The web's awash with free script fonts, so you need to sort the wheat from the chaff. We round up the best cursive fonts here.
When it comes to the overabundance of free design resources on the web – especially free fonts – it can be tricky to find the diamonds in the rough. This is especially important if you make your living from design; you don't want to discover after sending artwork to print that the font you chose isn't licensed for commercial use, or is incompatible with the printer's systems.
Cursive fonts, or script fonts, are especially prevalent on the web, as they're often a representation of handwriting (although not always), so with a little knowledge in how to scan and map artwork into font-generating software, it's relatively easy to create a cursive font. The issue is that many people contributing their fonts stop at this point, whereas any type designer would insist that having created the letterforms, the work has only really just begun.
With all of this in mind we've selected a handful of brilliant script fonts. They're all free to use commercially – not just in personal projects. And they all have at least some degree of type-hinting and/or kerning applied by the type designer. (Well, actually our final choice breaks this rule, but as you'll see it's well worth it…)
01. Black Jack
This sophisticated Black Jack type design was created by Ronna Penner of Typadelic. Although only available in one style, Black Jack is made up of 177 characters, including a full set of upper and lower case letters and numbers.
A stylised, yet legible font, Allura is the script format of the Allura Pro family. Designed by Rob Leuschke, Allura is a great option for use on invitations and as a display typeface.
03. Dancing Script
A casual but lively cursive font, Dancing Script was designed by Pablo Impallari. The letters bounce and change slightly and capital letters are big and go below the baseline. Referencing popular scripts from the 50s, Dancing Script is great for creating a friendly, informal look.
One of the best open source script fonts, this was originally designed by Anke Arnold of www.anke-art.de, but has been extended to include international characters by Fontgrube Media Design. It's only available in TrueType, rather than OpenType, but does have a set of over 100 kerning pairs built in, offering an approximation of the benefits of OpenType. And of course, it's free to use commercially.
05. Oleo Script
Designers Soytutype describe Oleo Script as being a flowly yet legible, non-connected script typeface. One of our favourite cursive fonts, it's a great option for use as a display typeface, and is available via Google Webfonts in two different weights: regular and bold, as well as in a 'Swash Caps' variant for both weights.
06. Honey Script
This beautifully whimsical script font was designed by Dieter Steffmann, a trained typesetter turned amateur designer. His work is distributed freely via approved websites as part of his philosophy that fonts are a part of cultural heritage. We love the simple hand-drawn appearance of the lines in this cursive font.
07. Marketing Script
This is another of Dieter Steffmann's fonts, demonstrating his versatility as a type designer. What sets the Marketing Script font apart is its flowing, connected characters which feel perfectly spaced and balanced. Available in three different styles, including a shadow form, this is one of our favourite cursive fonts.
Next page: more great free cursive fonts