Tag: fonts

Web Typography: Why Web Fonts Aren’t a Matter of Opinion

Web typography: why web fonts aren't a matter of opinion.

Website font choices affect more than the design aesthetics.

You’re reviewing the latest mocks for your new website, and you’re not quite sure about the font choices. They look nice, but you wanted something edgier, bolder, something that pops off the page and grabs the visitor’s attention. Should you raise the question with your designer?

We understand why you would want to. After all, your website reflects your business. It’s something personal, and just as most of us would prefer to choose our own clothes in the morning, we hesitate to fully turn over design decisions to anyone else, even the person we hired because of their hears of professional expertise.

But there’s something else you should know before you start basing your decisions on personal preference: your font choice isn’t about you.

It may sound silly to go this deep into a design decision as basic as web typography, but the truth is that your web font decisions need to be based on what is best for your visitors. And that’s not a matter of opinion—it’s a matter of objective research. There actually are good and bad choices for web typography, and making the wrong one can have an impact on how your users engage with your website. Here’s just a few.

1. Serif vs. sans serif fonts.

You know those little flourishes that appear on the edges of letters in traditional typefaces such as Times New Roman? Those are called serifs. Whether or not a font has serifs is one of the most basic distinctions in typography.

Serif fonts used to be the norm, and you’re probably used to seeing them in books, newspapers, and many other print mediums. Sans serif (without serif) fonts have a more modern edge, and proliferated in early websites because of their greater screen readability.

These days, screen technology has improved enough so that serif fonts are more legible online—and in many instances, more legible than their sans serif counterparts. It is acceptable to use either font online, and it can even be a pleasing effect to pair them with each other, such that one forms a header and the other the body copy. But be aware that serif fonts become harder to read the smaller they get, and that in body copy, sans serif characters can sometimes be harder to distinguish from each other.

2. Font hierarchy and readability.

Your web copy should not appear as one gigantic wall of text. This has a negative impact on readability and can lead to fatigue on the part of your users. Instead, use your fonts to break up body copy by establishing clear hierarchies on the page.

Titles, subtitles, and headers should have larger text, while less important data, such as publication dates or bylines can be emphasized or de-emphasized by using a smaller font size than the body copy, different coloring, or style effects such as bold or italics.

3. Body copy legibility.

When it comes to body copy, choose styles that are highly legible. This means absolutely no script fonts. They may look nice in headers, but they will be torture for your readers. Furthermore, keep the font size no smaller than 14pt. Any smaller, and your visitors will strain to read the words on the screen.

When it comes to line length, 40–60 characters is often the ideal length for comprehension, but this is too narrow for body text. Instead, save the 40–60 character widths for headings, and keep line length at a comfortable 650 pixels.

Text alignment is also key. Right-aligned text is terrible, because it goes against our natural reading movements. When the reader’s eye reaches the end of a line and jumps back to the beginning, it takes a few moments longer to find the right line to continue reading. Fortunately, there’s rarely any call to use right-aligned text, so it’s easy to avoid.

Center-aligned text has similar problems, but can be used judiciously for aesthetic reasons. It should never be used for a full piece of content, however. Ditto for justified. While the even line lengths look tempting, the varying spacing between words can add confusion. Instead, stick to left-aligned text wherever possible. It’s easiest to read, and it’s what most users expect.

4. Sizing, weight, and contrast for legibility.

Your visitors need to be able to read your website. If your text is too small, to thin, or too light to read, it’s not doing anyone any favors. And don’t base these assessments on your personal experience, either. Your eyesight might be fine, but someone who has vision problems will struggle even more. Err on the side of greater accessibility, and you won’t risk alienating anyone.

These things are also affected by other elements on a page. If text appears in front of an image or video, or if parallax scrolling means that the text will appear over a variety of backgrounds as it moves down the page, then you need to bear that in mind as you consider design options.

5. White space.

For some business owners, the temptation to fit more words into a space can lead to bad design choices, in particular, crowding out white space. Wide margins are more friendly for readers than narrow ones, and even the space above and below lines of text can affect how easy it is to read.

That includes the space between paragraph breaks and above and below headings. Give your text room to breathe, and your visitors will be more likely to stay on the page even if they have to scroll half a screen down to see your new product video.

Web typography must lead to greater legibility, readability, and usability.

All these restrictions and guidelines can make your options feel limited, but they’re actually good news! You can take a weight off your shoulders knowing that by following these principles, you’re creating a design that follows the rules of good taste and puts your visitors first. The result may not be exactly what you envisioned, but it will help you win over business and grow customer loyalty in the long run. And what’s not to like about that?

The post Web Typography: Why Web Fonts Aren’t a Matter of Opinion appeared first on build/create studios.

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70 best free fonts for designers

In this freshly updated free fonts for designers post, we bring you the world's best free fonts. We've filtered out the jewels from the thousands of less perfectly designed free fonts available online, so you can use them in your designs and illustrations.

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This list represents the very best free fonts we've found, split into eight categories. You can use the drop-down menu at the top of the page, or the boxout, right, to jump to the section you want.

