There is no limit to your creativity. This is true for visual arts, be it for printed format or in virtual ones. It is necessary to include text in your visual creations at times and when this happens, you cannot employ the “anything will do” principle. Every aspect of your visual presentation has an impact on its overall value. Typography plays an essential role in designing. The type of font you use can make or break your creation.
Fonts available online sometimes come with licenses to protect property rights. While it is best to purchase a font license and support fellow artists, it is also understandable the desire to try certain fonts first before spending for it. In some cases, one simply does not have the resources to use for paid fonts and can get a lot of help from the free ones.
There is a wide selection of resources for free fonts online. We are narrowing down the options to make the process of choosing one easier for you.
Below are the best free font resources for your further review and consideration.
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One of the top answers when searching for free font resources is Google Fonts. It offers a voluminous collection of more than 800 font families. You end up with numerous options in varied types of fonts including, but not limited to, handwriting fonts, mono-spaced styles to sans serif varieties, to name a few.
The fonts in the Google Font catalog are open source. They are licensed to be used on any website, be it a personal or commercial one. It is recommended by Google Fonts to host the fonts on the user’s website server. This is done by copying the code snippets provided below the Embed tab in the selection drawer to the user’s website’s HTML and CSS.
The web fonts are known to make the page’s accessibility, maintenance, and performance better. They are compressed automatically, resulting in a faster download. Once they are downloaded, they are cached in the browser for other web pages using Google Fonts to reused.
Users have the option to download the fonts on their computer though. They can be used for documents, mock-ups, and even locally on your computer. Whenever websites using Google Fonts are rendered by your computer’s browsers, the browsers will check your system if the specified font is already available on your computer and will use the local one instead of the web version. Therefore, you must ensure that the fonts on your computer are always updated. A fonts manager helps in automatically syncing the latest Google Fonts version with the one on your computer.
The best part about Google Fonts is how the fonts are all open source. This allows you to use them in any way you like. However, its downside also stems from this. The fonts are freely available, so they can be used by anyone. This can potentially lead to the web filled with the same text style all over. More so, it is not recommended to create your brand’s typography based on common fonts as it will lessen your uniqueness in the market. Also, the collection is extensive, yet it still misses greater options for certain styles such as serif typefaces, which are quite limited.
Another popular source for free fonts online is Font Squirrel. It has been around for quite some time already, and most of the fonts offered are free.
Font Squirrel is the answer to the all-familiar staple text formats from Google Fonts. It offers a variety that makes certain parts of the text content distinct, interesting, and even simply different. The fonts are high-quality.
When going through the fonts on Font Squirrel, each of the entries is provided with a set of terms and conditions pertaining to its license for legal use. Users must take the time to read and understand them before using a preferred font to avoid issues. In some cases, it is necessary to get in touch with the font’s authority to get confirmation that it is free for use online. You certainly do not want any legal problems because of property rights.
One great tool that Font Squirrel has to offer is the Font Generator. This tool lets web designers take any font and convert them into web fonts. It supports various file types such as TrueType, OpenType, and Windows Postscript. Formats with multiple fonts such as Mac .dfont are supported, but only the first one that the Generator finds in the file will be used by it.
The tool comes with two settings, Easy and Expert. The first one generates files that work on all contemporary browsers. The second one is for power users as it offers options to select formats, subsetting and working on CSS, to name a few. However, the tool has a limit of 2 megabytes and does not work for non-Latin fonts as well as fonts that are blacklisted by Font Squirrel.
Font Squirrel’s Font Identifier tool is also a cool addition that determines the font name by looking at its image. However, because not all of the fonts available on the site are completely available for use freely, the site’s tagline is quite misleading.
The site offers assistance in installation desktop fonts since the process can be complicated at times. It also has a guide for making web fonts work on your website. The latter includes a web font installation tutorial, a web font issue troubleshooting tutorial using the website inspector from Chrome, an explanation about style linking as well as a font-face bugs list for easy reference.
Launched in 2008 by FontShop, FontStruct is an online font creation tool. It is a combination of a Flash-based font-making tool and a community site of users who get together to build fonts, discuss them and share with each other. It is free to use FontStruct as well as the fonts available on the site.
The site’s Flash tool is simple to use with its pre-constructed geometrical shapes that are arranged in a grid pattern similar to bricks or tiles. Users build fonts, and FontStruct comes up with TrueType fonts that are ready for use for applications from both Mac and Windows. The creations can be kept private by the builder, but it is highly recommended by the site to share them with the community.
Because of this, the site houses a selection of at least 43,000 fonts. The majority of these are produced by its users, and they can all be downloaded for free. A Creative Commons license is applied to the fonts fabricated with the use of FontStruct, so they are all free for anyone to use. In some cases, they are made to serve as inspiration by other users when creating their unique font designs. However, this is limited to those fonts with licenses that do not include the No Derivatives clause.
