Every now and then we look around, select fresh high-quality free fonts and present them to you in a brief overview. The choice is enormous, so the time you need to find them is usually time you should be investing in your current projects. We search for them and find them so that you don’t have to.
The results are listed below - the most beautiful fonts, created by the open-source community and free for personal, academic and (sometimes) commercial use. The disclaimers are changing from time to time, so you better first take a close look at disclaimer before using the font in a commercial project.
Please note that some fonts are for personal use only and are clearly marked as such. Please read the license agreements carefully before using the fonts; they can change from time to time.
Further Reading on SmashingMag:
- Using White Space For Readability In HTML And CSS
- 16 Pixels: For Body Copy. Anything Less Is A Costly Mistake
- Applying Macrotypography For A More Readable Web Page
- When Typography Speaks Louder Than Words
New Free High-Quality Fonts
Piron is a highly legible typeface, very well suited to any display or text usage: Web, print (especially magazines), brochures, logos, posters, flyers, motion graphics. The font comes in two weights: regular and oblique. Designed by Alexander Nedelev and Veronika Slavova. Available for free and commercial use, and available in OpenType format.
Nobile The font is designed to work on digital screens and handheld devices without losing the distinctive look usually found in fonts designed for print. The aim here was to design a font that would function well, have good legibility on screen yet also look good — not only at larger display sizes but also right down to small text sizes. The font is available in the Google Font Directory and was released under the Open Font License. The family comes in four weights (regular, italic, bold and bold italic).
Pigiarniq Inuktitut An oldie but a goodie. Heard of Nunavut? A small territory in Canada with one of the lowest population rates of the world? Probably not. Only 0.01 people live there per square kilometer, mostly Inuit. The citizens of Nunavut speak four languages: French, English, Innuinaqtun and Inuktitut. A few years ago, the government of the region decided to design a new typeface to enable its 28,000 citizens to use all four languages in a uniform manner. The result was a beautiful, rich and professional free sans-serif. The family includes bold, heavy, italic, light and regular weights, all available for free use.
St Marie St Marie is a rich type family designed for online applications and print. This release is a preview of the upcoming family, and the designer has released two weights (St Marie Thin and St Marie Thin Web) for free. The download package contains the weights in the formats OTF, WOFF, EOT and SVG, as well as a @font-face kit. See this example of St Marie Thin Web (HTML-page).
Code: Free Font This sturdy yet playful little font family can be applied to different kinds of graphic design work: Web, print, motion graphics, t-shirts, posters, logotypes. The font contains 192 characters and two weights (regular and bold) and is available in OTF for PC or Mac.
A quite distinctive, memorable font with two variations: lowercase letters bend to the left and uppercase letters bend to the right. This unique font will give your headlines originality and dynamism. Designed by Svetoslav Simov of Fontfabric, available in OTF.
akaDora (For personal use only) akaDora is a fairly simple script font with wide character support. Designed by James Daniel Milligan.
Crimson Text Open that old tome from the bookshelf over the fireplace, stick your nose in its pages and smell the ink, the glue and the immortality of the printed words. That is what Crimson Text is meant to be like. The font is released under the Open Font License. Notice: Crimson Text is under heavy development, and the spacing/kerning is abysmal.
Acid (Free for personal use only) Acid was designed by Stephan Baum specifically to be used in logotypes and body copy. The form of glyphs is similar to the design classic B42 by Marcel Breuer (Bauhaus) and has a very geometric character. The font contains 103 glyphs, comes in six weights (regular, regular italic, medium, medium italic, bold and bold italic) and is in the process of being developed. Released under Creative Commons.
Quadranta According to its creator, this design was started with quadrant arcs. Quadranta is a display font that would fit logo designs and playful headlines. Available for personal and commercial use. Designed by Darim Kim.
Balonez Fantasia Yet another distinctive, playful font with rounded glyphs. This would be great fit for brochures, magazine and t-shirts. Designed by Thiago Calza. Freely available for personal and commercial work. Available are two weights in TrueType.
Juice Juice is a modern, dynamic sans-serif type family. The font contains six weights (light, light italic, regular, italic, bold and bold italic), each containing 161 glyphs. The font is available in TrueType format. Designed by Dhany Arliyanti.
Geomancy Typeface (Free for personal use only) Geomancy is a chunky, retro geometric font that hearkens to French and American art deco. With some letterforms taken directly from posters and ephemera of the period, the all-uppercase set comes with many alternates and ligatures, so you can give a little of that varied, hand-painted feel to your work. Available in two weights: hairline and extra bold.
Prociono Prociono is an Esperanto word meaning either the star Procyon or the animal species known as the raccoon. It is a roman typeface with blackletter elements. The release includes both OTF and TTF. Source files are available as well.
