What Font Does the US Government Use? A Look at Typography in Government Communications

Have you ever wondered what font the US Government uses in their official documents? As trivial as it may seem, the answer may surprise you. The US Government uses a font known as Times New Roman, which is also commonly used in academic papers and printed materials.

While it may not seem like a big deal, the choice of font can have a significant impact on how information is perceived. Times New Roman is a serif font, meaning it has small lines or flourishes at the ends of each letter. This can make it easier to read and more visually appealing, making it a popular choice among professionals. In fact, the US Government has been using this font for over 20 years, suggesting that it is a reliable and trusted option for official documents.

So, next time you come across an official document from the US Government, take a closer look at the font. While it may not be the most exciting topic, it is a small detail that can have a big impact on how information is presented and perceived. Who knew something as simple as a font could hold so much power? It just goes to show that even the smallest details can make a significant difference in the world of design and communication.

Font Regulations in the US Government

The US government has specific regulations regarding the use of fonts in official documents. These regulations are put in place to ensure consistency and readability across all documents and publications.

  • Only certain fonts are approved for use in official government documents.
  • The most commonly used fonts in the US government include Times New Roman, Arial, and Courier New.
  • Documents that require a more formal look, such as legal documents, typically use Times New Roman.

It’s worth noting that while these fonts are approved for use in government documents, they are not necessarily required. Different agencies may have their own preferences or guidelines for document formatting.

Font Size Regulations

In addition to having approved fonts, the US government also has regulations concerning font size. These regulations help to ensure that documents are uniform and easy to read.

  • The most commonly used font size for official government documents is 12 point.
  • Headings and subheadings may be in a larger font size, typically 14-16 point.
  • Footnote text may be in a smaller font size, typically 10 point.

Accessibility Considerations

The government is also required to ensure that its documents are accessible to individuals with disabilities. This includes provisions for people with visual impairments.

To meet these accessibility requirements, the government recommends the use of sans-serif fonts, which are easier to read for people with dyslexia and other visual impairments.


Font and font size regulations in the US government are in place to ensure that official documents are uniform, consistent, and accessible. While there may be some variation across different agencies, sticking to approved fonts and font sizes is essential for maintaining consistency and ensuring that documents are easy to read and understand.

Approved Fonts Recommended Use
Times New Roman Formal Documents
Arial Reports, Manuals, and Online Publications
Courier New Legal Documents, Code Examples

Table: Commonly Used Fonts in US Government Documents

History of US Government Typography

Typography has always been an essential aspect of government communication. It plays a crucial role in the message’s clarity, relevance, and credibility, making it a powerful tool in government propaganda and information dissemination. Hence, it’s no surprise that the US government has established specific rules for using typefaces and fonts.

  • The US government first defined its style guide in 1893 to regulate the use of typography in government documents. It was then updated several times over the years, the most recent being the Government Printing Office Style Manual in 2016.
  • The standards have become stricter on how typography should be used in official government publications. For instance, the font of choice is always Times New Roman, never less than 12-point. The only exception to this rule is when a specific typographic need calls for an alternative font, such as a logo or a title.
  • The use of bold, italics, and underlining is also regulated, with only one allowed emphasis style per word or phrase. In some cases, small caps may be used to achieve emphasis without calling attention to the typeface.

The US government also places a high value on accessibility and readability in its typography standards. Documents must be clear and easy enough to read for every citizen with different reading levels and visual impairments. Hence, typefaces should be screen-friendly and readable in different sizes, colors, and backgrounds.

Despite typography’s relatively low profile, it is an essential aspect of government communication. The typography standards established by the US government ensure that typography is not only pleasant to read but also easy to understand and accessible to all.

Below is a table that lists the commonly used fonts and their equivalents in the US government typography standards:

Commonly used font Equivalent typeface in the US government typography standards
Arial Helvetica
Verdana Optima
Georgia Century Schoolbook
Calibri Avenir
Century Gothic Futura

These typefaces have been carefully chosen to ensure that the typography used in government documents is uniform, professional, and easily readable.

Typography Standards for US Government Websites

Good typography is a crucial aspect of web design, and the US government is no exception. In fact, the government has established a set of typography standards for all its websites. These standards are designed to ensure that all government websites are readable, accessible, and easy to navigate. A key part of these standards is the font that the government uses on its websites.

The Font Used by the US Government

  • The US government primarily uses two fonts on its websites: Arial and Georgia.
  • Arial is a sans-serif font that is clean, modern, and easy to read. It is commonly used for headings and subheadings on government websites.
  • Georgia is a serif font that is elegant, traditional, and easy to read. It is commonly used for body text on government websites.

