An online digital signature has a different look and feel than a handwritten signature. Signature fonts mean either a font that looks like a handwritten font in cursive or a font you use as a signature, such as at the bottom of an email. Signature fonts are the future of personalized fonts, and there are dozens upon dozens from which to choose.
Parliament passed a State of Frauds act in 1677 that stated contracts had to be signed and thus began the practice of the signature. Historically, a person’s written name was a means of identifying that person and seen as a highly personal piece of handwriting. In the digital age, a signature isn’t always as personal as it once was, yet the font you use for your signature should still have your own personal flair and represent your brand personality.
Signature fonts can be a script font that looks like handwritten cursive or a decorative font with additional flair and an artistic feel. Here are 16 of the best free and paid signature fonts currently available.
Jump to: Canvas Script | BlackJack | Pistoletto | Mission Script | Lento | Beautiful Bloom | Arty Signature | Countryside | Soul and Heaven | October Twilight | Prestige | Billie Harley | Ambarella | Eat Your Vegetables | Madeleine | Thirsty Rough | Cassandra | May Queen | Boss Signature | Nathalie | Mightype | Harris Sginature | Queenstown 2 | Lovers Quarrel
Canvas Script combines the look of a handwritten font with the artistic elements of a decorative font. The font comes with a free full commercial use license and features thick black lettering with splats and splashes of red and blue paint behind the letters. The font offers the ability to scale and rotate the splats for a truly custom look. This font would work well as the signature of someone who paints for a living.
This script font features thick, brushed letters. The letters are tall and flowing with elements where the letters appear thicker and then thinner at the curves, much like handwriting. The font is free for personal and commercial use, but the creator does ask that you drop a line if you use the font in a commercial project as a courtesy.
Pilstoletto offers more of handwritten graffiti look and is perfect for a casual, fun signature. If you create products for youth or are trying to reach the younger generation, this font shows your brand as fun and cutting edge. The font is free for both commercial and personal use. Basic letters are free, but if you want an expanded selection, there is also a paid version of Pistoletto for $19, but the site often offers a 30 percent discount or more, taking the price closer to $13.
Mission Script is a very formal cursive font that works well for branding where you want to appear serious and traditional, such as if you run a financial institution and send out emails to your customers about policy changes. The basic font is free for personal use, but then the price varies on a sliding scale for commercial use. For a one person to five people commercial license, you’ll pay $40. If you want more people than that to utilize the font, you’ll have to pay more based on their scale.
Lento is a light and airy script font that works well for casual personal signatures. The font is PUA-encoded with additional glyphs and symbols, and commercial use is allowed with the premium license. The letters are tall, light, thin with swoops and little additional embellishment.
Beautiful Bloom is a hand-lettered signature font created by Mats-Peter Fross. A fancy font is a good way to show your artistic side if you’re a photography or designer. The personal font is free, but they require a license for commercial use, which runs $14.
Arty Signature font features capital letters that are much longer than the footprint of the lowercase letters. This handwritten font is flowing and features the look of handwriting without the cursive elements that may be difficult for the youngest generation to read. The font is free to use both personally and commercially, but the creator does ask you to consider donating if using for commercial purposes. This font works well for someone working with children who needs a simple but fun signature line.
Countryside is a script font created by Billy Argel. The script is free for personal use but starts at $39 for commercial use, such as in a signature line. The script font has the appearance of handwritten cursive and works well on T-shirts to announce portfolios or for signatures of those who offer any type of creative service.
Soul and Heaven is free for both personal and commercial use. It works perfectly for signatures on save the date type invites or could serve as a light and airy signature for a wedding planner or photographer. If you’re looking for a signature that is elegant and traditional looking, then Soul and Heaven is a good place to start.
10. October Twilight
October Twilight is the perfect font to use for signing news of events or using in your signature line when you want to add a lot of flourish. It’s a heavy, script font perfect for use year-round. The font is free to use for personal signatures, but commercial endeavors require a reasonable $8 license, which is good for a single user. Multiple use licenses are also available.
The Prestige font is a script and serif font with a flowing signature script and a mix of thick, heavy letters mixed with thin, flowing letters that look like a fancy signature. This font is well-suited for almost any type of formal business. The standard license is $13, which allows for commercial use.
12. Billie Harley
Billie Harley is a unique looking font. The letters are tall and thin but have peaks and valleys that almost look like a readout from a heart monitor. Because of the beat of the signature, Billie Harley would be the perfect signature font for a doctor or any type of medical professional. The font is free for both commercial and personal use and can be used for stationary, invitations, etc.
Ambarella is a handwritten font with tones of modern calligraphy. The letters feature swooshes and serifs that give it a very fancy look. It would work well with businesses such as people in the fashion industry and artists. The font is free for both personal and commercial use.
