A futuristic look is the perfect way to give your work a more optimistic feel, and the right typography ought to seal the deal. Nobody knows exactly what the future's going to look like, so there are plenty of options for conveying a futuristic feel typographically.
You don't need to go full science fiction; you just need to stand out from current typographic trends. With the right treatment, even some retro fonts can be made to feel futuristic.
To make things easier for you, we've found ten of the best free futuristic fonts available to download right now. They're all good for personal use, and many of them can also be used in commercial projects.
Designed by Gold Graphic, Galaxy is a free futuristic font with a space-age feel. Reminiscent of Helvetica Rounded Black, its characters have little slices taken out of them, with the edges of the resulting gaps rounded off, giving the font a beautifully soft look. Recommended for use as a headline font, it's free for both personal and commercial use.
Atlantico is a pack of two free futuristic fonts designed by Manh Nguyen. Inspired, says Nguyen, by the harmonic combination of the beauty of the Atlantic and of chemicals, these minimal geometric sans serifs use the fewest possible strokes to execute their letterforms. The all-caps family comprises a squared font and a version with rounded corners; they're free for personal use only.
03. Polar Vertex
Designer Katherine Howard describes Polar Vertex as a display typeface that inspires dreamers and free thinkers. This delightfully futuristic free font is packed with nautical, celestial, and geometric details, and works best as a display font as these details get lost as the size decreases. Polar Vertex is free for personal use.
04. Monument Extended
If you like a bit of width to your fonts, Monument Extended ought to do the trick. This gloriously wide sans serif typeface is the work of Mathieu Desjardins at Pangram Pangram, and comes in five weights covering everything from ultra-light through to ultra-bold. Monument Extended is free for personal use; if you want to use if commercially, licences are available starting at $30.
Each letter of Architectural, a free futuristic font designed by Igor Sepanchenko, is constructed as a unique building. We think that's over-stating things a little; its characters definitely have a skyscraper-like feel to them, but you'd never actually mistake them for buildings. Architectural's characters are stratospherically tall, with just a hint of an art deco look, and they're free for both personal and commercial use.
06. G Display
For a futuristic font with a decidedly offbeat, quirky feel to it, take a look at G Display. This peculiar-looking font is made up of straight lines with rounded-off angles, resulting in some slightly weird characters such as the 'R' and 'B', but the overall effect is strangely pleasing and it should work well as a display font. Designed by Timur Zima, G Display's free for personal and commercial use.
A three-weight (light, regular and bold) typeface designed by Gregory Ortiz, Aquire has some lovely touches to it, such as the sharp point on the bowl of the 'R' and the minimal tail on the 'Q'. This futuristic all-caps typeface is described as being great for headlines, logos and branding projects that use high-tech visuals and design schemes; it's free for commercial use, and a commercial licence is coming soon.
Sometimes the best way to get a futuristic look is simply to delve into the past. Manifesto, designed by Tomas Leskovec, feels remarkably futuristic but in fact it's inspired by the Italian rationalist movement of the early 20th century. As with Architectural, there are echoes of art deco to this one, but with much more room to breathe. Manifesto is free for personal and commercial use.
09. Pexel Grotesk
Marcello Raffo's Pexel Grotesk is a peculiar and striking combination of pixel font and grotesque type that'll definitely grab people's attention. Its characters are constructed in a pixel font style – but with some unusual pixel placement going on – with rounded edges, while the letter dimensions and proportions are inspired by grotesques. The result is an outlandish and futuristic font that looks best at larger sizes that accentuate the curves; it's free for personal use, while a commercial licence will cost you €20.
Finally, here's another futuristic font with a definite sci-fi feel. Pulsar is an all-caps display font designed by Qaes Al-atoom, and there are unmistakable echoes of the original Star Trek logo to it – just look at the upward sweep of the crossbar on the 'A', for example. Less angular than the Star Trek font, it also features some gentle curves that make it feel softer and friendlier. Pulsar is free for both personal and commercial use.