Edelsans (Free for personal use only) Edelsans was designed as a noble geometric font for the screen, with few corners and mostly rounded glyphs. The typeface is not completely finished but is free for non-commercial use.
Neu Eichmass Neu Eichmass (German for New Etalon) is a typeface based on the weight 100 grams. The name is a reference to International Prototype kilogram, as a base unit of mass in the International System of Units. The typeface has a modern, cold, measured feel to it, reflecting its origin (its metal “parents”). It is a sans-serif font and takes inspiration from famous grotesques and stenciled types associated with marketplaces and street traders. Further inspiration comes from 1920s and ’30s constructivism. The font can be easily stenciled and is appropriate for different uses (street art, retail, independent shops, street markets). It comes in a headline font and a medium point body text suitable for print. Designed by Ivan Khmelevsky.
Ingleby Font A beautiful, carefully crafted serif font, with signs of the fine antiqua tradition. Designed by David Engelby, the font comes in four weights: regular, italic, bold and bold italic.
Ibarra Real Ibarra Real is a public domain font of Ibero-American character. Created in 2005, Ibarra Real is an elegant design, mixing tradition and modernity; a genuine badge of the particular Spanish culture that was created by Joaquín Ibarra in 1780. Available for Windows, Mac and Linux.
Notice 1: Packaging Symbols A symbols font with various weather, packaging and usage symbols.
Notice 2: Navigation symbols Yet another symbols font, this one containing symbols for public transit, car and flight navigation.
Notice 3: Cloth Symbols This symbols font contains pictograms for the clothing industry. The font is available in OpenType and was designed by the Russian studio Otlab.
Glyphyx (Registration required) This set of two free fonts features symbols and icons for use in data visualization. Glyphyx One includes symbols related to transportation, while Glyphyx Two has symbols related to leisure activities. Available in OpenType and TrueType formats for Windows and Mac.
Free Symbol Signs Collection Here is a collection of 50 common symbols for signage, professional designed. The symbols are free for use and are available in OpenType format. All were designed by Sander Baumann, set to the proportions of a regular typeface, so you no longer need to copy and paste such icons into your designs.
Rally Character Set Lukyan Turetsky released this character set of car rally symbols. The font contains standard signs of control in rallies, rally-related infographic icons, blanks for logos and other graphics, symbols for legends and other symbols and marks. In OpenType and available for free.
Paranoid Paranoid is a yet another experimental font, collaboratively designed by Simon Carrasco, John Stuart and Kevin Yeun Kit Lo. Paranoid is a purely geometric display face, conceived as a contribution to (and subtle critique of) the still growing trend of bold, geometric and counterless typography. It is equally suited to bringing back the joy of ’80s dance parties or expressing the ominous foreboding of inevitable nuclear disaster. A flexible face in spite of its limited form. Please contact the designers before using this font commercially.
01.BASE This free font is bold and experimental. It would come handy for bold statements on t-shirts and posters. The font was designed by Fabian De Lange and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike license.
Kilogram A very bold, striking and unique font which may perfectly serve for headlines. The font can be downloaded and used free of charge for both non-commercial and commercial work.
Luxi Sans A very clean and legible sans-serif font that can be used for headings and body copy.
Museo Slab 500 and 500 Italic (Registration is required, PDF Specimen) Museo Slab is robust slab serif which comes in 12 styles. The font family supports a very wide range in languages and is a complete OpenType typeface. Each weight counts 455 glyphs.
Lobster A bold condensed script font with hundreds of subtle ligatures and alternates. The Lobster font contains over 70 ligatures and 37 terminal forms. The font supports full Latin1 Charset.
Hattori Hanzo Typeface This free font is stylish and clean; it was created for headings and short text and is especially suited to items such as infographics and charts. Designed by Roman Shamin.
Sketchetik Light (Registration is required) Sketchetik is a hand-drawn font in four styles: light, regular, bold and black. It is recommended for use as display typeface. Only light weight is available for free download and use. Registration is required to download the files.
Free Font Sapir Actually, Sapir was designed as a stop gap, while waiting for better, professionally designed fonts for linguistics. Available in two styles — Regular and Italic. Designed by Eric Schiller.
Fat Love (personal use only) An experimental bold typeface with playful letters. Created by Jonathan Calugi. Available for personal use only, no commercial use.
Franchise Bold Franchise is a strong display typeface meant to communicate your message quickly and with power. The characters are drawn to achieve a unifomity without compromising style. Strong, memorable and free. You may want to support the designer by making a small donation.
Surface Medium Free humanist sans-serif font that may serve for catchy and attractive corporate headlines in web designs and booklets. Unfortunately, only one style (Medium) is available. Free for personal and commercial use.
