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82 best free fonts for designers

Best free fonts
(Image credit: Andrew Herndon)

The best free fonts include some truly brilliant designs, which isn't always true of free fonts in general. But if you have the motivation to search for them, excellent examples do exist. This takes time and effort, which you could be spending on other less laborious (and, let's face it, more creative) tasks so we've done the work for you and collated this extensive list.

Any of the fonts in this roundup can be downloaded immediately, without parting with a single penny (but bear in mind you might need to provide your email address). And to make it even easier for you, we've divided the fonts into eight clear categories:

  • Free serif fonts – often used when you have lots of text, such as editorial pages in books, newspapers and magazines.
  • Free sans serif fonts – commonly used for shorter bursts of text, such as captions and credits, children's books, app and website microcopy, logo design and more.
  • Free handwriting fonts – specifically designed to add an authentic and/or old-fashioned feel when designing things like invitations or cards.
  • Free retro and vintage fonts – a quick and easy way to summon up feelings of the past and nostaglia in your designs. 
  • Free brush fonts – fonts that allow you to add the handcrafted feel of paintbrush-style lettering, for example, to your invitations or greeting cards.
  • Free tattoo fonts – use these fonts to emulate a tattoo design, or simply summon the spirit of the wild and rebellious.
  • Free graffiti fonts – add an urban, gritty edge to any project with these street art-style fonts.
  • Free unusual fonts – some free fonts defy categorisation, and we've gathered some of the best and most original here.

A word of warning: while many of the fonts here are available for both personal and commercial use, some of them are free for personal use only. So you don't accidentally infringe a fellow designer's copyright, we've spelled out which are free and which need a license (at time of publication). Of course, permissions are subject to change over time so make sure you check the terms of use when you get through to the actual download site. Not sure how to use your font once you've got it? Check out our post on how to add fonts in Photoshop.

If you're yearning for further typographic inspiration, head to our fun font post, our list of medieval Old English fonts, our great collection of free retro fonts or free script fonts, and our selection of font design tips so you can create your own. Elsewhere on Creative Bloq, you'll find advice on which typefaces work together well in our guide to font pairings, and understand how to use font terminology accurately in our explanation of font vs typeface.

The best free fonts: Serif fonts

01. Cormorant

Best free fonts: Photo of cormorant

Add a touch of class to your design with this most elegant of free fonts (Image credit: Catharsis Fonts)

Developed by Christian Thalmann of Catharsis Fonts, Cormorant is one of the most elegantly formal of free fonts. It’s inspired by the 16th-century typefaces of Claude Garamont, but it’s by no means derivative. Indeed, most glyphs have been drawn from scratch, and strike a lovely balance between formality and expressiveness. This open source display font comprises 45 font files spanning nine visual styles and five weights.

02. Alegreya

Best free fonts: Alegreya

Alegreya is one of the best fonts for long text passages (Image credit: Juan Pablo del Peral )

Free fonts created for specific purposes are generally thin on the ground, but here's a great exception. Alegreya is an award-winning typeface by Argentinian designer Juan Pablo del Peral crafted with book design in mind. With a dynamic and varied rhythm aimed at facilitating the reading of long texts, it provides a fresh and approachable take on the calligraphic style.

03. Restora

Best free fonts: Sample of Restora

Restora is one of the best free fonts for bringing your editorial designs to life (Image credit: Nasir Udin)

In our experience, the best free fonts take a classic style and give it a twist, and here’s a great example. Designed by Nasir Udin, Restora offers a masterful combination of bright and friendly letterforms and old-style embellishment. This versatile font is suitable for book covers, editorial text, branding and more. 

04. Emberly

Best free fonts: Sample of Emberly

Emberly is ideally suited to fashion-related design projects (Image credit: Rajesh Rajput)

Another of those free fonts that feels both modern and classic, Emberly is a display font inspired by the Didone style. Created by Rajesh Rajput, it’s also available as a variable font, and would be a great option for a wide range of design projects, including logos, headlines, magazine covers and posters. 

05. Rude

Best free fonts: Sample of Rude

Rude is one of the most beautiful free fonts we've seen in a long while (Image credit: Masha Chuprova)

The best fonts feel both familiar and original, and this beautifully handcrafted serif ticks both those boxes. Created by Masha Chuprova, Rude is ideal for logos, titles, magazines, headlines, apparel, posters and more. 

06. Grenze

Best free fonts: Sample of Grenze

Grenze is as punchy as it is readable (Image credit: Renata Polastri/Omnibus-Type)

Inspired by Roman and blackletter font styles, Grenze offers serious visual punch without sacrificing readability. It was created by Renata Polastri and Omnibus-Type as a font for magazines, but would work for a far wider range of design uses too.

