50 best free fonts for designers

There are some great free fonts out there. Here are the best of the best.

Free fonts, updated for 2017! As a mature, professional designer, you might think of free fonts as something that only an amateur or penniless student would use. But amongst the thousands of poor quality free fonts out there, there are some real diamonds in the rough. And there’s absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t use them in your designs.

This list represents the 50 best free fonts we've found in a variety of styles. We have many other articles covering specialist font types including handwriting fonts, graffiti fonts, web fonts and more, but we have sectioned our main list under these styles:

  1. Serif fonts (this page)
  2. Sans-serif fonts
  3. Handwriting fonts
  4. Vintage and retro fonts
  5. Brush fonts
  6. Tattoo fonts
  7. Graffiti fonts
  8. Unusual fonts

You can use the drop-down menu at the top of the page to jump to the section you want. 

Most of the typeface collections listed here can be used in your projects, but please be sure to check the terms. Now join us as we present you with 50 of the best free fonts, which you can download and use today.

01. Butler

Free font Butler brings a sense of modernism to the serif

Inspired by both Dala Floda and the Bodoni family, Butler is a free font designed by Fabian De Smet. His aim was to bring a bit of modernism to serif fonts, by working on the curves of classical serif fonts, and adding an extra stencil family.

The Butler family contains 334 characters, seven regular weights and seven stencil weights, and includes text figures, ligatures and fractions. It also suits many different languages with its added glyphs. De Smet suggests it would work well for “posters, very big titles, books and fancy stuff.”

02. Arvo

Free fonts Oranienbaum

A superior geometric slab-serif, Arvo is one of our favourite free fonts

Arvo is a geometric slab-serif font family that’s suitable for both screen and print use. Designed for legibility, it was created by Anton Koovit and published in the Google Font directory as a free open font (OFL). Unlike many slab serifs on Google Fonts, Arvo contains normal, italic, bold and bold italic styles. 

03. Crimson Text

Free fonts Adam

Crimson Text is a free font family inspired by old-time book typefaces

Here’s a free font family created specifically for book production, inspired by old-time, Garamond-esque book typefaces. Crimson Text is the work of German-born, Toronto-based designer Sebastian Kosch, who says he was influenced by the work of Jan Tschichold, Robert Slimbach and Jonathan Hoefler. 

It’s also favourite free font of Taylor Palmer, a senior UX designer based out of Utah, USA. "Crimson is a sophisticated serif that makes a nice alternative to traditional Garamond-esque typefaces,” he says. “It also has a very expressive italic, which pairs nicely with strong, geometric sans-serifs like Futura or Avenir."

04. Aleo

Free fonts Ailerons

Aleo is one of those rare free fonts that manages to balance personality with legibility perfectly

Aleo has semi-rounded details and a sleek structure, giving a sense of personality while maintaining a good level of legibility. This free font family comprises six styles: three weights (light, regular and bold), with corresponding true italics. Released under the SIL Open Font License, it was designed by Alessio Laiso, a designer at IBM Dublin, as the slab serif companion to Lato.

05. Cormorant 

Free fonts Arkhip

Free font Cormorant was inspired by the Garamond greats

Cormorant is a display serif typeface inspired by the Garamond heritage. It was hand-drawn and produced by Christian Thalmann, aka Catharsis Fonts, who describes it as containing “scandalously small counters, razor-sharp serifs, dangerously smooth curves, and flamboyantly tall accents”. The font is best used for headlines and poster text at large sizes, both on screen and in print, but is also highly legible at smaller text sizes.

06. Brela

Free fonts Aventura

Free font Brela works well in editorial designs, both for headlines and body text

Brela is a humanistic serif font designed exclusively for editorial design. With a generous x-height, it’s very legible, even at tiny sizes, yet it works equally well in bold, large headlines. This free font was designed by Spanish creative agency Makarska Studio and comes in regular and bold weights.

07. Libre Baskerville

Free fonts Azedo

Free font Libre Baskerville is optimised for reading body text on screen

Libre Baskerville is a web font optimised for body text (typically 16px). It’s based on the American Type Founder's Baskerville from 1941, but it has a taller x-height, wider counters and a little less contrast, allowing it to work well for reading on screen. This open source project is led by Impallari Type, a type design foundry based in Rosario, Argentina. 

"I like to keep my eye on the Libre fonts, like Libre Baskerville,” enthuses Taylor Palmer, a senior UX designer based out of Utah, USA. He also recommends you check out its sister font, Libre Franklin, which is also free. “Libre Franklin hearkens back to strong, traditional typefaces, like Franklin Gothic, that have the declarative nature of something like a newspaper headline but are simple enough to set as paragraph text," he explains.

08. Jura

Free fonts Bariol

Free font Jura looks good at both large and small sizes

A remarkably elegant font, Jura is characterised by its narrow proportions and distinguishing details, including its rounded, wedge shaped serifs. It looks good at large sizes, but reads well at small ones too. This free font was created by UK-based designer Ed Merritt.

09. Fenix 

Free fonts Baron

Fénix is one of the best free fonts we’ve seen for long passages of small text

Fénix is a calligraphy-inspired font that works well as both display text and body copy. Featuring strong serifs and rough strokes, it provides a lovely rhythm when reading long passages in small text sizes. It’s the work of Fernando Díaz, a designer at Uruguayan foundry TipoType.

10. Luthier

Free fonts Bohema

Luthier is a free font that can be used for both large and small text

Luthier is a contemporary typeface characterised by sharp serifs and high contrast, which comes in two weights plus italics. Good for both headlines and body text, it would suit designs focused on serious, intellectual topics. This free font was created by Barcelona-based designer Adrià Gómez.

Next page: free sans-serif fonts...