77 best free fonts for designers

We're constantly on the lookout for the best fonts the web has to offer designers, and as we know from our searches, there are a lot of fonts out there, of varying degrees of quality. There's recently been some good news for those who want to try a font before they buy, as FontSmith has announced that you can now trial its fonts before you buy them. 

But what if you have a budget of zero and only the best free fonts will do? Well you're in luck, as we've rounded up all of our favourite free fonts in one place so that you can find the one you're looking for much more easily.

To make it easier for you to find the perfect font for your design work or project, we've split our collection into eight categories:

  • Serif fonts – often found in projects involving lengthy text, such as books, newspapers and magazines.
  • Sans serif fonts – commonly used for shorter text settings, such as captions and credits. Sans serifs are also a good choice for an audience of young children or anyone learning to read.
  • Handwriting fonts and brush fonts – for any project you want to give an authentic handwritten feel to. Perfect for invitations and cards.
  • Retro and vintage fonts – the perfect choice of typeface for transporting your designs back in time. These fonts also work really well in sci-fi-themed artwork. 
  • Tattoo fonts – in need of some new ink? Use these brilliant free fonts to complete your tattoo designs.
  • Graffiti fonts – perfect for adding an urban, gritty edge to any artwork.
  • Unusual fonts – because some free fonts just don't fall into any other category.

At the time of writing, the typeface collections listed here can be used in your projects for free, but please be sure to check the terms. Read on for our pick of the best free fonts, which you can download and use today. 

Serif fonts

01. Coldiac

Coldiac free font

There's more than a touch of luxury to this free font

For a luxurious serif font, look no further than new font Coldiac. It works well for a small amount of body text, or for headlines, print ads and other marketing materials. What makes Coldiac stand out is "the relatively low contrast of strokes, the slightly squarish shapes of round characters and the emphasised businesslike nature," according to its creators on Behance. A commercial version of the font – which includes multilingual characters and illustrations is also available for $15.

02. Kilauea

Kilauea free font

There's an almost Christmassy feel to this font that makes it hard to ignore

  • Free for personal projects (email the author if you have questions)
  • DOWNLOAD HERE

This free serif font is the work of Germán Di Ciccio. This all-caps font is best used for headlines and would work well on posters. We love the detail within the letters that gives the font an almost 3D effect.

03. Blacker

Blacker free font

Blacker is not your average serif font

Blacker is not your average serif font. And that's why we love it. A twist on a classic design, Blacker is a wedge serif font family, created by Cosimo Lorenzo Pancini and Andrea Tartarelli. The designers' Behance page states Blacker is a "take on the contemporary 'evil serif' genre: typefaces with high contrast, 1970s-evoking proportions and sharp wedge serifs".

Blacker is available in six weights, from light to heavy, with matching italics. Prices for Blacker start from $25, however you can currently get Blacker Text Light and Blacker Display Medium Italic completely free. 

04. Poly

Best free fonts: Poly

Poly is legible on the web even at smaller sizes

Poly is a medium contrast serif font for web use. It was designed by Nicolás Silva to give increased legibility than other web serifs even at smaller point sizes. It achieves this with a vertical emphasis, utilising short ascenders and a very high x-height to ensure clarity.

05. Bitter 

Best free fonts: Bitter

This serif font is designed to work well on screens

Sans-serif fonts tend to work better for screen use, but this free slab serif typeface has been specially designed to provide a comfortable reading experience on screens. Bitter was designed by Sol Matas, and is available through Argentinian type collaborative Huerta Tipográfica. It combines generous x-heights with minimal variation in stroke weight. 

06. Barbaro

Barbaro free font

We love the distressed detailing on this font

Barbaro is a free font created Iván Nuñez that comes in two styles: Barbaro Roman and Barbaro Western. Nuñez is from the Dominican Republic, where the word 'barbaro' has a range of meanings from 'super' or 'fantastic' to 'crazy' or 'imprudent' (we reckon this font is in line with the first two). Barbaro would look great on a poster or as part of a menu or signage and is available for use in your personal projects.

07. Playfair Display

Best free fonts: Playfair display

This free font family is an open source project

This free serif display font takes inspiration from the late 18th century European Enlightenment and the work of type designer John Baskerville. The high-contract letterforms have delicate hairlines, relating to the rise in popularity of pointed steel pens, which took over from the previous broad nib quills during this period.

The typeface design is a project led designed by Dutch designer Claus Eggers Sørensen. It's development is open source, and can be found on GitHub here

08. Lora

Best free fonts: Lora

Brushed curves contrast with driving serifs in this free font

Lora is a free font that has its roots in calligraphy. It was originally designed for type foundry Cyreal in 2011, with a Cyrillic extension added in 2013, and comes in four styles: regular, bold, italic, and bold italic. 

Brushed curves contrast with driving serifs to give this free font a well-balanced, contemporary feel. Although Lora is technically optimised for use on the web, it also works well in print projects.

09. Butler

Image 1 of 2

Free font Butler brings a sense of modernism to the serif

Free font Butler brings a sense of modernism to the serif
Image 2 of 2

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.”

10. Arvo

Best free fonts: Arvo

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. 

11. Crimson Text

Best free fonts: Crimson text

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 in 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."

12. Aleo

Best free fonts: Aleo

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.

13. Neuton

Best free fonts: Neuton

Neuton's clean design works well for formal documents

Neuton is a fuss-free font with a large height and short extenders. Its compact width means it works well on screens. The designer, Brian Zick, compares his font to Times New Roman, stating that it can be useful for formal or work documents, and is particularly good for italics.

14. Brela

Best free fonts: Brela

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.

15. Libre Baskerville

Best free fonts: Libre Baskerville

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 in 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.

16. Jura

Best free fonts: Jura

Pay what you want 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 font was created by UK-based designer Ed Merritt and is 'pay what you feel is fair', so donations are welcome.

17. Slabo

Best free fonts: Slabo

A modern serif font tuned to pixel perfection

Slabo was designed by John Hudson, co-founder of Tiro Typeworks foundry. Slabo is a growing collection of size-specific web fonts, with Slabo 27px and Slabo 13px out so far, fine-tuned precisely for use at those specific pixel sizes. The blocky feel of its ligatures give a modern twist to the serif font, perfect for online designs.

18. Bree Serif

Best free fonts: Bree serif

We love the single-story rounded a in Bree Serif

Created by indie type foundry TypeTogether, Bree Serif is the free serif cousin of the paid-for font family, Bree. Described as a "friendly upright italic", Bree Serif is modern and has an easy-to-read face when used at larger point sizes. Its rounded 'a' with a single counter is a nice touch, too.

19. Merriweather

Best free fonts: Merriweather

Merriweather is featured in more than 3,000,000 websites, according to Google Fonts

A truly open source free serif font, Merriweather has its own project on GitHub. It was designed by Sorkin Type to be easy to read on screens, particularly. "It features a very large x-height, slightly condensed letterforms, a mild diagonal stress, sturdy serifs and open forms," it says.

Next page: Free sans-serif fonts