Cursive fonts – also known as script fonts – are a popular style of typography, and are especially prevalent on the web. They're often representational of handwriting, which means if you have a little knowledge of how to scan and map artwork into font-generating software, it's relatively easy to create your own.
However, this abundance of free fonts doesn't necessarily make things easier for designers. It can be tricky to find the diamonds in the rough. With this in mind we've selected a handful of brilliant free cursive fonts. They're all free to use in personal projects, but some have different rules for commercial usage, so make sure you double-check with the owner.
01. Sugar & Spice
Maybe you've started planning for the holidays already, or maybe it's a little early for you. Either way, get ahead on your festive designs by downloading this sweet script font. It's the work of Brittney Murphy Design, and is free for personal use only. Short ascenders and descenders make it ideal for multi-line type designs.
This free script font is designed to be delicate and feminine, but still highly legible. It also includes plenty of alternates, which you can use to customise your designs. Shink is free for personal use only, although you can show your appreciation to creator 7NTypes by donating if you're a fan.
03. Hickory Jack
We love this laid back cursive font design by Brittney Murphy, who confesses to being 'obsessed with fonts'. Murphy also says on her website she's been 'working to make the world less ugly since 1983', which is evident in Hickory Jack's design. This typeface is free for personal use, but you'll need to contact Murphy to obtain a commercial license.
If you're looking for a script font with a really authentic feel, this Crunchy design might just be the solution. Free for personal use only, Crunchy is one of many popular designs by typographer Mans Greback. With a distinct vintage feel to it, Crunchy is perfect for any retro-style designs, and will also make it look like you took the time to personally hand-write each letter.
05. Alex Brush
This beautiful, flowing script font was created by designer Rob Leuschke of TypeSETit. Leuschke specialises in unique lettering and typographic designs for advertising, branding, promotion and public relations. However, Alex Brush is available free for both personal and commercial projects. This font features short ascenders and descenders, and is nice and legible, making it perfect for all manner of design projects.
06. La Sonnambula
Designed by Fernando Haro, a freelance graphic designer who describes himself as an eclectic typographer, La Sonnambula is a handwritten and extended font that has been designed with calligraphic texts and elegant titles in mind. It's named after an opera by Vincenzo Bellini, performed by Maria Callas in Milan in 1957. Despite its classic roots, it's bang up to date, even including a Bitcoin symbol.
Gregory Medina – aka dcoxy – does a great line in fonts that are free for personal use, and Lily of the Valley is just one of his wide range of attractive script fonts. Fun and quirky with some charming flourishes on many of the letterforms, it features a full set of lower and upper case characters, plus accents and symbols. For numbers and extra weights, contact Medina to buy a licence for the full version.
This looping script font is full of character and flair. Flanella can be used for free in both commercial and personal projects – although donations to the designer are much appreciated.
09. The Woodlands
Free cursive font The Woodlands is the work of designer Jeremy Vessey. "It has a modern calligraphic aesthetic that is extremely popular," Vessey comments on Behance. "The Woodlands was created to give designers a free alternative, which will help you achieve that lettering feel we all love." The Woodlands is free for both personal and commercial use.
Free cursive font Noelan comes from the team at ndro. This a clean and modern design is free for both personal and commercial use. It also includes a number of alternates and international characters, for easy mixing and matching to achieve exactly the look you want.
11. Beautiful Bloom
Free cursive font Beautiful Bloom is one of many beautiful type designs from Mats-Peter Forss. Available at no charge for personal use, Beautiful Bloom is great for a variety of print and digital projects, including stationery, posters, logo designs and more.
Laura Worthington is the typographer behind thick, substantial script font Milkshake, which is available over on Bold Faced Goods. Worthington comments: "As I went through the design and development phase, I was really drawn to how round and thick it was turning out and I liked this look – it makes it a sturdy font, capable of holding up against busy backgrounds and bold enough for headlines or titling treatments."
13. Variane Script
Created by Boy Moch Tomi, this stunning script font harks back to the good ol' days of classic design and marked Tomi's first attempt at creating script fonts. He says, "I am very interested in the script because of its complexity and only a few of them are free to use. I hope that these fonts will be useful for everyone." The modern take on classic cursive is reminiscent of early 20th century American signage and can instantly give your brand a touch of vintage charm.
14. Fabfelt Script
French graphic designer Fabien Despinoy is the creative behind Fabfelt, a free script font with an industrial feel. "I tried to design a handwritten typeface without graininess," he says. The result is a natural-looking font with a little retro charm.
It's not strictly cursive, but this hand-drawn brush type will add a natural touch to your designs. It's ideal for anything from wedding invitations, poster and logos to greeting cards and more, thanks to its irregular, bouncing characters that add a personal feel.
16. Black Jack
This sophisticated Black Jack type design was created by Ronna Penner of Typadelic. Although this cursive font is only available in one style, Black Jack is made up of 177 characters, including a full set of upper and lower case letters and numbers. It's free for use in personal and commercial projects.
One of the best open source script fonts, Anke Calligraphic FG Regular was originally designed by Anke Arnold, but has been extended to include international characters by Fontgrube Media Design. It's only available in TrueType, rather than OpenType, but does have a set of over 100 kerning pairs built in, offering an approximation of the benefits of OpenType. And it's free to use commercially.
18. Aguafina Script
This eye-catching and elegant from Sudtipos offers a set of clean lines that manage to flow without expanding to fill every bit of space. It's economical with its use of the letterforms, reducing the capital A to a simple up/down stroke with a stylish flick. This is one of those cursive fonts that's great for bold headlines.
Tahu! was designed by Indonesia-based graphic designer Syaf Rizal, who describes it as "a clean and professional, modern script font". It includes a full upper- and lowercase set, plus numerals, punctuation and a range of special characters, making it nice and versatile. This script font is free for both personal and commercial projects, so you can use it however you like.
5th Grade Cursive is one of many handwritten fonts created by type designer Lee. A fancy cursive font, the design has a retro look and feel to it, making it perfect for all your vintage designs. Batchelor's design also makes use of OpenType features to make it appear all the more natural.
21. Christopher Hand
This handwritten cursive font by El Stinger isn't the most technically competent in our list, but we love the ease of the letterforms and the honesty of the designer's notes. You may find yourself doing a little bit more work than usual to kern pairs together, but the end result will make it worthwhile: an appearance of effortless scrawl. This one is free for personal use, and if you want to use it commercially, the designer asks that you email him and send him 'something nice from your hometown'.
22. Grand Hotel
Designed by Brian J Bonislawsky and Jim Lyles for Astigmatic, this font takes its inspiration from the title screen of the 1937 film Cafe Metropole starring Tyrone Power. It has a classic weight and subtlety that make you think of artisan signage and craft, but its cursive lowercase lends itself to a host of different uses.
With gentle curves and a haphazard, handwritten aesthetic, Puzzled is a great font if you want to make a statement. It comes with a wide range of punctuation marks, plus numerals and multilingual support. This font was designed by Dmitriy Chirkov, and is available to download for free on Behance.