Finding the perfect font is not only challenging, it can also be expensive too. Paying for every typography you think could work with your design adds up quickly. Luckily, there is a more economical approach – free fonts!
With free fonts, you can test drive them before making any financial commitment (should you use them for commercial purposes). So, what should free fonts should you have in your arsenal? We've selected 33 must-haves and categorized them per font family.
What Are the Best Free Fonts To Use?
Whether you are a full-time graphic designer or a self-taught illustrator that offers design services as a side-hustle gig, the best free fonts to use will depend on the vibe you're going for and the demographic you're trying to reach. No matter what you are using them for, however, the following fonts are always great to have on hand.
Best Free Sans-serif Fonts
First, what is a Sans-Serif font? You may recall reading a book or newspaper. There were small “dashes” at the edge of every letter.
These dashes are called “serifs.” Our mind naturally connects that letter to the next when we see them. These serifs are considered traditional and appropriate for print and formal publications.
Developed by the IndieGround Team, the Newake font gives the appearance of “full” bold letters, giving you a typeface that is easy to read. This Sans-Serif font's readability makes it a perfect choice if you're designing product packaging, web design, and other projects that require a font that pops out even from afar.
You can download and use this typeface for free if for personal use – albeit you only have access to a couple of characters. For commercial use and access to all the 300 characters, you'll need to pay $19.
If you need a more “condensed” typeface, there's always good, old-fashioned Norwester.
The Norwester came to life through Jamie Wilson, a Twilio developer. Unlike Newake, it is thinner and more condensed. Plus, it has unique designs for glyphs and letters.
Norwester is free for download; the only “payment” they ask for is a donation to the International Justice Mission.
Stefano Gilberti's Animosa is “sharper” than the previous two fonts on this list. This font family also has a larger number of glyphs (508 glyphs, to be exact), five weights (extra light to extra bold), and five styles (extra light italic to extra bold italic). It also supports 93 languages!
Animosa is a free font for personal use. For $12, you can use the fonts for commercial use.
Now you're probably wondering, “Where's a free font I can use for personal and commercial use? With no strings attached?”
As the name suggests, the Public Sans font is open to the public and can be downloaded to your computer without a hassle. Originally developed for the United States federal government, the font comes in nine bold settings to make its text stand out. Not bad for a free font, right?
Sometimes we want a little more style and variety. Thankfully, there's always Atami.
The Atami, one of the few 3D fonts, is perhaps the most versatile sans-serif font on this list. Not only can you get the standard regular and bold style, but you can also apply accents, stencil styles, and display glyphs.
Best Free Serif Fonts
As opposed to Sans-Serif, Serif typefaces are recommended in more formal documentation. If you read something in print form, there's a good chance it's utilizing classic Serif fonts.
Like Sans-Serif, Serif font style also comes with various choices.
Software engineer Sebastian Kosch created Crimson. This typeface is reminiscent of the old typefaces like Garamond but has its own distinct flair in print. Crimson is available in regular, bold, italic, and bold italic.
Fabian De Smet created Butler in 2015. This free font comes in 14 different weights and 334 characters. The letters give the appearance of appearing “fuller” than the letters made in Crimson. The Butler is a fantastic choice if you want to create a graphic with a “retro” vibe.
While it's a free font for personal and commercial use, De Smet politely requests a donation to his PayPal to keep the project free.
Next is Playfair Display, a design that borrows the typographic inclinations of 17th-century Europe. It pays homage to the early pens of that era, apparent in its thin hairlines. Playfair Display comes with various glyphs and is free to use, personally and commercially.
Created in 2011, Lora is more balanced than its Serif contemporaries — no hairline is too thin, and no stroke is too thick. Lora is a fantastic modern twist that weds Serif's elegance and Sans-Serif's fullness.
It's available in several accents and glyphs and is free for personal and commercial use.
New York is perfect if you're looking for a Serif font that exudes style.
Another Serif created in the 21st century, the New York font is comparatively delicate. It's best used for high-end fashion advertisements and magazines.
Reflective of the polyglot city for which it was named, New York can be used for over 200 Latin-based languages!
