Top freely available fonts
High-quality typefaces that are available online for no cost can be tricky to find – especially if you don’t fancy wading through thousands of ‘wacky, fun’ fonts. Here is a selection of free fonts that every designer, illustrator or artist should consider for their arsenal.
Originally created for sign-cutting by the Barnhard Bros & Spindler foundry in 1842, ATF Antique was much-used in the 19th Century, and was revived in 1905 as Antique 1. The headline and caption font also heavily influenced typefaces including Bookman and Rockwell.
ATF Antique, www.tinyurl.com/5f9l3b
Designed by Dutch typographer Jos Buivenga (aka Exljbris), Delicious, Diavalo and Fontin are quirky cursive fonts that are better designed than many commercial fonts. Diavalo is particularly well-designed, featuring more than 3,200 kerning pairs and letterforms from Latin to Croatian, Icelandic and Turkish.
DTLectrum is a pixel font that’s designed to be ultra-legible – even at very small point sizes or on mobile devices.
Dummy Tapes is not a faux Dymo font. As creator Kenn Munk says, “If you want things to look like they were made with a Dymo, use a Dymo”. Dummy Tapes offers more creative options, so designers can scale parts in and out of sync with each other for some unusual effects.
Kenn Munk, www.kennmunk.com
Based on the 17th-Csentury type designs of John Fell, a bishop of Oxford, and recreated by Igino Marini, the Fell Types include six fonts and 53 matrices of ‘flower work’. The fonts are ideal for adding to historical styles and are designed to be used a particular point sizes. The fonts need to be used with a credit.
Igino Marini, www.iginomarini.com
Created by linguistics and literacy group SIL, Gentium is an Open Source font that’s designed to provide a consistent typeface across multiple language types. It’s a stylistically neutral face with an expansively extended set of Latin, polytonic and monotonic Greek characters. Archaic Greek and Cyrillic characters are currently being created.
In 2004, Danish design agency Kontrapunkt was awarded the Danish Design Prize for best typeface for its own corporate typeface, which it named after itself. Soon after, the firm released the font for free on its Web site. Kontrapunkt is a slab serif with a distinctive style.
Created by graphic designer, illustrator and typographer Peter Hoffman, Lacuna is a relatively simple but classically designed body-copy font. It’s available only in regular and italic forms though.
Peter Hoffman, www.glashaus-design.com
Showstudio created the Pagan Poetry font as part of its packaging design for the single from Björk’s Vespertine album. The company, founded by photographer Nick Knight and designer’s designer Peter Saville, later released the typeface as a free download.
From type designer Manfred Klein, Petit Latin is a skinny body-copy font that combines a classic design with a high level of legibility.
Manfred Klein, www.tinyurl.com/6gvgwr
Working under the name Misprinted Type, Eduardo Recife creates free and commercial fonts. He specializes in distressed, grungy typefaces that work well with dirty, layered compositions. Selfish is a slightly faded, over-written script font that’s reminiscent of the opening sequence of Se7en.
Misprinted Type, www.misprintedtype.com