There are tens of thousands of free fonts online for download. Most word processing programs come with pre-installed fonts, Google offers them and you can download them from various repositories and upload to your fonts folder. However, if you want your designs to stand out, you need to have a collection of unusual choices fitting different moods and occasions.
There are four primary kinds of type, and within each typeface, there are hundreds of variations of fonts in different sizes and styles. For example, you might have a font family with serifs and ligatures, but you could have 10 point bold, 12 point italic or 14 point regular text. There are more combinations than you could count.
The four types of fonts include serif, sans serif, script and decorative. There are both paid and free fonts available in every category. For this article, we’ve narrowed down your options to 10 truly captivating free fonts you can use. We also list some ideas for where to use each one.
The Quick South St grabs user attention from the minute you see it. The free font has a highly industrial look perfect for manufacturing facilities or industrial businesses. It also has a grunge look that would work for street artists, musicians and other creatives.
The font is by Rodrigo Gonzalex of Southtype and is free for personal and non-profit use. There is a bit of a gray area about usage for commercial ventures, but if you aren’t reselling the font, you should be okay. If in doubt, contact the creator directly. The font is sans serif with grids inside the eye of some letters and the counter of others.
2. Mini Story
Designed by Syaf Rizal, Mini Story is free for personal or commercial use. With a distinct handwritten look, the font has a casual feel of someone jotting down some thoughts. The tail of letters fall well below the baseline, giving the font a tall x-height.
Mini Story is one of the few free fonts without a charge for commercial licensing, so it is perfect for e-commerce or blogs.
3. Alloy Ink
Alloy Ink is another of the free fonts available for commercial use. The font has a different look to it, giving it a futuristic feel. The letters are more like street art you’d see on the side of the building, with fat strokes and a three-dimensional flare.
Utilize a heavy font for flyers advertising kids’ events or school activities. You could also utilize Alloy Ink for a blog heading when you want the title to stand out in bold relief.
If you seek free fonts with a bit more formality, Scripting Regular is a gorgeous, loopy font perfect for any serious occasion. The sans serif script font utilizes swooshes for the terminals or peaks of letters and swirls for the tails of others.
The script is flowing and calligraphy-like. Use this font for business logos for companies serving women, wedding planning or other formal occasions. There is no charge to use this font for personal or commercial reasons.
If you’re looking for a captivating serif font, Le Super Serif adds a ton of interest to any design. This unique letterform features uppercase typeface has a bit of modern flair and some input from old west style. It comes with 88 ligatures and special alternate characters. You can use the font in regular or semibold.
The font comes from SuperBruut Studio. The edges of the letters have a blocky look, but other sections are flowing. Special characters allow you to overflow some of the letters. The style works particularly well for logos.
If you’re looking for free fonts that are Google compatible, Cormorant is a great option. Created by designer Christian Thalmann, it is a display type font. You’ll download 45 font files with nine unique visual styles. Some of the options include Roman, Italic, Infant, Garmod, Upright Cursive and Unicase. Choose between weights of light, regular, medium, semibold and bold.
Thalmann points to Claude Garamont’s work as his inspiration but did not focus on any single existing design for a starting point. He drew most of the glyphs by hand and pulled on Garamond for inspiration but not specifics.
Although you can use this font for either a title or body text, it pairs best with styles such as Libre Franklin, PT Sans and Montserrat. Use Cormorant when you need a more serious tone to your design, such as for a financial institution or educational seminar.
If you’re looking for old-fashioned serif free fonts, Restora is an excellent option for vintage glamour. Created by Nasir Udin, the font comes in eight different weights, including thin and italics. The free version comes with fewer options than the paid, but it is still quite adaptable to various projects.
Restora is perfect for book covers, logos and headings. It comes with swashes and ligatures as well as style options to give your design a unique style unlike anyone else’s.
Runy Tunes is the brainchild of typographer Nick Curtis. The font has a bit of an art nouveau attitude. Note the stretched up letters, giving the font a huge x-height. Closed letterforms, such as “D” have an elongated oval look.
This font works well for art galleries and modern businesses. Give your project a unique edge. The text is a bit harder to read, so limit the use of this font to logos and headings.
This beautiful decorative font is free for personal use. Hugo Beyts designed Bright Young Things as a nod to youth, movement and fun. Note the ligatures creating the look of movement within the letters.
The accents vary from swoops to arrows to straight lines. The font looks like doodles in an artistic teen’s notebook. This typeface is best for headlines and logos, as it may become unreadable in tiny sizes.
10. Natural Mono
Although Natural Mono has a similar look to other serif fonts, there are some unique points about this particular free font you’ll appreciate. Daymarious is the designer of Natural Mono. The font is licensed under the SIL Open Font License, allowing people to collaborate and use the font for almost any purpose.
The font is based on Noto Mono and offers alternative versions of the letter I in both upper and lowercase alternatives. It has full language support. Because it is more uniform than some of the other choices for free fonts, you can use Natural Mono for headings or body paragraphs.
Find More Free Fonts
In the past, seeking out free fonts hasn’t always been productive. Some of them are a bit lacking in options. However, the options above should give you some truly stand-out choices for your website’s logos and headlines. Most font repositories offer filtering options to find free listings. The key is paying attention to the personality of the typeface and selecting one perfect for your project.
About The Author
Eleanor Hecks in the Editor-in-Chief of Designerly Magazine, an online publication dedicated to providing in-depth content from the design and marketing industries. When she's not designing or writing code, you can find her re-reading the Harry Potter series, burning calories at a local Zumba class, or hanging out with her dog, Bear.