The site that was initially a program uploaded for pure entertainment and to kickstart creativity has turned into a popular venue for both ambitious creators and simple dabblers. Both have benefited from the program turned site. In addition to them, the general public who are looking for fresh and distinct font styles has been well-served as well.
One of the largest databases of free fonts online is DaFont. It currently has more than 34,000 downloadable fonts that are free for use. The majority of them, however, are limited to personal use, but some can be used for free commercially.
The best asset of DaFont is how its database is arranged systematically in categories or themes. These include fancy, foreign, holiday, gothic, and techno. You can also choose from basic, script, and dingbats options. There are font designs that look similar to attractive handwriting.
Every font comes with an info sheet. It contains all the useful information related to the font. The most important of which is the license. It will show if you can download the font for free as well as if you can use it for personal purposes only or for commercial ones as well. Additional information includes the number of times the font has been downloaded and all comments from users about the said font.
More so, there is a general notice on the site highlighting the fact that the fonts are owned by the authors and that the license information specified above the download button for each font is only an indication. Users are advised to check the archives’ readme-files or go to the author’s website for details about legally using the font. If in doubt, it is even recommended that users get in touch with the author. The site also declares that the absence of information regarding the author or license does not mean that the font is free. It only means that DaFont does not have the said information.
Founded in 2006, FontSpace is another great free font resource online. It currently has more than 32,000 fonts produced by more than 2,100 designers and enjoyed by over 746,000 users.
The site was created to focus on font designers by having customizable quick preview tools and easy downloads. Each of the fonts on the site has been evaluated by a site moderator. It goes through quality check and license verification as the site aims to be a reliable name in the world full of unethical websites. It thoroughly goes through a font’s fine print as it allows fonts that have full authorization and license to be used.
FontSpace is quite easy to use. There is no need to provide any information or create an account or log in to one for you to download a font. Finding fonts can be done in different ways. The Popular Fonts button brings forth the top 1,000 fonts on the site. You can also choose between the Newest Fonts and the Feature Font Collection buttons to quickly access an array of font designs to pick from.
When you click on a font design that you are interested in, you are given a preview of how the font looks in various formats plus other relevant information about it. This includes who designed the font as well as the terms and conditions that serve as guidelines for using the font. You can find the information on the legality of using the font on this page as well as the contact details of its designer in case there is a need to get in touch.
You will also be privy to other font designs from the same designer as suggestions to go through. A comments box is also available for you to show some love, make some suggestions or share anything you have in mind about the font design. The page will also show when the font was created, how many have downloaded and liked it. You can also send donations to the designer as a form of support for the work that they do.
Owned by Adobe, Behance is a platform for showcasing creativity and discovering artworks. Many artists find the site a great place for presenting their portfolio and consequently promoting their talents and skills. It was introduced in 2006 and has become one of the best venues for highlighting designs in different areas.
One of the many contents available on the site is free fonts. All it takes is a quick search on the website for you to get access to the numerous output from different creatives all over the globe. You can download them all for free.
However, you have to check on the legalities of using a specific font for commercial purposes. This is specified when you click on a font of your choice. Most of the fonts do not cost a thing if downloaded for personal use. However, they have to be purchased if used commercially.
The best thing about Behance’s free fonts is how distinct the designs are because of how the site is focused on encouraging the creative sense of the designers. However, its database is limited compared to the other sites that focus mainly on free fonts only.
Another reliable site for free fonts is Abstract Fonts. The site prides itself on having high-quality font designs as the collections are curated. The majority of the fonts are available for free use personally and commercially. It is, however, still recommended to read thoroughly about the font’s license before downloading and using it.
You will also have a fun time checking the categories on the site, which are presented visually in fun, interesting and ingenious ways. When you click on the font of your choice, you will be provided with the details of the font such as its license for use. In addition to that, there is a separate tab that shows all of the characters provided by the font design, so you have a clear expectation of each letter, number, and character.
Not-so-aptly named, 1001 Fonts has at least 9,000 free fonts in its database. The site itself is not as aesthetically pleasing as its competition, but you can be assured of the quality it brings.
1001 Fonts has a smaller database than other font sites, but you are still privy to an impressive collection. The free fonts are free for personal use, and many can also be used commercially without legal issues. Installing them is a piece of cake, and they have high quality.
Browsing through 1001 Fonts allows you to access your options in terms of style, size, and weight quickly and easily. It is a breeze to mix and match the fonts with your projects.
Finding the best free font resources
The Internet is overflowing with options when it comes to font resources, free and paid ones. This makes the process of looking for the most ideal typography theme to fit your web designs quite taxing. Having more than enough options can be problematic, too.
The above list highlights the most reliable and extensive sources of free fonts for you to use. If you wish to extend your option further, you can easily do so. However, you should be wary of the issues that can arise. Some sites do not highlight or even simply present the legal implications of using the fonts that they are promoting as free for download and use. If you know how to be meticulous with that, then everything will be easy-peasy.
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