Typography can make all the difference. However, if your project has to get along on a very limited budget and you need to rely on free fonts, good ones are never easy to find. Luckily, we stumbled across some real gems lately. The following fonts can be downloaded for free and are bound to give your project — both private and/or commercial — a classy finishing touch.
Further Reading on SmashingMag:
- Hands On The Sigmund Freud Typeface: Making A Font
- Taking A Second Look At Free Fonts
- A Journey Through Beautiful Typography In Web Design
Butler is a serif typeface inspired by a mix between Dala Floda and the Bodoni family. The idea behind it was to bring a bit of modernism to serif fonts by working on the curves of the classical serif fonts and adding an extra stencil family. The result is a font family of 334 characters, seven regular weights and seven stencil weights, text figures, ligatures, fractions, and more. A variety of glyphs make it a good fit for many different languages. Butler works best for posters, very big titles and books. Free for personal and commercial use.
Inspired by the chapped logotype on a vintage bike, Moriston is a sans-serif typeface with unusually high contrast and full, round curves. While the bolder weights are full of character, the lighter ones do work great even in larger pieces of text. Moriston comes in six weights and supports over 200 languages and a variety of additional number styles. You can pay what you want — however, only for a personal license.
Born is named after one of Barcelona’s most picturesque districts. Just like the district, the typeface brings together the old and the new to create a symbiosis between tradition and modernity. Born includes 262 glyphs, among them ligatures and uppercase numerals. Free for personal and commercial projects.
Sensa is a handmade font family consisting of 21 fonts — a demo of two of them, Sensa Brush and Sensa Sans, is free. Sensa Brush has a squiggly, handlettered look to it, while Sensa Sans looks more sleek and minimalistic. Sensa fits almost any design project — web and screen projects just like advertising, packaging, editorial or branding projects.
Badhead is a fresh font, great for branding, greeting cards, logotypes or any design with a strong and elegant touch. It comes with 246 glyphs and alternate characters that you can access using Open Type savvy software such as Illustrator or InDesign. Free to use, also in commercial projects.
Melma is a font full of character, perfect for posters or advertising. It includes three variations — inline, cracked and black — and is available in TrueType format. Free for commercial use.
The Againts typeface was inspired by ink and tints hand-drawn brush. Alternative glyphs and ligatures make it easy to make a beautiful creative mess, e.g. for headlines or posters. Available as OpenType and TrueType.
Back in 1992, Yamaoka Yasuhiro wanted to design a perfectly faceless typeface. The result is Eau Sans. Eau Sans was later re-formatted with numeric characters in three variations: proportional, lining and old-style figures. The font is available in OpenType format.
Another free brush font is Kust by Ieva Mezule, a fashion designer and painter. Every letter has a unique structure with a distorted look which was created by drawing the letters on hard paper with a thick brush and using pure black ink. Even if you can’t think of a use for Kust right now, make sure to check it out nevertheless.
League Spartan is a bold, modern, geometric sans-serif strongly influenced by ATF’s classic Spartan family. The typeface comes with an extensive characterset of over 300 glyphs and a single strong weight. For both personal and commercial use.
The sans-serif typeface Quark comes in six weights. Two of them, light and bold, can be downloaded for free. It offers tabular and proportional lining, as well as fixed-width numerals, and, for multilingual support, a variety of latin accents.
Atlético is a sporty statement. There are six weights in total, including thin, ultralight, light, regular, medium and bold versions. The font is free to download after you have shared it via Facebook and can be used for non-commercial projects.
An experimental font by Luis Armesilla, released under a Creative Commons license. Morning Glory The font combines various unique geometric forms and shapes. Obviously, the font is not suited to traditional publications but could be useful in posters, artwork and creative brochures.
A bold yet versatile font that is based on classic proportions and chunky letter forms. The sharp, precise lettering makes it an interesting choice for signage, book jackets, packaging, posters and t-shirts. The small Tondu family includes an extended European character set. One font weight, Tondu Beta, is available for free downloading. Registration on MyFonts is required, though.
Legion Slab is a condensed slab-serif typeface designed by Phil Pham. The body copy set in Legion Slab is quite difficult to read because some letters were designed to be asymmetric, giving the typeface an original, perhaps “broken” appearance. However, Legion Slab could be a great fit for headings and product designs. In TrueType format; only a regular weight is available.
Ostrich Sans is a display sans-serif typeface with a variety of styles: the free family contains dashed (thin), rounded (medium), ultra-light, normal, bold (with racetrack-style double lines) and black font weights. Designed by Tyler Finck, available in TrueType format and open source (courtesy of The League of Moveable Type).
Collator is a sans-serif typeface designed to achieve greater harmony between Chinese characters and Latin letter forms when set together. Drawing inspiration from the two traditions of type design, Collator aims to be a contemporary, balanced expression of both Western and Asian cultures. Created by Vince Lo and released as a pay-what-you-want license.
Lukas Bischoff has released this heavy, elegant headline typeface for private use only. DOCK11 would work well for headings, short paragraphs and any type of graphic design in your personal portfolio.
You’ve seen any other high quality free fonts lately? Let us know in the comments to this post!