24. Tikal Sans
Taking its name from the Mayans' most prominent city, Tikal Sans' characterful sharp-ended strokes are influenced by glyphs that were used by the South American civilization. Foundry Latinotype gave this web font a large, contemporary-feeling x-height for both legibility and friendly appeal, while its multiple weights ensure maximum versatility.
Note: currently only medium and medium italic are available free.
Equally suited to both print and web, Anton Koovit's geometric slab serif is available in Roman, Italic, Roman Bold, and Bold Italic. Although this free web font has an almost uniform stroke width, Arvo's very slight contrast adds to its character – and it's also carefully hinted to enhance its on-screen readability.
This is Vernon Adams' reimagining of a traditional 1930s slab serif by Heinrich Jost. The letterforms have been digitised, reshaped and optimised for the web, with more open counters and stronger stems to ensure that Bevan functions as an ultra-bold display font that suits modern browsers.
27. Old Standard TT
Revisiting the Modern (classicist) serif style that was widespread in the late 19th and early 20th century but later abandoned, this style is well suited to giving style and heritage to particular types of content, such as scientific papers, or for setting Greek or Cyrillic type. The name counterbalances the 'New Standard' (Obyknovennaya Novaya) used in much Soviet typography.
Ideally suited to magazine and news websites, as well as blogs, this characterful serif by Julia Petretta has a slight slab feel to it, but its balanced, low-contrast letterforms convey considerably more personality than a more neutral typewriter-style web font might, making it ideal for headlines. Sans serif and italic versions are currently in development.
Another web font geared up for setting newspaper or magazine headlines, which makes it useful for carrying a brand seamlessly across print and digital. Mexico-based designer Santiago Orozco was inspired by traditional Italian calligraphy, and accordingly is well suited to projects that need a touch of elegance and Continental style. Development is ongoing, and Orozco welcomes feedback.
Considering this is Friedrich Althausen's first attempt at typeface design, this hardworking, multi-purpose serif (the name is German for 'wholemeal') is a considerable accomplishment, and has been downloaded thousands of times. Its chunky, well-defined serifs give it confidence and energy that make it equally effective at large sizes for headlines or titles, or for larger passages of text.
Like Poly, this free web font emerged from a university project - this time by Thomas Junold while he was studying at Aachen University of Applied Sciences at Karl-Friedrich (Kai) Oetzbach. It has a particularly high x-height that calls for generous line spacing, and also features old-style figures, with 6 and 9 particularly unique.
A sans serif family created by Polish designer Łukasz Dziedzic, Lato is published under the open-source Open Font License. Originally developed for a client project, which was later steered in a different direction, the face is relatively non-descript when used small, but reveals its character at larger sizes, where its semi-rounded characters add warmth.
33. Average Sans
As its name implies, this typeface by Argentine designer Eduardo Tunni has relatively neutral letterforms in terms of structure and proportion, and comes in both sans serif and serif versions that complement each other nicely. It's best used as a text font, or for short, no-nonsense headlines. A serif version, simply called Average, is similarly clear and crisp.
34. EB Garamond
Since its roots in the 16th century, the humanist serif face Garamond has become a true typographic icon, and much copied. This particular open-source project by Georg Duffner seeks to bring the essence of Claude Garamond's masterpiece onto the web.
The 'EB' stands for Egenolff-Berner, as the web font is based on a specimen created by Conrad Berner while at the Egenolff print office.
Created by leading London foundry Dalton Maag, this distinctive sans serif font was developed with funding from Canonical Ltd to benefit the wider free software community, and users are encouraged to modify, improve and share the web font. Ubuntu is designed to convey personality on both desktop and mobile screens.
Karla is a grotesque sans serif typeface family, created by designer Jonny Pinhorn after completing an MA in Type Design at the University of Reading. A fascination with India and Indian languages has led Pinhorn to work exclusively on Indic scripts. Karla for Google fonts is a popular and quirky sans-serif typeface that supports both Latin and Tamil scripts
37. Roboto Slab
Roboto Slab is one variant in the wider Roboto family designed by Christian Robertson. The slab version particularly catches the eye with its geometric shapes and open curves. It works equally well as a display font or for dense copy: the letterform rhythm feels natural, making for a pleasant reading experience.
One of the first fonts to be featured in Google's Web Fonts library, Oswald has been updated more recently to include multiple weights, extended character sets and better kerning. The font is a reworking of the classic Alternate Gothic sans-serif typeface style, created by designer Vernon Adams, and is a fantastic display font for headlines and captions.
Stalemate is a wonderfully quaint script design by Jim Lyles, which harks back to vintage origins. This font works well as an accent or display font, adding instant "personal" impact to your typography on the page.
40. Crimson Text
This wonderfully refined font makes an excellent choice for copy that requires the solidity and impact of a well proportioned serif. Designed by Sebastian Kosch in the best traditions of oldstyle typefaces such as Garamond, this features beautifully rendered ordinals and uppercase forms, making it a solid and reliable choice for many applications.
A multi-purpose face with a large x-height, strong stroke contrast, and clearly defined serifs and terminals that all contribute to excellent readability, Denis Masharov's free web font Ledger is particularly effective for editorial use - working equally well on the printed page or on a low-resolution screen.