Don't forget, we have many other articles covering specialist font types including handwriting fonts, kids' fonts, cursive fonts, beautiful fonts, web fonts, professional fonts and more.

Most of the typeface collections listed here can be used in your projects for free, but please be sure to check the terms. Read on for our pick of the best free fonts, which you can download and use today.

Serif fonts

01. Bitter 

This serif font is designed to work well on screens

  • Free for personal and commercial use
  • DOWNLOAD HERE

Sans-serif fonts tend to work better for screen use, but this free slab serif typeface has been specially designed to provide a comfortable reading experience on screens. Bitter was designed by Sol Matas, and is available through Argentinian type collaborative Huerta Tipográfica. It combines generous x-heights with minimal variation in stroke weight. 

02. Playfair Display

This free font family is an open source project

  • Free for personal and commercial use
  • DOWNLOAD HERE

This free serif display font takes inspiration from the late 18th century European Enlightenment and the work of type designer John Baskerville. The high-contract letterforms have delicate hairlines, relating to the rise in popularity of pointed steel pens, which took over from the previous broad nib quills during this period.

  • 20 fonts every graphic designer should own

The typeface design is a project led designed by Dutch designer Claus Eggers Sørensen. It's development is open source, and can be found on GitHub here. 

03. Lora

Brushed curves contrast with driving serifs in this free font

  • Free for personal and commercial use
  • DOWNLOAD HERE

Lora is a free font that has its roots in calligraphy. It was originally designed for type foundry Cyreal in 2011, with a Cyrillic extension added in 2013, and comes in four styles: regular, bold, italic, and bold italic. 

Brushed curves contrast with driving serifs to give this free font a well-balanced, contemporary feel. Although Lora is technically optimised for use on the web, it also works well in print projects.

04. Butler

  • Free for personal and commercial use
  • DOWNLOAD HERE

Inspired by both Dala Floda and the Bodoni family, Butler is a free font designed by Fabian De Smet. His aim was to bring a bit of modernism to serif fonts by working on the curves of classical serif fonts, and adding an extra stencil family.

The Butler family contains 334 characters, seven regular weights and seven stencil weights, and includes text figures, ligatures and fractions. It also suits many different languages with its added glyphs. De Smet suggests it would work well for “posters, very big titles, books and fancy stuff.”

05. Arvo

Free fonts Oranienbaum

A superior geometric slab-serif, Arvo is one of our favourite free fonts
  • Free for personal and commercial use
  • DOWNLOAD HERE

Arvo is a geometric slab-serif font family that’s suitable for both screen and print use. Designed for legibility, it was created by Anton Koovit and published in the Google Font directory as a free open font (OFL). Unlike many slab serifs on Google Fonts, Arvo contains normal, italic, bold and bold italic styles. 

06. Crimson Text

Free fonts Adam

Crimson Text is a free font family inspired by old-time book typefaces
  • Free for personal and commercial use
  • DOWNLOAD HERE

Here’s a free font family created specifically for book production, inspired by old-time, Garamond-esque book typefaces. Crimson Text is the work of German-born, Toronto-based designer Sebastian Kosch, who says he was influenced by the work of Jan Tschichold, Robert Slimbach and Jonathan Hoefler. 

It’s also favourite free font of Taylor Palmer, a senior UX designer based in Utah, USA. "Crimson is a sophisticated serif that makes a nice alternative to traditional Garamond-esque typefaces,” he says. “It also has a very expressive italic, which pairs nicely with strong, geometric sans-serifs like Futura or Avenir."

07. Aleo

Free fonts Ailerons

Aleo is one of those rare free fonts that manages to balance personality with legibility perfectly
  • Free for personal and commercial use
  • DOWNLOAD HERE

Aleo has semi-rounded details and a sleek structure, giving a sense of personality while maintaining a good level of legibility. This free font family comprises six styles: three weights (light, regular and bold), with corresponding true italics. Released under the SIL Open Font License, it was designed by Alessio Laiso, a designer at IBM Dublin, as the slab serif companion to Lato.

08. Neuton

Neuton’s clean design works well for formal documents

  • Free for personal and commercial use
  • DOWNLOAD HERE

Neuton is a fuss-free font with a large height and short extenders. Its compact width means it works well on screens. The designer, Brian Zick, compares his font to Times New Roman, stating that it can be useful for formal or work documents, and is particularly good for italics.

09. Brela

Free fonts: Aventura

Free font Brela works well in editorial designs, both for headlines and body text
  • Free for personal and commercial use
  • DOWNLOAD HERE

Brela is a humanistic serif font designed exclusively for editorial design. With a generous x-height, it’s very legible, even at tiny sizes, yet it works equally well in bold, large headlines. This free font was designed by Spanish creative agency Makarska Studio and comes in regular and bold weights.

10. Libre Baskerville

Free fonts: Azedo

Free font Libre Baskerville is optimised for reading body text on screen
  • Free for personal and commercial use
  • DOWNLOAD HERE

Libre Baskerville is a web font optimised for body text (typically 16px). It’s based on the American Type Founder's Baskerville from 1941, but it has a taller x-height, wider counters and a little less contrast, allowing it to work well for reading on screen. This open source project is led by Impallari Type, a type design foundry based in Rosario, Argentina. 