Eat Your Vegetables is a curly serif font that works well for children’s industry businesses, such as clothing stores, daycares and products targeted at youth. The font comes with uppercase, lowercase, numbers, symbols and international characters. The free version also comes with a premium license and is free for both personal and commercial use.
Madeleine is one of the most interesting modern signature fonts in that the design allows for a different height and width on each letter. It looks much closer to actual handwriting than many other digital fonts. A standard license runs $17, and the font is useful anywhere you’d like to add your name in what looks like actual handwriting.
16. Thirsty Rough
If you’re looking for something that has a vintage look, Thirsty Rough features the look of hand-pressed lettering. Some elements of the letters are brighter, and others faded as though the signature is hand stamped and parts faded away over time. The font also comes with matching texture pieces, so you can play around with your signature and give it an authentic look. The price starts at $49 for one user on a desktop and goes up depending upon the use. If you want to use it on your website, for example, and get 500,000 page views a month, the cost is $73.50.
If you need a signature font with a youthful flourish, Cassandra offers the right mix of signature and calligraphic elements. The style is cursive and strokes are bold and strong without any noticeable serifs but plenty of loops and swirls. You can add embellishments to the beginning or end of the signature line. This font would work well for a formal invitation or in a logo. The font is free to use for personal projects, but you’ll need to contact the designer for commercial licensing. You can purchase a license and complete set from designer Billy Argel from $39.
18. May Queen
This font looks like the penmanship of a beginning cursive writer. Note how the edges of the letters are a bit jagged and the swoops are not smooth as you might see for a more experienced writer. This font would work great as the logo for a daycare center or on a flyer about an event for kids. The font works best when you use it in a block of text and set the kerning options to align. The font is completely free for both personal and commercial use.
19. Boss Signature
Are you looking for a signature font to put at the end of documents and have an official look? The Boss Signature font looks like a bold signature from the leader of a company. Note how some letters look almost to be in print while others have a distinct cursive quality. Some of the capital letters have a calligraphy feel, such as the B and the P. The style is very distinctive, which makes it look like real handwriting. The font has a modern feel to it and would work for an invitation, logo or as a watermark.
Another modern signature font, Nathalie, looks like the signature of someone who prefers print letters to cursive. Note the tall thin appearance of the letters and the subtle attachment of letters with other letters standing apart. The baseline of the font moves up and down, depending upon letter placement. This font would look interesting on a poster or billboard, for example. You could also use it on a business card as a stand-alone name/logo. The font comes with international language and symbols as well as punctuation.
Looking for something to use on a flyer about a local gardening club event? Perhaps your website needs a fresh, green feel? Mightype is a unique signature font and the flourishes added to some letters look almost like vines branching out from the edges. The script itself is bold and with a hand-drawn look appearing like someone used ink or a marker to create the letters.
If you want to invite clients to a backyard tea to introduce the latest product line, an invitation created with this font is perfect. If you are a landscape designer, this font would work well in a logo or an ad.
22. Harris Signature
Harris Signature has an elegant feel to it. You might see this type of font used in the signature of a fashion designer or a high-end auction house. The font works well in logos, website headings or even for invitations. The design has a handcrafted look and would also work well with stationery to create quotes for memes on social media and more. The license starts at $10 and allows you to use the font for commercial projects for yourself or a client.
23. Queenstown 2
If you’re looking for something truly unique and artistic, the Queenstown 2 font is quite different. The font combines a serif font and a signature superimposed over one another for a vintage look. The type is a set of two fonts that give the signature some flourish. There are more than 45 ligatures possible and each word ends with a swash. With the serif, you can access numbers, punctuation, alternates and different languages. With the signature, you gain OpenType capabilities and ligature ending swashes. The license gives you access for personal or commercial use. You can’t resell the font, but you can use it for clients.
24. Lovers Quarrel
This free for both personal and commercial use font has a playful feel perfect for weddings, invitations, calligraphy or decorations of any type. The font might look good on a sign for a storefront as well. The letters take on an almost three-dimensional look with additional outlines and swashes within the capital letters. Look at the way the letter Q becomes a work of art rather than just another cursive letter. The lowercase letters are simpler but still have a few serifs and features to make them look artistic.
Choosing the Right Signature Font
There are more signature fonts out there than could be covered in a single article. Consider the overall impact you want your signature to have on the reader. Do you want them to walk away thinking of casual fun, regal steadiness or traditional elements? Once you have an idea of the personality of your brand and signature, then narrow down your choices to the signature that works best to represent you on a personal level and as a brand.
About The Author
Eleanor Hecks is 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 dogs, Bear and Lucy.