Once you get stuck into a serious font collection it's almost impossible to stop adding things to it. Not only are there all the classic fonts that every designer ought to own, there's also an ever-growing selection of free fonts (opens in new tab) available online, all clamouring for your attention.
There's so much to choose from, though, that it can be hard to pick out the best ones and avoid the dross. So to help you out, we've looked around and found 10 of the best free sans serif fonts released this year; whether you want a sensible all-rounder or something quirkier with a bit of visual flair, there's certain to be something here to give your font library a welcome boost.
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01. Red Hat
The name might not mean much to you if you're not into Linux and open source, but Red Hat is big enough to have recently brought in Pentagram's Paula Scher to redesign its branding, and part of this process has been a Red Hat type family (opens in new tab). Designed by Jeremy Mickel (opens in new tab), it's a fresh take on a geometric sans and inspired by American sans serifs such as Highway Gothic and Tempo. It comes in two optical sizes and in a range of weights, including italics, and the entire family is available to use under the SIL Open Font Licence.
A highly visible sans serif designed by Annunziato Mazzaferro, Mattone (opens in new tab) is a wonderfully wide and curvy font with sharp, straight-cut endings, and is built to fit beautifully with bold graphics. It'll also work as an attention-grabbing display font or a stand-out paragraph font.
The result of a two-year project by France's Centre Technique Régional pour la Déficience Visuelle and typographies.fr (opens in new tab), Luciole (opens in new tab) has been designed to be easy for people with impaired vision to read. It features strong, heavyweight characters and extra-bold punctuation, accents and mathematical symbols, and it comes in four weights: regular, bold, italic and bold italic. All of them are available under a Creative Commons licence.
04. Public Sans
Created as part of the United States Web Design System, Public Sans (opens in new tab) is a free and open source webfont designed with interfaces, text and headings in mind. It's based on Libre Franklin and is a strong, neutral font with a broad range of weights and as few quirks as possible. If it's a no-nonsense sans that you're after, you can't go far wrong here.
On the other hand, if you're after something a little more sophisticated then allow us to direct you towards Sophia (opens in new tab), a free sans serif from Goicha (opens in new tab) for personal use only. Its gloriously thick stems and thin hairlines give it a lovely retro feel, and it has some excellent little quirky touches that really draw the eye. If you like what you see, you might want to check out Goicha's bundle of 17 fonts for just $48 (opens in new tab).
06. Köhne Makina
Another pleasingly quirky font, this time from Krafti Lab (opens in new tab). Köhne Makina (opens in new tab) is a tall vector all-caps font with lovely rounded ends with an urgent but friendly feel to it, and it's free for personal and commercial use. If you want something a bit grungier it's also available from Krafti Lab in a textured version. And the name? Apparently Köhne means old, worn or outdated in Turkish and Persian.
07. Aire Exterior
One for fans of terrible cult sci-fi, Aire Exterior (opens in new tab) is a public domain geometric sans serif that's based on the title screen of Ed Wood's infamously bad 1959 classic, Plan 9 from Outer Space. Despite its truly awful heritage, the font itself is quite a looker; we'd advise grabbing the font but not bothering to check out its inspiration.
08. Ferghaus Sans
Described as a modern sans with a twist, Ferghaus (opens in new tab) is a versatile font with plenty of OpenType features such as alternate characters, ligatures and swashes, and is suitable for everything from classic-style designs or more modern creations. This free demo version only contains the standard characters, but it's more than enough to give you a feel for Ferghaus' capabilities.
09. Gorgeous Grafix
Looking for a sans serif that's a little bit futuristic? Darrell Flood (opens in new tab)'s Gorgeous Grafix (opens in new tab) could be just the thing; we reckon it has a bit of a Star Wars feel to it, with thick, sharp strokes really stand out on the page. It's free for personal use, but Darrell adds that he appreciates donations.
A modern header font designed by Daler Mukhiddinov (opens in new tab), Goodlight (opens in new tab) is a sans serif that's apparently inspired by walking home at night; we'll take Daler's word for that. It's a splendidly clean-looking font that comes in normal and light flavours, and it's free to use in commercial projects under the SIL Open Font Licence.
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