"I like to keep my eye on the Libre fonts, like Libre Baskerville,” enthuses Taylor Palmer, a senior UX designer based out of Utah, USA. He also recommends you check out its sister font, Libre Franklin, which is also free. “Libre Franklin hearkens back to strong, traditional typefaces, like Franklin Gothic, that have the declarative nature of something like a newspaper headline but are simple enough to set as paragraph text," he explains.

11. Jura

Free fonts Bariol

Free font Jura looks good at both large and small sizes
  • Free for personal and commercial use
  • DOWNLOAD HERE

A remarkably elegant font, Jura is characterised by its narrow proportions and distinguishing details, including its rounded, wedge shaped serifs. It looks good at large sizes, but reads well at small ones too. This free font was created by UK-based designer Ed Merritt.

12. Fenix

Free fonts Baron

Fénix is one of the best free fonts we’ve seen for long passages of small text
  • Free for personal and commercial use
  • DOWNLOAD HERE

Fénix is a calligraphy-inspired font that works well as both display text and body copy. Featuring strong serifs and rough strokes, it provides a lovely rhythm when reading long passages in small text sizes. It’s the work of Fernando Díaz, a designer at Uruguayan foundry TipoType.

13. Luthier

  • Free for personal and commercial use
  • DOWNLOAD HERE

Luthier is a contemporary typeface characterised by sharp serifs and high contrast, which comes in two weights plus italics. Good for both headlines and body text, it would suit designs focused on serious, intellectual topics. This free font was created by Barcelona-based designer Adrià Gómez.

14. Slabo

A modern serif font tuned to pixel perfection
  • Free for personal and commercial use
  • DOWNLOAD HERE

Currently the number one most popular serif font on Google Fonts, Slabo was designed by John Hudson, co-founder of Tiro Typeworks foundry. Slabo is a growing collection of size-specific web fonts, with Slabo 27px and Slabo 13px out so far, fine-tuned precisely for use at those specific pixel sizes. The blocky feel of its ligatures give a modern twist to the serif font, perfect for online designs.

15. Bree Serif

Bree serif font specimen

We love the single-story rounded a in Bree Serif

  • Free for personal and commercial use
  • DOWNLOAD HERE

Created by indie type foundry TypeTogether, Bree Serif is the free serif cousin of the paid-for font family, Bree. Described as a "friendly upright italic", Bree Serif is modern and has an easy-to-read face when used at larger point sizes. Its rounded 'a' with a single counter is a nice touch, too.

16. Merriweather

Merriweather is featured in more than 3,000,000 websites, according to Google Fonts

  • Free for personal and commercial use
  • DOWNLOAD HERE

A truly open source free serif font, Merriweather has its own project on GitHub. It was designed by Sorkin Type to be easy to read on screens, particularly. "It features a very large x-height, slightly condensed letterforms, a mild diagonal stress, sturdy serifs and open forms," it says.

Next page: Free sans-serif fonts

17. Alcubierre

This clean, minimal font works for a variety of uses

  • Free for personal and commercial use
  • DOWNLOAD HERE

Geometric sans serif typeface Alcubierre is the work of designer Matt Ellis. Following in the footsteps of his original free font Ikaros, this clean, minimal typeface works for a variety of uses. Ellis is super generous too, offering both designs to all totally free for both personal and commercial use. 

18. Moon

Moon is free for personal use

  • Free for personal use only
  • DOWNLOAD HERE

Moon is a rounded, sans-serif font that comes in three weights and has recently been updated to include a lowercase. It's the work of designer Jack Harvatt, who has made it available to download on his Behance page. Moon is free for personal projects, but if you want to use it commercially you'll need to shell out for a licence. 

19. Big John / Slim Joe

These two sans-serif fonts work together perfectly

  • Free for personal and commercial use
  • DOWNLOAD HERE

Big John was created by designer Ion Lucin for his personal use. Eventually, he decided to share it on Behance, and then went on to add an ultra-light sister font: Slim Joe. Both are all-caps fonts, and contrast perfectly when combined together. These fonts are ideal for titles and headlines, and can be downloaded for free on Behance.

20. Raleway

Raleway is an elegant, sans-serif free font

  • Free for personal and commercial use
  • DOWNLOAD HERE

Raleway is a free, neo-groesque inspired, sans-serif typeface. It was designed by Matt McInterney (who previously worked at Pentagram) and is available in a single, thin weight. This display typeface includes standard and discretionary ligatures, a good set of diacritics, and both old style and lining numerals. Fans of the font can also experiment with a more geometric-inspired alternate.

21. Aganè

Aganè was inspired by three classic sans-serifs
  • Free for personal and commercial use
  • DOWNLOAD HERE

Designed with wayfinding signage in mind, and equally suitable for user interfaces or anything that requires legibility from an angle, Aganè is a clean sans-serif from Swiss graphic, UI and type designer Danilo De Marco. Free for personal and commercial use, Aganè was inspired by Noorda Font by Bob Noorda, FF Transit by Erik Spiekermann, and Frutiger by Adrian Frutiger.