Best Free Brush Fonts
Brush fonts break the mold of stale typefaces. Some graphics beckon the strokes of genuine brushes, free to grace the space with artistic abandon!
Here are the five best free graffiti fonts you can download:
Created by Alice Whales, the Zallord font resembles a thick stroke backed by a thin hairline along the inner edge. The font is perfect for independent movie posters, album covers, and counter-cultural pieces of clothing.
The font is free to download for personal and commercial use.
It's important to remember that different fonts resemble the cultures of their origin. Japanese font is particularly distinctive. As the name might suggest, the font resembles Japanese script. That will be a great fit if you create an art piece set in Samurai and Ronin-era Japan.
A new font created by the Rustle Supply Company, Rustico, is all-caps, so you're out of luck if you're looking for lowercase letters. The point of Brush Strokes is to make your letters big anyway, right?
The good thing is that its slight stance gives the appearance of italics.
It's free for both personal and commercial use.
Brush strokes typically have little to no physical constraints on the canvas. Fortunately, Banaue font fixes that.
With a straighter, more composed look, Banaue is ideal if you need something with the legibility of Sans-Serif and the free-spiritedness of Brush Strokes. Banaue is available for free for personal and commercial use.
What if you want to do away with the cleanliness of Banaue and go back to the grungy style reminiscent of the early 1990s?
Levi Brush offers this aesthetic. Some letters feature “drips” around the strokes for a sense of authenticity. Levi Brush offers lowercase numbers and glyphs. It's also available for download for personal and commercial use.
Best Free Handwriting Fonts
Thanks to the internet, we can find a simple cursive form of our writing at the tap of a key! But what if you wanted some variety, like a handwritten signature script? Thankfully, there's no limit to the human imagination (or a software engineer's dexterity with a keyboard)! Here are our five favorite Calligraphy fonts!
This Mats-Peter Forss creation looks spectacular if you're looking for wedding fonts for invitations. This font gives off a natural flow, which is crucial in handwritten fonts! These also work for fashion advertisements.
Cervanttis is free for personal use, but you must purchase commercial rights for $14.
Lanmikraz Studio's Signature Monoline is one of our favorite free fonts because of its classic and vintage feel. This font is highly versatile, thanks to its 266 glyphs and 86 characters. Like Cervanttis, this is ideal for personal branding projects and elegant invitations.
Thin, dapper, and expressive. The Tomato Soup font will bring your stationery to life. Unlike Signature Monoline and Caervanttis, Tomato Soup opts for condensed curves and sharp edges, reminiscent of a doctor or teacher's handwriting.
Although we don't recommend using this typeface for text-heavy designs, it will stand out for artwork with less text.
Tomato Soup is free for a commercial desktop license. If you use this font on websites and videos, you will be shelling out $64 to $700.
Salted Mocha combines handwriting and authentic brushstroke textures for a playful yet sophisticated typeface you can use on invitations, quotes, and more! For personal use, you don't have to pay anything. For commercial use, you're looking to pay between $16 to $2,800.
What if you want a handwritten font divorced from “high-end” advertisements? Or the Christmas fonts? Something more casual? There's always Timothy.
Not every handwritten font needs to be used for high-end fashion or wedding invitations. Timothy brings a more casual air to the handwritten fonts in this article.
Created by Russian designer Ksenya Zoltsman, Timothy best suits playful greeting cards and other stationery.
Best Free Futuristic Fonts
Imagine typing up an Instagram post and using a fancy generator to increase engagement. Well, that's nice, but what about your graphic?
To be blunt, Times New Roman can't give you the visual punch you need! Thankfully, we have a wealth of powerful fonts belonging to the family of free Futuristic fonts!
Designed by Qaes Al-atoom, the Pulsar font gives off the aura of a sci-fi novel. The upward sweep in the letter “A” will remind you of the font used in the Star Trek logo. The difference is that Pulsar opts for softer curves.
This font can be used for nature scenery or advertisements for hiking products and the like.
Imagine you got stranded on a desert planet – castaway on a galactic island.