Clementine Sketch Font To make this font display correctly — that is, with the beginnings and ends of each word closed — you must begin each word with a capital letter and end each word with the symbol ^. (There are two irregularities: W & V. If a word contains a W, you must end the preceding letter with a ^. If a word contains a V, you must end the preceding letter with a ^ and capitalize the letter following the V.) example: Amazingly^ Fe^w^ Discotheques^ Pro^vIde^ Jukeboxes^.
Soraya Half serif, half sans serif. Capital letters A-Z, available only in Illustrator AI format.
Triskweline: A new fixed-width font for programmers The TrueType TTF version of Triskweline works only at size 10 pt, which should do for your programming editor of choice. However, printing will look funny, as will using the font in word processors like Word or drawing tools like Corel Draw. If your editor supports it, prefer the pixel-font versions of Triskweline (.FON or .PCF).
Barrister Sans Light Barrister Sans is a geometric sans-serif designed initially as a corporate Cyrillic typeface which quickly evolved into fully grown typeface, available in Latin, Cyrillic and Greek codepages. It includes a set of 5 weights plus their matching italics, with several Opentype features as ordinals, fractions & tabular lining. Barrister Sans is a modern tech-looking sans serif alternative for all your needs. Available for free download until the 16th of May 2010.
PT Sans The Russian type design company “Paratype” released an extensive free sans-serif family with 8 font weights: Regular, Italic, Bold, Bold Italic, Caption Regular, Caption Bold, Narrow Regular and Narrow Bold (700+ glyphs each). The family can be used for legal documents on screen and in print. The family contains glyphs to various Cyrillic languages as well Latin glyphs, signs, fractions, numerators etc. A very impressive free font. License: free for personal and commercial projects.
Fh_Lentil Regular For more fonts, and other resources, visit Fictionalhead.com’s Fonts New font created for personal use. Additional families being developed (bold, italic, etc.) to be released at a future date. License: free only for personal projects.
Clutchee Clutchee Font is perfect for t-shirts, also applicable for any type of graphic design, web, print, motion graphics etc. License: free for personal and commercial work.
Digitica A very interesting, original geometric font, designed by Samuel Delabarre and available for free download. License: free for personal and commercial work.
Cantarell The typeface is designed as a contemporary Humanist sans serif, and was developed for on-screen reading; in particular, reading web pages on an HTC Dream mobile phone. Each font file currently contains 391 glyphs, and fully support the following writing systems: Basic Latin, Western European, Catalan, Baltic, Turkish, Central European, Dutch and Afrikaans. To date, Pan African Latin has only 33% glyph coverage. Since the design is aimed at display on-screen at small sizes, the printed output (especially of the bold and oblique) may not work well. License: free for personal and commercial work.
Exus Pilot An original geometric free font in True Type format. A good choice for poster design. Designed by Mauro Hernández. License: free for private and commercial projects.
Orbitron A geometric sans-serif typeface intended for display purposes. It features four weights (light, medium, bold, and black), a stylistic alternative, small caps, and a ton of alternate glyphs. Orbitron was designed so that graphic designers in the future will have some alternative to typefaces like Eurostile or Bank Gothic. License: free for private and commercial projects.
Ripe Font Family A geometric post-modern slab serif face. The serifs feature simplistic rounded terminals and its stroke is uniform. Ripe was designed to be a practical typeface. Each character is distinct, yet consistent. Its subtle differences are clear enough to be easily read at both high and low resolutions, perfect for print, web and screen media. The family has 4 weights (Regular, Light, Semibold, Bold) containing 577 characters in each weight. License: free for private and commercial projects.
St Transmission (free for personal use only) This free font is available in two weights: thin and extrabold. It has standard OpenType features such as ligatures, slashed zero, contextual alternates and lining figures. The Extrabold weight is ideal for bold headlines. Designed by Sascha Timplan. License: free only for private projects.
Keeparty A very original, colorful typeface created by Eugene Rudyy. License: free for personal and commercial projects.
LOT (large preview) LOT is a free font applicable for any type of graphic design – web, print, motion graphics etc. It is a good fit for T-shirts and other items like logos or pictograms. Format: Opentype (.otf) Compatible: PC and Mac. The font contains 78 glyphs. License: free for personal and commercial projects.
Recycle it font License: free for personal and commercial projects.
Denne’s aliens A hand-written, original, playful font with basic glyphs set. Designed by Denise Bentulan. License: free for personal projects, designer’s permission is required to use the font for commercial purposes.
Pac Font An older, yet quite original and attractive free font. License: free for personal use only.
Merge A very simple, yet playful and nice looking free font, designed by Philatype type foundry and released for free download in the OpenType format. License: free for personal and commercial projects.