22. Titillium Web

Free fonts: Building

Titillium is a free font that works best at larger sizes
  • Free for personal and commercial use
  • DOWNLOAD HERE

For a free font, Titillium has a highly respectable pedigree, born of a type design project at Italy’s Accademia di Belle Arti di Urbino. Each academic year, a dozen students work on the project, developing it further and solving problems, and they ask all graphic designers who use Titillium in their projects to email them some examples of the typeface family in use, to help them develop it further.

“Titillium has been a favourite font of mine for a few years now,” says Rob Hampson, head of design at The Bot Platform, a new platform for building bots on Messenger. “It’s sharp, contemporary and comes in a wide range of weights. In my opinion, it works best in larger sizes; for example, for titles. That said, with careful consideration, it could be used as a body font.”

23. League Gothic

Free fonts Cornerstone

League Gothic is a new free font inspired by an old favourite
  • Free for personal and commercial use
  • DOWNLOAD HERE

League Gothic is a condensed sans-serif inspired by the classic typeface Alternate Gothic #1, originally designed by Morris Fuller Benton for the American Type Founders Company in 1903. The League of Movable Type decided to make its own version and, as ever, open source it, with contributions from Micah Rich, Tyler Finck and Dannci.

24. Chivo

Free fonts Fabrica

Chivo is one of the most eye-catching free fonts around
  • Free for personal and commercial use
  • DOWNLOAD HERE

Chivo is a grotesque typeface that’s ideal for headlines, and other page furniture where you want to grab attention. Both confident and elegant, it’s been released in four weights with matching italics. This free font is the work of Héctor Gatti and the Omnibus-Type Team.

25. Comfortaa

Free fonts Habana

Free font Comfortaa could work well in a logo design
  • Free for personal and commercial use
  • DOWNLOAD HERE

Comfortaa is a rounded geometric sans-serif type design intended for large sizes. Created by Johan Aakerlund, a design engineer at the Technical University of Denmark, it’s a simple, good looking font that includes large number of different characters and symbols. Part of the Google Font Improvements Project, the latest updates to the family include the addition of a Cyrillic character set and support for Vietnamese. 

David Airey, a graphic designer and occasional writer in Northern Ireland, is among its admirers. “A lot of free fonts need too much work cleaning up the points, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find good options,” he says. “For a recent identity project, I used Comfortaa as the base for a bespoke wordmark. The before and after are really quite different, but Johan’s work gave me a great foundation, and the client loves the result.”

26. Noto Sans

Free fonts Infinity

Free font Noto Sans supports more than 800 languages
  • Free for personal and commercial use
  • DOWNLOAD HERE

Noto Sans is a free font family designed by Google supporting more than 100 writing systems, 800 languages, and hundreds of thousands of characters. Noto fonts are intended to be visually harmonious across multiple languages, with compatible heights and stroke thicknesses. The family include regular, bold, italic and bold italic styles, and is hinted. It is derived from Droid, and like Droid it has a serif sister family, Noto Serif.

27. HK Grotesk Hanken

Free fonts: Jaapokki

HK Grotesk is one of our favourite free fonts for casting small text
  • Free for personal and commercial use
  • DOWNLOAD HERE

HK Grotesk is a sans-serif typeface inspired by the classic grotesques, such as Akzidenz Grotesk, Univers, Trade Gothic and Gill Sans. It was designed by Hanken Design Co with the aim of creating a friendly and distinguishable font that’s suitable for small text. It has recently expanded its language support with the addition of Cyrillic characters (Bulgarian, Russian and Serbian).

28. Aileron

Free fonts KanKin

One of our favourite hybrid free fonts, Aileron is a relaxed choice for on-screen reading
  • Free for personal and commercial use
  • DOWNLOAD HERE

Aileron is a versatile, neo-grotesque sans-serif that’s somewhere between Helvetica and Univers. Created by Sora Sagano, a designer at Tipotype, it aims to provide readers with a high level of visual comfort. It’s available in 16 weights, from ultralight to black. 

29. Ubuntu

Free fonts Langdon

Ubuntu is a custom-designed free font for screen use
  • Free for personal and commercial use
  • DOWNLOAD HERE

This free font has been specially created to complement the tone of voice of Ubuntu, the Linux operating system for personal computers, tablets and smartphones. Designed by font foundry Dalton Maag, it uses OpenType features and is manually hinted for clarity on desktop and mobile screens. 

30. Clear Sans

Free fonts Locksmith

Who knew Intel did free fonts?
  • Free for personal and commercial use
  • DOWNLOAD HERE

Clear Sans is a versatile font designed by Intel designed with on-screen legibility in mind. Suitable for screen, print, and web, this free font is notable for its minimised characters and slightly narrow proportions, making it a great choice for UI design, from short labels to long passages (it has, for instance, been adopted by Mozilla for the ‘Firefox for Android’ browser). 