07. Libertinus Serif

Best free fonts: Sample of Libertinus

Libertinus is one of those classic-looking free fonts that can really lift your projects (Image credit: Font Squirrel)

Looking for free fonts that can help add a touch of class to your project? Libertinus is a classic-looking serif that comes in 14 styles. It’s a fork of the Linux Libertine and Linux Biolinum fonts that address some of the bugs in those designs and has been published under the SIL Open Font Licence.

08. Free Saint George Stencil Font

Best free fonts: Sample of Free Saint George stencil font

Free fonts needn’t be boring! Check out this fun and playful serif based on Georgia (Image credit: Vedran Vaskovic)

Free Saint George Stencil Font is an experimental font by Vedran Vaskovic inspired by the Christian story of Saint George, and based on the classic font Georgia. It’s one of the best fonts for adding a sense of playful fun to your designs, thanks to its wild and playful stencil shapes. 

09. Colus

Best free fonts: Sample of Colus

Colous is one of the best free fonts around for headlines (Image credit: Stan Partalev on Font Fabric)

Colus is a free display font inspired by stone and wooden carved letter inscriptions. It has a classical, almost noble appearance and is great for creating imposing headlines, adding a touch of class to logos and introducing sophistication to poster designs. 

10. Amagro

Best free fonts: Sample of Amagra

Is your search for free fonts focused on all-caps serifs? Then check out Amagra (Image credit: Fabio Servolo)

Amagro is an all caps serif typeface brought to the design community by Fabio Servolo. It has strong angular serifs that make it perfect for imposing newspaper style headlines. A classy ampersand and neat easy-to-read numerics also mean it's ideal for getting your designs noticed. 

11. Poly

Best free fonts: Sample of Poly

Poly is legible on the web even at smaller sizes (Image credit: Nicolás Silva)

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.

12. Bitter 

Best free fonts: Sample of Bitter

This serif font is designed to work well on screens (Image credit: Huerta Tipográfica)

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. 

13. Playfair Display

Best free fonts: Sample of Playfair

This free font family is an open source project  (Image credit: Claus Eggers Sørensen/Font Squirrel)

Designed by Claus Eggers Sørensen. this free display font takes inspiration from the 18th century Enlightenment and the work of John Baskerville. Its high-contract letterforms have delicate hairlines, relating to the rise of pointed steel pens, which took over from broad nib quills during this period. 

14. Lora

Best free fonts: Sample of Lora

Brushed curves contrast with driving serifs in this free font (Image credit: Cyreal/Font Squirrel)

Lora was originally designed for type foundry Cyreal in 2011, with a Cyrillic extension added in 2013, and comes in four styles. Brushed curves contrast with driving serifs for a well-balanced, contemporary feel. Although technically optimised for use on the web, it's one of the best fonts for print projects too.

15. 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
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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.He suggests it would work well for “posters, very big titles, books and fancy stuff”.

16. Crimson Text

Best free fonts: Sample of Crimson

Crimson Text is a free font family inspired by old-time book typefaces  (Image credit: Sebastian Kosch)

Not many free fonts are created specifically for book production, but here's a great one, 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 a 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."

17. Aleo

Best free fonts: Sample of Aleo

Aleo is one of those rare free fonts that manages to perfectly balance personality with legibility (Image credit: Graphic Pear)

Aleo has semi-rounded details and a sleek structure, giving a sense of personality while maintaining a good level of legibility. This family of free fonts was designed by Alessio Laiso, a designer at IBM Dublin, as the slab serif companion to Lato.

18. Libre Baskerville

Best free fonts: Sample of Libre Baskerville

Free font Libre Baskerville is optimised for reading body text on screen  (Image credit: Impallari Type)

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.

"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.

19. Slabo

Best free fonts: Sample of Slabo

A modern serif font tuned to pixel perfection (Image credit: Google Fonts)

Designed by John Hudson, Slabo is a growing collection of size-specific free fonts for the web, fine-tuned precisely for use at those specific pixel sizes. The blocky feel of its ligatures give a modern twist to the serif font, making Slabo perfect for online designs.

20. Merriweather

Best free fonts: Sample of Merriweather

Merriweather is featured on more than 3,000,000 websites, according to Google Fonts (Image credit: 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. It features a very large x-height, slightly condensed letterforms, a mild diagonal stress, sturdy serifs and open forms.

Next page: Free sans-serif fonts

Tom May
Tom May is a freelance writer and editor specialising in art, design and travel. He has been editor of Professional Photography magazine, associate editor at Creative Bloq, and deputy editor at net magazine. He has also worked for a wide range of mainstream titles including The Sun, Radio Times, NME, Heat, Company and Bella.