun fonts and a guide to font pairing and how to add fonts in Photoshop.
The best italic fonts
01. Monotype Baskerville Italic
- Price: from $29.99
- Download Monotype Baskerville Italic from MyFonts
Taking its name from the renowned writer and printer John Baskerville, this typeface is popular with designers thanks to its stylish, high-contrast forms. The regular font is classy and clearly legible, making it perfect for a variety of formal writing purposes. Meanwhile, the italic version lends itself perfectly to advertisements thanks to its elegant serifs.
Whether you want to use Monotype Baskerville Italic in its standard or italic form, there are lots of flexible buying options. The entire six typeface family can be yours for $238, or you can purchase individual families for $29.99 each. With semi bold and bold styles available, there’s lots of scope for this designer favourite.
02. Roos Italic
- Price: from $25
- Download Roos Italic from Canada Type
Representing an expansion and digitization of Sjoerd Hendrik De Roos typeface De Roos Romein, the Roos family by Canada Type perfectly captures the shape of the famously distinguished font.
Not only is the typeface well-regarded by designers, its italic styling is considered to be one of the most beautiful realisations of the form. Recalling the shapes of Renaissance lettering, Roos balances its width, slopes and ascenders perfectly between its Roman and Italic forms.
03. FF Seria Italic
- Price: From £49
- Download FF Seria Italic from FontShop
One of the more recent entries on this list, FF Seria was created by Dutch type designer Martin Majoor in 2000. Available in six weights, this set includes four italic variants, including regular and bold options.
As you can see from the image above, it’s one of the more subtler italic entries. However this doesn’t take away from its effect. When paired with Seria Regular, its slender letter forms still provide emphasis without going over the top. What’s more, this classy font won’t cost you the earth, as prices range from between £49 and £65.
04. Arvo Italic
- Price: Free
- Download Arvo Italic from Google Fonts
We’ve seen plenty of calligraphic serifs so far, but Arvo shakes up the formula a bit thanks to its slab-serif design. However just because it’s a bit more blunt doesn’t mean it won’t prioritise your lettering either on screen or in print.
Made up of four families and first released by Google Fonts. Arvo is free for you to download. What’s more, Arvo supports languages that use the Cryillic script. We could see this italic font working especially well on web design projects, and with two italic weights to choose from, designers still have room to experiment.
05. Adobe Caslon Pro Italic
Seasoned typographers are probably already familiar with the name Caslon. Eminent type designer William Caslon started releasing typefaces in 1722, and this Adobe set revived by Carol Twombly uses his specimen pages to bring it up to date.
With a variety of text sizes available, this practical font is perfectly suited to books, magazines, and corporate communications. Each style can be purchased individually, with the italic set costing $35, or you can buy the complete set for $169.
- Price: From $199
- Download Operator from typography.com
Described as a “typeface rooted in the traditions of typewriting”, Operator builds on this aesthetic while moving away from the mechanical restraints. The result is a functional font with “colourful italics” that are especially suited to programming environments.
The complete font contains 64 weights and will set you back the rather hefty sum of $599. However, the basic set, including those colourful italic letters, is available to buy on its own for the much more manageable $199.
- Price: From $12
- Download Roodies from Creative Market
Roodies is an italic font that takes inspiration from vintage lettering and thus best suits the vintage look. It's quite quirky and certainly wouldn't suit everything, but it's an interesting take on an italic from ABM Studio.
- Price: From $26
- Download Thrift from Design Cuts
Finally, Thrift italic could be a nice playful choice of font for editorial or advertising pieces. It's a smooth curvaceous serif with smooth curves and fine lines. The italic font has 800 glyphs, and OpenType features include stylistic alternates and multilingual and currency support (there's even a Bitcoin symbol). It also includes 24 standard and discretionary ligatures for some extra personality.
What are italic fonts?
Italic fonts are cursive fonts based on a stylised form of calligraphic handwriting and they formed one of the main styles of typeface in the development of typography in the west, partly because of the popularity of a slanted cursive writing style when commercial printing began at the end of the 15th century and partly because italic typefaces allowed printers to set type more tightly than roman type, saving on paper.
They take their name Italic from Italy because Francesco Griffo, commissioned by Manutius Aldus, is often credited with having created the first cursive types that we would identify by this label. Italic type lost popularity to roman typefaces from the mid-16th century onwards, becoming reserved mainly for emphasis.