Created by Daniel Ratighan at Monotype under the direction of Intel, Clear Sans supports a wide range of languages using Latin, Cyrillic and Greek, and includes medium, regular, thin, and light weights with upright, italic, and bold styles.

31. Source Sans Pro

Free fonts Lovelo

Adobe’s first foray into open source type, Source Sans Pro remains one of the design community’s most popular free fonts
  • Free for personal and commercial use
  • DOWNLOAD HERE

Released in 2012, Source Sans Pro was the first open source type family for Adobe, and has proved wildly popular. It was envisioned as a classic grotesque typeface with a simple, unassuming design, intended to work well in user interfaces. It was designed by Paul D. Hunt,  who continues to work as a type designer at Adobe, and also designed the complementary free font Source Serif Pro.

Source Sans Pro is one of the favourite free fonts of James Hollingworth, a senior-level digital designer and illustrator based near Bath, UK. “It’s such a solid, reliable font to use in design work,” he enthuses. “Being dyslexic myself, I find it a very easy font to read, and it works brilliantly in user interfaces.” 

You might also like the fonts in our 20 fonts every graphic designer should own post or even our 15 fantastic logo fonts post.

Next page: free handwriting fonts…

32. Kavivanar

This slanted handwriting font is based on typical Tamal handwriting

This bold handwriting font was inspired by the slanting letterforms found in typical Tamal handwriting (as well as a Tamil alphabet, it also includes Latin letterforms). Kavivanar was designed by Tharique Azeez, a type designer based in Sri Lanka, and is free to download. 

33. Amatic SC

This small caps font is full of personality

  • Free for personal and commercial use
  • DOWNLOAD HERE

Amatic is a small-caps, hand-drawn web font that is ideal for titles or small runs of text. It has gained popularity for its naive aesthetic, which is brimming with personality. The free font was first designed by Vernon Adams, before being refreshed and revised by Ben Nathan and Thomas Jockin. It is currently features on over 2,400,000 websites.

34. Nickainley

Free fonts Wolf

Nickainley is a free font based on vintage-style handwriting
  • Free for personal and commercial use
  • DOWNLOAD HERE

Nickainley is one of our favourite free handwriting fonts. This Monoline script with a classic, vintage feel, includes uppercase and lowercase characters, as well as numerics and punctuation marks. Offering a variety of possible use cases, including logos, T-shirt designs, letterhead and signage, this free font was created by Indonesian agency Seniors Studio.

35. Shadows into Light

This free handwriting font has rounded edges and a clean feel

  • Free for personal and commercial use
  • DOWNLOAD HERE

Shadows Into Light is the work of type designer Kimberly Geswein. Ideal for adding a personal touch to your projects, this free font features rounded edges and neat, clean characters. It's currently available in one style only, but has already proven extremely popular.

36. Pacifico

Free fonts Manteka

Pacifico is one of the most laid-back free fonts around
  • Free for personal and commercial use
  • DOWNLOAD HERE

Pacifico is a fun brush script handwriting font inspired by 1950s American surf culture. This open source font was one of the great contributions to the free software community by the late designer Vernon Adams, who passed away last year.

37. Cute Punk

Free fonts Moderne Sans

Cute Punk is a free font based on handwriting, but with a twist
  • Free for personal and commercial use
  • DOWNLOAD HERE

Cute Punk offers a vibrant, youthful and thoroughly modern take on the handwriting font. Infusing the style with a striking, almost geometric feel, this free font is the work of Flou, a designer and illustrator from Bratislava, Slovakia.

38. Futuracha

Free fonts Nevis

One of the oddest free fonts based on handwriting we’ve seen, Futuracha could work well in the right design
  • Free for personal use only
  • DOWNLOAD HERE

An idiosyncratic take on the handwriting font, Futuracha is inspired by John Baskerville’s classic typefaces, as well as Futura Book. Created by Holy, this free font family includes numerics, symbol fonts, and Greek and Latin characters. Designed as a display font, Futuracha could work well when used creatively in headlines, logos or typographical illustrations. 

39. Yellowtail

Free fonts Nexa: light and bold

Free font Yellowtail features a classic approach to handwritten, brush lettering
  • Free for personal and commercial use
  • DOWNLOAD HERE

Yellowtail is an old-school, flat, brush font that evokes classic 1930s typefaces like Gillies Gothic and Kaufmann. Designed by typography institute Astigmatic, its mixture of connecting and non-connecting letterforms gives it a unique look and ensures good legibility. 

You might also like the fonts in our 50 great free handwriting fonts post, our 14 calligraphy fonts post or our 10 pretty fonts post.

Next page: free vintage and retro fonts…

40. Cheque

Cheque started life as a student project before graduating to a full font
  • Free for personal and commercial use
  • DOWNLOAD HERE

Based on geometric shapes and with a classic, vintage look, Cheque started off as a student project by Fontfabric's Mirela Belova, then grew into a full display font. At its best when used in headlines or compositions, it comes in Regular and Black versions that are free for both personal and commercial use.

