The Guardian uses typefaces and fonts within the Guardian Collection, a collection of 8 families and 144 styles. The typefaces were custom made for The Guardian, and are a relatively new (created from 2004-2005) set of slab-serifs that were inspired by Egyptian typeface.
The Guardian uses the following typefaces: Guardian Egyptian Headline, Guardian Text Egyptian, Guardian Sans Headline, Guardian Sans Headline Narrow, Guardian Sans Headline Condensed, Guardian Sans Headline X Condensed, Guardian Sans Text and Guardian Agate Sans.
All of these typefaces have the following fonts: regular, regular italic, medium, medium italic, bold, bold italic, black and black italic. The majority of the typefaces also have the following fonts: hairline, hairline italic, thin, thin italic, light, light italic, semibold and semibold italic.
The Guardian typefaces greatly add to the paper. First, the typefaces are reminiscent of Egyptian, so they are something familiar. Second, though the typefaces are similar to Egyptian, they are a modern take on this typeface, so they are something new and interesting at the same time. Lastly, these typefaces were custom made for The Guardian, so it helps readers associate this typeface with this publication. When people see the Guardian typefaces, they immediately think of the paper that uses them, which helps with brand recognition.
The Guardian uses Guardian Egyptian Headline, Guardian Sans Headline, Guardian Sans Headline Narrow, Guardian Sans Headline Condensed and Guardian Sans Headline X Condensed for their headlines. The more “important” or catchy stories on the page use Guardian Egyptian Headline, Guardian Headline Condensed and Guardian Headline X Condensed to help these stories stand out from the others. The body copy, bylines and cutlines are mostly Guardian Text Egyptian and Guardian Sans Text, though the cutlines are usually bold or black fonts and the bylines are usually medium or bold fonts. The nameplate of the newspaper is a Guardian Egyptian typeface, in a bold font. It is generally the only type in the newspaper that uses two-toned colors and generally the only type that uses a color other than black. Guardian Agate Sans is generally only used for tables and infographics.
The use of different typefaces and fonts helps create hierarchy on the page. It helps the reader flow through the paper and figure out what is most important on any given page. If something is a bolder font, then this is more important. If something is lighter, it’s not as important. If something is italic, it means something is being emphasized. Also, the size of the type helps with the hierarchy and organization. The headlines are larger than the body copy, so your eye goes to this first and then reads the body copy. Also, when some headlines are larger than others on the page, you know The Guardian thinks these are more important and more worth your time reading. This helps you choose which stories to read first, or in some cases, choose which stories to read and which to ignore when you are in a rush.
The most important thing The Guardian does with regards to its typography is that the newspaper keeps it consistent. They have set rules on what size body copy should be, what typefaces should be used for headlines, what typefaces should be used for body copy, what size certain headlines should be in comparison to others, etc. This consistency helps with reader familiarity and organization so that the design looks clean and unified throughout the paper.