Every designer has their own preferred set of go-to fonts, a dependable set of serifs and sans-serifs that'll cover most eventualities. But every now and then you find yourself in need of something a little out of the ordinary, a really weird but eye-catching font that you can use sparingly to grab people's attention.
When you're in need of a weird font, you're not always sure exactly what you're looking for; it's the sort of thing that you'll only recognise when you see it. So to help you out, we've gathered together 10 of our favourite weird and unusual fonts for you to download for free today (see more of our favourite free fonts here). All of them are free to use for personal work, and some of them can be used commercially too. And if you want liven things up, check out our pick of the best fun fonts around.
01. Blue Rabbit
We're not entirely sure what it has to do with rabbits, but you can definitely make it appear in blue – or any other colour you like. Blue Rabbit is an excellently circular and elegant typeface that's an intriguing mix of upper and lower-case characters, and guaranteed to catch the eye. It's the work of Willian Santos, and it's free for both personal and commercial use.
02. Pop of the Tops
This hand-drawn and beautifully scratchy take on Cooper Black is the perfect way to give your work a bit of retro cool. Pop of the Tops takes its name the 'Top of the Pops' compilation albums of the 1970s, a very of-its-time series consisting of anonymous cover versions of hit songs. Find one in a middle-aged relative's record collection and you'll see the Cooper Black title (plus a very 1970s cover model). It's free for personal use; contact its creator about commercial usage.
03. Psychedelic Caps
If your retro tastes go further back than the 1970s, Psychedelic Caps is a fab and groovy all-caps font that perfectly captures the spirit of the swinging '60s. Created by Jorge Morón, it's free for personal use and goes perfectly with wild colour schemes. For an added psychedelic feel, we'd advise warping it along a curved path to really bring out its weird proportions.
04. Bad Signal
Bringing things a bit more up to date, here's a bold and brash font with just enough glitch to make people notice. Bad Signal features random lines of distortion streaking through its all-caps characters, giving your text the appearance of a fax sent over a really noisy phone line, hence the name. It's the work of Woodcutter Manero from Spain, and it's free for personal use only.
05. Simple Myopia
Another beautifully distorted font from Woodcutter Manero, Simple Myopia simulates the effect of short-sightedness not by blurring its text, but by scattering the pixels around the letterforms. It's a clever and striking effect that would work well as a headline font or on posters. Simple Myopia comes with both caps and lower case characters, plus symbols and a few accented characters, and it's free for personal use.
06. Smile and Wave
For the most part, Smile and Wave looks like a fairly ordinary all-caps sans serif headline font with a bit of weathering for effect; it's only when you check out the weird and triangular styling on the A, K, M and W that you'll notice its attention-grabbing qualities. If you need a display font that makes people look twice, this is a perfect candidate. It's the work of Chris Vile and it's free for personal use; a commercial licence will cost you $39.
07. Through the Black
If you need your text to give viewers an uneasy feeling, Through the Black by KineticPlasma fonts would be a great way to do just that. Its weirdly-warped characters are far from easy on the eye, delivering an effect a little like looking at a ransom note made from cut-out newspaper text; it's an effect that you'll want to use sparingly on just the right call to action or similar. For all its weirdness, Through the Black is great value – its free for personal and commercial use under the SIL Open Font Licence, and it comes in a whole load of weights.
08. Rebimboca Outline
The original Rebimboca is a beautiful and peculiar deco font by Brazilian designer and typographer Paulo W, with some wonderfully ornate touches; you can buy it here from £11.99. Rebimboca Outline is one of a number of free variants, with all the original's strange charm, but in an outline version that looks almost as good. It's free for personal use, but you can use it for commercial purposes in return for a donation.
If you enjoyed the skewed optics of Woodcutter Manero's Simple Myopia, here's a similar take on a myopic view of the world, this time from designer Larry Yerkes who works under the name WolfBainX. VTC-BadVision is an all-caps font that achieves its effect by distorting its text in a way that simulates the look of double vision; from a distance it looks blurred, but up close it's broken-up and scratchy. It's free for personal use only.
To finish off here's Aberforth, a clean and simple font from Brittany Murphy with a decidedly striking look. Its caps characters are perfectly fine-looking bold sans-serifs, but it's the lower case set that's where the fun lies: it's a mixture of upper and lower case characters that'll give your text an adorably quirky feel. Aberforth is free for personal use; prices for a commercial licence start at just $8.00.