41. Bauru

Free fonts Nord

Bauru is a free font with a lot of soul
  • Free for personal and commercial use
  • DOWNLOAD HERE

Bauru is based on the kind of lettering that instantly sums up the feeling of a bygone age. One of the best free retro fonts, this could work well in portraying a sense of nostalgia and timeless values within a wide range of branding, posters, advertising or logo design. It was designed by Brazilian art director and illustrator Pier Paolo.

42. LOT 

Free fonts Parisish

LOT is one of the fattest, coolest, retro-est free fonts around
  • Free for personal and commercial use
  • DOWNLOAD HERE

Reminiscent of the stylised block lettering of 1970s and 1980s advertising, posters and magazine design, LOT nonetheless provides a sleek new take on a vintage style with its collection of fat, geometric letterforms. Featuring 78 characters, this free font would work well in posters, logos and headlines. It’s the work of independent type foundry FontFabric.

43. Streetwear

Free fonts Pier

Free font Streetwear effortlessly sums up a retro feel
  • Free for personal and commercial use
  • DOWNLOAD HERE

Streetwear is a cool, retro-inspired script typeface that gives a big nod to 1960s and 1970s fashion and sport designs. Suitable for logo, poster, branding, packaging and T-shirt design, it’s the work of Indonesian studio Artimasa.

44. Paralines Font

Fee fonts RBNo2

Anyone who remembers TV titles of the 1970s and 80s will recognise the style of this retro-futuristic free font
  • Free for personal and commercial use
  • DOWNLOAD HERE

Featuring idiosyncratic use of parallel lines, Paralines takes inspiration from both decades-old design and modern-day typography. This free font would suit any project aiming to evoke the graphic design of the 1970s and early 1980s. It’s the work of freelance UK designer Lewis Latham

45. Hamurz

Free fonts SciFly Sans

Free font Hamurz offers a hipster take on retro styles
  • Free for personal and commercial use
  • DOWNLOAD HERE

Hamurz is a hipster-style retro typeface with rough edges and rounded shapes. Created by Bagus Budiyanto, it offers a multitude of potential uses, such as logos, headings, or designs for T-shirts, badges or letterpress printing.

You might also like the fonts in our 40 free retro fonts post.

Next page: free brush fonts…

46. Leafy

Leafy features 95 hand-crafted characters
  • Free for personal and commercial use
  • DOWNLOAD HERE

Featuring 95 unique, hand-crafted characters, Leafy is an all-caps brush font drawn by Ieva Mezule and assembled by Krisjanis Mezulis of Latvian agency, Wild Ones Design. Perfect for any design that could use a personal, handmade feel, it's free for both personal and commercial use.

47. Playlist

Free fonts Shumi

Free brush font Playlist is great for illustrated designs and merchandise
  • Free for personal and commercial use
  • DOWNLOAD HERE

Playlist is a hand-drawn font with dry brush styles that comes in three varieties: Script, Caps, and Ornament. Ideal for illustrated designs, including posters, T-shirts and other merchandise, this is one of our favourite free brush fonts. It’s the work of Indonesian studio Artimasa.

48. Sophia

Free fonts Stellar

Free font Sophie offers a decorative take on brush script handwriting
  • Free for personal and commercial use
  • DOWNLOAD HERE

Sophie is light, friendly and slightly off-kilter, in a fun way. Described as “a hand-lettered brush script with a sweet decorative bonus", the family includes multilingual glyphs, as well as left and right stylistic letter combinations. This free font was designed by Mats-Peter Forss and Emily Spadoni, of Finland and the USA respectively.

49. Reckless

Free fonts Tracks

Free font Reckless has an upbeat feel
  • Free for personal and commercial use (pay with a tweet)
  • DOWNLOAD HERE

Reckless is a handwritten brush font that includes uppercase and extended Latin characters. As shown above, it would work well with a watercolour-effect design, either in print or on the web. It was created by Russian designer Nadi Spasibenko.

50. Kust

Free fonts Ziamimi

Brush fonts don’t have to be twee, as free font Kust shows
  • Free for personal and commercial use
  • DOWNLOAD HERE

Kust is a handwritten, all-caps font with a distorted, slightly corrupted look. This free font was based on letters drawn on hard paper, with a thick brush using pure black ink, by fashion designer and artist Leva Mezule. It comes courtesy of Wildtype Design, a studio based in Latvia. 

51. Brux

Free fonts Zwodrei

Brux takes an original approach to free brush fonts
  • Free for personal and commercial use
  • DOWNLOAD HERE

While most brush-style free fonts are pretty laid-back, stylistically speaking, Brux is quite rigid and formal, almost evoking the feel of a stencil. This gives it a very fresh and original look. The free font includes Swedish, German and Spanish characters and is the work of Stockholm-based art director Marcelo Melo.

You might also like the fonts in our 10 beautiful fonts post or even our 10 special wedding fonts post.

