13 cool fonts to give your work an edge

What exactly makes something 'cool'? It's difficult to tell for sure: the science of coolness appears to be a highly sensitive balancing act. Try too hard and you look desperate or earnest; but if you're too casual and aloof you can come across as unlikeable.

For fonts, just like people, perhaps the secret to being cool is just to be yourself and show confidence. That's certainly the case with these 10 cool fonts that try something new – and stand out from the crowd in doing so. 

Our graffiti fonts (opens in new tab) list shows off the coolest street art typography has to offer, or for something more refined check out our pick of the best handwriting fonts (opens in new tab).

01. Halfomania (opens in new tab)

Cool fonts: Halfomania

Halfomania would look at home on an album cover
  • Format: OTF, TTF 
  • Price: Free

Futuristic and edgy, Halfomania is the creation of Aser Nasib (opens in new tab). We can imagine the geometric font used on an album cover but it would be an eye-catching choice for any super-modern project. It comes in sans-serif and is totally free for all types of use. 

02. Strip Deco (opens in new tab)

  • Format: OTF, TTF
  • Price: £7.66

Cool fonts: Strip Deco

Art Deco is the epitome of retro cool

Art Deco is the epitome of retro cool. Elegant, bold and totally chic, Strip Deco combines old style glamour with a cool, modern feel. The edge comes from the bold use of lines, making this a bit different from the usual Art Deco font. This font is the brainchild of PutraCetol Studios (opens in new tab) and comes with an alternate glyphs pack that ensures you have everything you need. 

03. Privus Type Family (opens in new tab)

Cool fonts: Privus

Privus is minimal yet complex
  • Format: OTF
  • Price: $18

Privus is inspired by labyrinths and meanders. It's a totally modern, geometric and minimal font that comes in three styles. We love the maze-like feel to the construction of each glyph which apparently took months to perfect by creator Yasin Yalcin (opens in new tab).

04. Oxymora (opens in new tab)

'Quick Brown Fox' written in Oxymora

Get a fresh perspective with this mind-bending font
  • Format: OTF 
  • Price: €15 

Created by Austrian illustrator and lettering artist Birgit Palma (opens in new tab), Oxymora is a mind-bendingly cool font inspired by the impossible shapes of Escher. The font, fittingly, takes its name from the word oxymoron, a figure of speech made up of two or more words that seem to be opposite to one another. Combining two perspectives into one font that remains readable is no easy feat, but Palma pulls it off.

05. TilburgsAns (opens in new tab)

Upper and lowercase letters and numbers written in TilburgsAns

This font doesn't wear its coolness on its sleeve
  • Format: OTF 
  • Price: Free 

Ok, at first glance TilburgsAns might not appear cool, per se. But since when are you meant to wear your coolness on your sleeve? Designed by Sander Neijnens (opens in new tab) and Ivo van Leeuwen (opens in new tab), this raw and idiosyncratic font is inspired by the character of the city of Tilburg. This can be seen in slightly off letter sizes that still manage to work together to form readable words and sentences.

TilburgsAns also includes a unique punctuation mark that means 'yeah' but tinged with doubt. It's the perfect way to sum up the humour and irony of a city whose inhabitants describe themselves as 'the people who piss in a jar (opens in new tab)'.

06. Neon (opens in new tab)

Neon Font written Neon Font

Give your work a dash of retro charm with Neon
  • Format: PSD 
  • Price: Free 

Thanks to its bold colours and cool, fluid textures, Neon Font lends itself perfectly to posters, social media banners, packaging, and other occasions where you really need to grab people's attention. Designer Aga Magdziak (opens in new tab) has done a great job of balancing the different elements in this font to create a style that's both unmissable but not over the top.

07. SOFTA (opens in new tab)

SOFTA written in SOFTA

This pleasant pastel coloured font is easy on the eye
  • Format: PSD 
  • Price: $3 

With its soft bouncy shapes, SOFTA is a playful font that's best suited to short phrases, titles, headings and numbers. Creator Justin Vin (opens in new tab) was inspired to create this marshmallow-like font after playing with Illustrator's blend tool and gradients. 

He even went so far as to create colourful variations that help SOFTA adapt to any palette you can throw at it. And because he seems like such a generous chap, he made it free for personal and commercial use.

08. Road (opens in new tab)

The alphabet written in Road

Time to burn some rubber with Road
  • Format: PSD 
  • Price: Free 

What could be cooler than a font inspired by the street? With this high-octane font you get to channel some burning rubber energy into your lettering. Designer Patrick Seymour (opens in new tab) specialises in delicate linework, and it's great to see him adapt his art for this tyre-screeching typeface.

09. Wesley Gothic (opens in new tab)

Wesley Gothic written in Wesley Gothic

This chunky font channels bold brush marks
  • Format: PSD 
  • Price: Free 

Like a lot of the cool fonts on this list, Wesley Gothic seems to move in two directions at once. When read quickly, it looks like a normal calligraphic font. If you linger on it, however, you see that designer Kutan Ural (opens in new tab) has created a chunky and jagged font with razor-sharp letter shapes. Stylish? Yes. Edgy? Yes. Cool? Undoubtedly.

10. Smaq (opens in new tab)

"Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future" written in Smaq

Cool-looking words to live by
  • Format: PSD 
  • Price: Free 

Smaq is a decorative typeface that combines impactful bevels with classy line shading to create an authoritative, yet approachable font that's ideal for posters and logos. Designer Andreas Leonidou (opens in new tab) spoils us with eight different styles that enable users to customise Smaq to their heart's desire. Play around with shadows, line shading, and outlines to create the perfect cool font for your projects.

11. Fina (opens in new tab)

BCDE written in elegant Fina

Behold Fina, a beautiful and trim font
  • Format: PSD 
  • Price: Free for personal use 

A lot of the cool fonts on this list have been quite in-your-face. Well, it's time to take things down a notch with Fina, created by Yai Salinas (opens in new tab). This elegant font is all about the power of understatement. Its thin and art deco letter shapes pair nicely with extra elements, such as diamonds and arrows. Complete with two variants (one with and without the fancy embellishments) Fina is tailor-made for headlines and posters.

12. UGO (opens in new tab)

Four variants of the UGO font

Nowhere near as ugly as its name would suggest
  • Format: TTF 
  • Price: Free 

With plenty of layer and colour combinations to play with, UGO is a generous font from designer Valeria Santarelli (opens in new tab). We particularly like the 3D effect ,which gives the dotted and brush-like textures a subtle way to shine, and adds a twist to the easy-to-read rounded letters .

13. Hey Brother! (opens in new tab)

Hey Brother! written in Hey Brother!

Hey Brother! manages to appear sleek and sharp all at once
  • Format: TTF 
  • Price: Free 

By combining smooth curves and sharp letter shapes, Hey Brother! has something of a space age feel about it. Designer Dionis Dei (opens in new tab) makes sure Hey Brother! stays grounded though thanks to the chunks that are scored out of each letter. This gives the font a uniquely distressed look that still manages to hold everything together.

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Dom Carter

Dom Carter is a freelance writer who specialises in art and design. Formerly a staff writer for Creative Bloq, his work has also appeared on Creative Boom and in the pages of ImagineFX, Computer Arts, 3D World, and .net. He has been a D&AD New Blood judge, and has a particular interest in picture books.