Why These Fonts Were Chosen

The US government chose Arial and Georgia as its primary fonts for several reasons:

  • Both fonts are highly legible and easy to read, even at small sizes.
  • They are installed on virtually every computer system, ensuring that they will display correctly for all users.
  • They are available in a variety of weights and styles, allowing designers to create visual interest and hierarchy.

Other Typography Standards for US Government Websites

In addition to the font used on its websites, the US government has established other typography standards. These standards include:

Element Font Size Line Height Font Weight
Heading 1 36px 44px Bold
Heading 2 30px 38px Bold
Heading 3 24px 32px Bold
Body Text 16px 24px Regular
Link Text 16px 24px Regular, Underlined

These standards ensure that all text on government websites is consistent and easy to read. They also ensure that the hierarchy of information is clear, with headings being larger and bolder than body text.

Overall, typography is an essential aspect of web design, and the US government takes it seriously. By using legible fonts like Arial and Georgia and establishing clear typography standards, government websites are accessible and easy to use for all users.

Most Popular Fonts Used by the US Government

Fonts play a significant role in any design, and the US government understands this too well, especially when communicating with civilians. Different organizations use different fonts depending on their preferences, legibility, and message delivery. Below is a list of the most popular fonts used by the US government.

  • Arial: Arial is arguably one of the most used fonts worldwide, including by the US government. Its minimalist design and ultimate readability make it easy to tweak to different sizes and apply various styles and weights. Arial is used in various designs, including postal service logos, government bids, and official documents.
  • Times New Roman: Another font that’s popular in various industries, including the US government, is Times New Roman. Times New Roman is a serif font, which gives it a formal and traditional appearance. It is used mostly in creating legislations, legal documents, agreements, and other official papers.
  • Segoe: Segoe is a beautifully designed font that’s both modern and legible. Its intricate style is suitable for creating headlines, badges, logos, and titles. The US government uses Segoe in its official communications, including the Windows operating system toolbars and menus, government websites, and publications.

US Government’s Official Typefaces

The federal government, through its General Services Administration (GSA), has designated specific typefaces for specific situations to establish visual consistency across the government’s departments and services.

The typefaces fall into two categories; serif and sans-serif. Serif typefaces are used in official documents, including bills, proposals, and publications, while the sans-serif typefaces are used on the web and mobile platforms. The official typefaces are as follows:

Typeface Name Category Use Cases
Times New Roman Serif Legal, Legislative, and Policy Documents
Century Schoolbook Serif Legal, Legislative, and Policy Documents
Sabon Serif Legal, Legislative, and Policy Documents
Minion Serif Legal, Legislative, and Policy Documents
Verdana Sans-Serif Web and Mobile Platforms
Helvetica Sans-Serif Web and Mobile Platforms
Arial Sans-Serif Web and Mobile Platforms

The US government understands the power of typography in effectively conveying a message. It has, therefore, invested in carefully selecting and standardizing the fonts it uses to ensure consistency in its communication across various platforms and publications.

Importance of Choosing the Right Font for Government Documents

When it comes to creating government documents, the right font can make all the difference. Here are a few reasons why choosing the right font is important:

  • Legibility: Government documents often contain important information that needs to be easily read and understood. Choosing a font that is easy to read can help ensure that the information is communicated clearly and effectively.
  • Professionalism: Government documents are often seen as official and authoritative. Choosing a font that reflects this can help create a sense of professionalism and credibility.
  • Consistency: Choosing a consistent font throughout all government documents can help create a sense of cohesion and organization.

So which font does the US government use? According to the US Web Design System, the recommended font for government websites is “GSA Standard Sans.” This font was chosen for its legibility on screens and its ability to enhance the clarity and legibility of longer text passages.

Font Name Attributes
GSA Standard Sans Legible, clear, modern
GSA Standard Serif Traditional, formal, classic
Roboto Clear, legible, contemporary

While GSA Standard Sans is the recommended font for government websites, it may not be the best choice for all government documents. Depending on the type of document and its purpose, other fonts may be more appropriate. When choosing a font for a government document, it’s important to consider factors such as legibility, professionalism, and consistency.