Next page: free tattoo fonts…

52. Betty

Free fonts Anders

Free font Betty is inspired by old-school tattoo art
  • Free for personal and commercial use
  • DOWNLOAD HERE

None of your hipster stars or tribal tattoos here. Betty is one of those free tattoo fonts that reaches back into the past to a bygone age, when every 'real man' had a sailor’s anchor and ‘I heart Mum’ inked on his bicep. This free font is the work of Athens-based designer Anastasia Dimitriadi.

53. Angilla

Free fonts Cassannet

Angilla is one of the best free fonts we’ve seen in the tattoo script style
  • Free for personal use only
  • DOWNLOAD HERE

This tattoo script font draws on the spirit of calligraphy to create something extremely fresh and stylish. This free font is the work of Swedish designer Måns Grebäck.

54. Serval

Free fonts Farray

Free font Serval offers a scratchy style for tattoo lettering
  • Free for personal use only
  • DOWNLOAD HERE

Another calligraphic font that’s perfect for tattoo stylings, Serval is a wiry, scratchy beast of a design. This free font is the inspired work of Maelle.K and Thomas Boucherie.

55. MOM

Free fonts Haymaker

MOM is a font inspired by the old school tattoo lettering of the American tradition
  • Free for personal and commercial use
  • DOWNLOAD HERE

MOM is a font inspired by the old-school tattoo lettering of the American tradition, and a tribute to the great tattoo artists of the past. This free font is the creation of Rafa Miguel, an art director based in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

56. Original Gangsta

Free fonts Kilogram

Original Gangsta is a free font with uncompromising style
  • Free for personal use only
  • DOWNLOAD HERE

Want a tattoo font that shows no mercy? Original Gangsta is a hard-edged script font that’s both stylish and uncompromising. This free font was created by Gilang Purnama Jaya, a designer from Indonesia.

You might also like the fonts in our free tattoo fonts post.

Next page: free graffiti fonts…

57. Ruthless Dripping One

Free fonts Makhina

Ruthless Dripping One is one of the few free fonts in the graffiti space that’s keeping it real
  • Free for personal use only
  • DOWNLOAD HERE

Most free graffiti fonts are really just stylised cursives that lack the sense of art, style and playfulness that’s so central to the urban street art scene. Ruthless Dripping One by Swedish designer Måns Grebäck bucks the trend with this free font, which combines calligraphy with paint drips to create something more on the money. 

58. Urban Jungle

Free fonts Metropolis

Distressed free font Urban Jungle conveys the look of street stencilling brilliantly
  • Free for personal use only
  • DOWNLOAD HERE

Stencils are a big focus of modern day street art, for both practical and aesthetic reasons. Here, Urban Jungle draws on the stencil tradition and adds a distressed texture that instantly evokes the sweat and fury of the street. It’s the work of Canadian typographer Kevin Christopher, aka KC Fonts.

59. Blow Brush

Free fonts: Monthoers

Free font Blow Brush is inspired by hip-hop and urban culture
  • Free for personal and commercial use
  • DOWNLOAD HERE

There’s a real energy and boldness to Blow Brush, a handwritten, marker-style font inspired by hip-hop and urban culture. Quirky enough to feel authentic, but formal enough to provide legibility and font functionality, this free font is the work of Petar Acanski, aka Raz, a Serbian multidisciplinary designer and frontend developer. It includes a full set of uppercase characters, numbers, 22 ligatures, a selection of special characters and some variations.

60. Sister Spray

Free fonts Nougatine

Free font Sister Spray brings together spray paint-style letters, numbers and splodges
  • Free for personal use only
  • DOWNLOAD HERE

Sister Spray is a beautifully messy, spray paint-style font that includes letters, numbers and a bunch of splatters, splotches and strokes. This free font is the work of French typeface design workshop ImageX.

61. Tag Type

Free fonts Ostrich Sans

Free font Tag Type delivers just what the name suggests
  • Free for personal use and charity use
  • DOWNLOAD HERE

Tag Type is inspired by graffiti tags that contains upper- and lowercase letters, numerals and punctuation. Both Latin and Cyrillic characters are included in this free font, which is the work of Ukranian designer Andy Panchenko.

You might also like the fonts in our 16 free grunge fonts post.

Next page: free unusual fonts…

62. Anurati

Emmeran Richard created futuristic-style font Anurati while developing his website

French graphic and type designer Emmeran Richard created futuristic-style font Anurati while developing his website. Richard create the font with the intention of offering it for free for both personal and commercial use to the masses, and in a way that others could customise it to suit their own needs. 

63. Elixia

This unusual font has a mystical vibe

Based around a hexagonal grid, Elixia is a slightly condensed typeface with a strong vertical emphasis. It was created by artist and designer Kimmy Lee back in 2005, and includes upper case, lower case, numerals, extended characters, accents and stylistic alternates. Elixia would be best suited for use as a decorative display font, thanks to its mystical, futuristic vibe.

64. Supermercado One

Supermercado One specimen

Supermercado One is most popular with Indian designers

  • Free for personal and commercial use
  • DOWNLOAD HERE

The asymmetrical snakelike capital S glyph for Supermercado One gives a huge hint about this free font's cheeky and surprising nature. Designer James Grieshaber describes it as an atypical mechanical sans that incorporates "unexpected swashes". He also reckons it can work well in blocks of text, not just for titles, as you might have thought. Check out the sample above to see it in action in both scenarios.