Suddenly, your eyes catch a strange yet legible font upon a boulder somewhere. A ding sounds off in your head, and you say, “Neat! It's the Elianto font!”
That's what Elianto is, the font of an ancient alien civilization (okay, really, it was designed by Emanuele Papale of the Netherlands). If you're creating graphics for a sci-fi project, then Elianto is for you.
While Elianto may have an intergalatic vibe, Anurati takes this aesthetic to a whole other dimension! Anurati features letters purposefully missing strokes to give them an “otherworldly” feel. Also perfect for sci-fi and nature projects.
This font is free for personal use. Commercial use requires a purchase.
Blanka is the first ever font made by Emmeran Richard. Since it was shared in 2014, it has garnered over 200,000 downloads!
Minimalist like Anurati, Blanka is also ideal for sci-fi and nature projects. The most distinct feature of this free futuristic typeface is its missing lines in the letterform. This font is also free to download for personal or commercial use.
If you're looking for a minimalist font like the Anurati and Blanka, but with more rounded edges, Gold Graphic's Galaxy typeface is for you. Its round gaps or slices in the letters set it apart from other futuristic fonts.
You can download Galaxy for free.
Best Free Retro/Vintage Fonts
Let's turn back to the past, where traditionalism was the norm. Finding a free Retro font should be as easy as finding a page count with your word count! Retro fonts exude a classy, rugged, working-class vibrance that will appeal to blue-collar folks near and far.
Designed by Mariano Diez, this font exudes glamour and luxuriousness with unique O, R, and S characters. It combines subtle Art Deco style with a Sans-Serif twist for a nostalgic aura in your artwork, whether it be posters, banners, and advertisements.
Another timeless typeface you should have in your font rotation is Oban Design Studios' High Life. This typeface captures the essence of earthy working-class style – modest, yet dignified. It is also available in both Serif and Sans-Serif. The High Life is free for personal and commercial use.
Imagine going to an 80's-style arcade, and amid the coins jingling and buttons mashing, the thing that takes you back is the font on the screens. Lazer 84 is perfect for those looking for a piece to capture the zeitgeist of the 1980s.
Lazer 84 is free for personal use and requires a donation (any amount) for commercial use.
The Crafter font combines Sans smoothness with Rintage class typeface. Hand-painted metal signs inspire this. Crafter is perfect for “relaxing” logos, posters, banners, and advertisements.
You can get this typeface for free for personal and desktop commercial use.
Last on our list of the best Retro fonts is Fontfabric Type Foundry's Cheque typeface. It opts for geometric shapes to achieve a classy, vintage look. Plus, this font is available in a variety of glyphs and languages.
Cheque is ideal for vintage headlines and pieces set in the Roaring Twenties.
Best Free Minecraft Fonts
Let's wrap this article with something fun! By that, we mean a font inspired by a video game.
Since its release in 2011, Minecraft has become a worldwide phenomenon. It's not only become a commercial success with several spin-offs, but it's also even developed its unique brand of recognizable fonts!
Minecrafter is the game franchise's primary and most recognizable font. Capturing the retro spirit of old Commodore 64 desktop games with a modern veneer, the MineCrafter is perfect for making anything Minecraft-related! You also get a cracked version of the font family for a dramatic effect in your designs.
The font does not currently feature glyphs and accents but is readily available for personal and commercial use.
Filling in the void left by the MineCrafter, Andrew Tyler's Minecraftia offers its glyphs and accents in the classic Minecraft form. This font is free for personal use. Commercial use, like for an app, requires a license.
While lacking the glyphs and accents of the Minecraftia, Chequered Ink's Minecraft Evenings font does combine the classic with a more eerie vibe to create a useable Halloween typeface.
Time To Sit Back and Unwind
The internet is filled with rich, download-ready fonts to add to your arsenal. Not all are entirely free, but the benefits outweigh the small price.
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Bobby Kania is a full-time blogger with multiple blogs spanning topics in education, music, and advice. He currently lives in Seattle with his wife and cat. Learn more at Capitalize My Title.