The Impact of Typeface on Government Communication

When it comes to government communication, the choice of typeface can have a significant impact on how information is perceived by the public. Here are six key factors to consider:

  • Legibility: The primary purpose of any font is to be easily read and understood. This is especially important for government communication, as it ensures that important information is accessible to all.
  • Professionalism: The government is a serious entity, and the typeface chosen for communication should reflect this. A font that looks too casual could harm the perceived credibility of the message.
  • Accessibility: In addition to legibility, it’s important to consider accessibility for people with visual impairments. The government has a responsibility to ensure that all citizens can understand its communications.
  • Consistency: Consistency is key in establishing a recognizable brand identity for the government. By using the same font across all communications, the public will start to associate that typeface with the government.
  • Cultural considerations: Different cultures have different standards when it comes to typography. A typeface that is culturally appropriate in one area may not be appropriate in another.
  • Historical context: The government has a rich history dating back centuries. Choosing a typeface with ties to that history can help reinforce the legacy and legitimacy of the government.

The US Government’s Typeface

Given these factors, it’s no surprise that the US government has chosen a simple, unassuming typeface for its communications: Times New Roman. This font was designed for the Times newspaper and is known for its legibility on both screen and paper. It strikes a balance between professionalism and accessibility, making it the perfect choice for government documents.

Font Name Attributes Usage
Times New Roman Classic, simple, readable Government documents, reports, contracts
Arial Clean, modern, versatile Emails, presentations, memos
Calibri Friendly, approachable, easy to read Internal communications, newsletters, bulletins

However, it’s important to note that this isn’t a rule set in stone – different branches of the government may use different fonts depending on their target audience and purpose. For example, FEMA’s website uses the sans-serif font Open Sans, which has a more modern and approachable feel, while the US Army uses a custom-designed font, Army WordMark.

Ultimately, the choice of font is a strategic decision that should be based on a thorough consideration of the target audience and the broader purpose of the communication. By keeping these factors in mind and making an informed decision, government agencies can ensure that their messages are both accessible and impactful.

Best Practices for Typography in US Government Design

The US government uses various fonts for different purposes such as printing, web designing, branding, and official communication. The chosen font represents the government and helps to establish a visual identity. These are the best practices for typography in US government design:

  • Use appropriate fonts for different purposes:
    • For printed documents like reports, use serif fonts such as Times New Roman, Georgia, or Garamond.
    • For web design, use sans-serif fonts like Arial, Verdana, or Helvetica.
    • For official use such as logos, use a custom font that represents the values and mission of the government agency.
  • Ensure legibility and readability:
    • Use font sizes that are easy to read and appropriate for the medium. For printed documents, the recommended font sizes are between 10-12 points.
    • Use high contrast between the font color and the background to ensure readability.
    • Avoid using all caps or italicized fonts for body text as they can obstruct legibility.
  • Follow the Plain Language guidelines:
    • The US government requires that all documents be written in plain language to ensure clear communication to all target audiences. This principle also applies to typography.
    • Choose fonts that are easy to read and avoid jargon or slang that can impede comprehension.
    • Use sentence structures that are simple and concise.
  • Choose appropriate font families:
  • Font Family Purpose
    Serif fonts For printed documents like reports and official letters
    Sans-serif fonts For web design and digital communication
    Custom fonts For logos and branding purposes

By following these best practices, the US government ensures that its typography is effective, legible, and representative of its values and mission.

What font does the US government use?

Q: What is the primary font used by the US government?
A: The US government primarily uses a typeface called “Times New Roman” for all official documents and correspondence.

Q: Are there any other fonts used by the US government?
A: Yes, there are other fonts used by the US government in some cases, such as “Helvetica” for certain logos and titles.

Q: Is there a specific reason why the US government chooses to use Times New Roman?
A: The use of Times New Roman is mainly due to its readability and professional appearance, making it an easy-to-read and recognizable font for official documents.

Q: Can I use Times New Roman for my own official documents?
A: Yes, you can use Times New Roman for your own official documents, as it is widely recognized as a professional and readable font.

Q: What size is Times New Roman typically used in government documents?
A: Times New Roman is typically used in 12-point font size for government documents in order to maintain readability.

Q: Has the US government always used Times New Roman?
A: No, the US government has used other fonts in the past, including fonts such as “Garamond.” However, Times New Roman has become the primary font for official documents in recent years.

Q: Can I use a different font for my own government documents if I prefer?
A: While the use of Times New Roman is recommended for official government documents, there is no requirement to use this particular font. However, it is important to choose a font that is easily readable and professional in appearance.

Closing Thoughts

Thanks for reading about the font that the US government uses. Next time you receive an official document, take a moment to see if it is in Times New Roman! Remember that using a professional and easy-to-read font can go a long way in making a good impression in any official document. Visit again later for more interesting facts!