65. Gilbert

Gilbert is named after the designer of the rainbow flag
  • Free for personal and commercial use
  • DOWNLOAD HERE

Gilbert Baker, who died in 2017, was a LGBTQ activist and artist who's best known for creating the iconic rainbow flag, and he's been commemorated by this striking free display font. Designed with headlines and banner slogans in mind, Gilbert is available as a standard vector font as well as a colour font in OpenType-SVG format, and an animated version.

66. Jaapokki

Free fonts Reckoner

The ‘alternative subtract’ of Jaapokki experiments with removing elements of the font
  • Free for personal and commercial use
  • DOWNLOAD HERE

Jaapokki is a beautiful sans-serif font featuring clean lines, two alternatives and large set of glyphs that’s great for headlines, posters, logos and more. And Rob Hampson, head of design at The Bot Platform, is particularly attracted to the more unusual elements of this free font family, which was created by Finnish designer Mikko Nuuttila.

“I found Jaapokki around a year ago and instantly fell in love with it,” Hampson explains. “In fact, it’s the font I chose to use on my personal website. It has a range of choices, with some being more experimental than others. For example, ‘alternative subtract’ [shown above] experiments with removing elements of the font. This is definitely one to use at larger sizes.”

67. Carioca Bebas

Free fonts Rex

A fresh, fruity and colourful free font
  • Free for personal and commercial use
  • DOWNLOAD HERE

Carioca is a fresh, fun and fruity creation, based on a morphological colour and pattern. This delightful free font was developed as part of a three-month experimental type project by Argentinian graphic designers Tano Veron and Yai Salinas.

68. Le Super Serif

Free fonts Sketchtik Light

Le Super Serif is one of the few experimental free fonts that actually works
  • Free for personal and commercial use
  • DOWNLOAD HERE

Le Super Serif is that rare thing: a typographical experiment that actually works. It’s described by its creator, Dutch designer Thijs Janssen, as “a fashionable uppercase typeface with a little modern Western flavour to it.” This free font features 88 ligatures and comes in the weights Regular and Semi-Bold. 

69. Pelmeshka

Free font Pelmeshka offers a new twist on the foode theme
  • Free (pay with a tweet) for personal and commercial use
  • DOWNLOAD HERE

Most food-themed fonts do what you’d expect; no more, no less. Pelmeshka, though, has gone the extra mile to become something truly unique. Perfect for any design aimed at children, this Bodoni-inspired serif is funny, friendly and oh-so original. This free font is the work of Russian designer Cyril Mikhailov.

70. Tiny Hands

Free fonts Vagtur

Yes, this free font is dedicated to the eccentric handwriting of Donald Trump
  • Free for personal and commercial use
  • DOWNLOAD HERE

Even though Buzzfeed is aiming to transform into a serious news organisation, it’s still managing to maintain its sense of fun. And here’s a great example: a free font based on US President Donald Trump’s eccentric handwriting style. It was created by typographer Mark Davis, and apart from being a very funny satire, it could actually work well as a cartoon or comic-book font.

You might also like the fonts in our 10 quirky fonts post or our 10 best sci-fi fonts post.

Related articles:

  • 5 top typography tips for your homepage
  • Typography rules and terms every designer must know
  • 5 fonts created by famous designers and why they work

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Free online tool shows you what your fonts can do

We've all become used to having decent type online these days thanks to web fonts, but if you're a web designer without a background in typography, you might be unaware of some of the lesser-known features of your fonts that can really help bring your website layout to life.

  • Better web typography in 13 simple steps

Now, though, there's a free tool online that makes it easy to unlock your fonts' full potential. It's called Wakamai Fondue and it's designed to answer the question, 'What can my font do?' Geddit?

It's the work of Dutch developer Roel Nieskens, and it's incredibly simple to use. Simply go to the the Wakamai Fondue site, drag a font onto its big circle (or just click the circle to upload a font instead), and it'll tell you all about the font's features that you probably didn't know about.

So, if your favourite font has a whole load of extra glyphs, ornaments and ligatures that you weren't aware of, this is the perfect way to find out about them. And more than that, Wakamai Fondue helps you use all these features online.

How well do you really know your fonts?

As well as a summary of the font's details, its features and character set, Wakamai Fondue also provides you with all the CSS you'll need to take advantage of your font's features in your web projects. 

Simply download the auto-generated stylesheet and you'll be able to unlock a load of layout features that you might not have realised existed.

Wakamai Fondue reveals your fonts’ hidden features and gives you the CSS to use them

It's the perfect way to help pump up your web designs with extra print design flair, and used wisely, these extra features will make your pages not only easier on the eye, but more readable, too. Combine your newly found font features with the wisdom in these typography tutorials and you'll soon be able to take your web layouts to the next level.

Related articles:

  • 5 web typography trends to look out for
  • The rules of responsive web typography
  • 4 top typography tools for web designers

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