Cursive fonts, or script fonts, are especially prevalent on the web, as they're often representational of handwriting, and so with a little knowledge of how to scan and map artwork into font-generating software, it's relatively easy to create your own.
But when it comes to the overabundance of free design resources on the web – especially free fonts – it can be tricky to find the diamonds in the rough. With this in mind we've selected a handful of brilliant cursive fonts. They're all free to use in personal projects, but please be sure to check commercial usage with the owner.
01. 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 handwrite each letter.
03. 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, this design, Alex Brush is available free for both personal and commercial projects. Sporting short ascenders and descenders, Alex Brush allows great legibility, making it perfect for all manner of design projects.
04. La Sonnambula
Designed by Fernando Haro, a freelance graphic designer and webmaster who describes himself as an eclectic typographer, La Sonnambula is a handwritten and extended font that's made 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, and despite its venerable inspiration, 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 adorable 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.
06. The Woodlands
This beautiful design, The Woodlands, is by designer Jeremy Vessey. "It has a modern calligraphy 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. Free for both personal and commercial use, Noelan is a clean and modern design, and includes many alternates and international characters for easy mixing and matching.
08. 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.
Typographer Laura Worthington is 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."
10. 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 splash of vintage charm.
11. 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, which is natural and a little retro," he says.
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.
13. 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.
A stylised, yet legible font, Allura is the script format of the Allura Pro family. Designed by Rob Leuschke (see 03), Allura is a great cursive font option for use on invitations and as a display typeface.
15. Dancing Script
A casual but lively cursive font, Dancing Script was designed by Pablo Impallari. The letters bounce and change slightly and capital letters are big and go below the baseline. Referencing popular scripts from the '50s, Dancing Script is great for creating a friendly, informal look.
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.
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.
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.
19. 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 send him 'something nice from your hometown'.
20. League Script
Brought to you by The League of Moveable Type is League Script. A gorgeous rendition of a teenage girl's endless diary entries, League Script offers a sweet alternative to boring body text. Designed by Haley Fiege, it includes ligatures and will act as the framework for future script designs. Its popularity is apparent; it's been downloaded over 221,000 times. How will you use it?
21. 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.