In this freshly updated free fonts for designers post, we bring you the world’s best free fonts. We’ve filtered out the diamonds from the thousands of less perfectly designed free fonts available online, for you to use in your designs and illustrations. (Elsewhere, we’re also busy curating the best Black Friday deals for designers and artists, so once you’ve found the perfect free font, see if you can find yourself a top Black Friday bargain on some creative kit too.)
Free fonts: quick links
This list represents the 55 best free fonts we’ve found in eight categories. You can use the drop-down menu at the top of the page, or the boxout, right, to jump to the section you want.
Don’t forget, we have many other articles covering specialist font types including handwriting fonts, kids’ fonts, cursive fonts, beautiful fonts, web fonts, professional fonts and more. (You might also like the fonts in our 20 fonts every graphic designer should own article.)
Most of the typeface collections listed here can be used in your projects for free, but please be sure to check the terms. Read on for our pick of the best free fonts, which you can download and use today.
01. Droid Serif
Created by Colorado-based typeface designer Steve Matteson, the contemporary-looking Droid Serif font family was designed for comfortable reading on screen. It features slightly condensed letterforms to maximise the amount of text displayed on small screens, and ensures readability with vertical stress, sturdy serifs and open forms.
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.
The Butler family contains 334 characters, seven regular weights and seven stencil weights, and includes text figures, ligatures and fractions. It also suits many different languages with its added glyphs. De Smet suggests it would work well for “posters, very big titles, books and fancy stuff.”
Arvo is a geometric slab-serif font family that’s suitable for both screen and print use. Designed for legibility, it was created by Anton Koovit and published in the Google Font directory as a free open font (OFL). Unlike many slab serifs on Google Fonts, Arvo contains normal, italic, bold and bold italic styles.
04. Crimson Text
Here’s a free font family created specifically for book production, 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 also favourite free font of Taylor Palmer, a senior UX designer based out of 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.”
Aleo has semi-rounded details and a sleek structure, giving a sense of personality while maintaining a good level of legibility. This free font family comprises six styles: three weights (light, regular and bold), with corresponding true italics. Released under the SIL Open Font License, it was designed by Alessio Laiso, a designer at IBM Dublin, as the slab serif companion to Lato.
Cormorant is a display serif typeface inspired by the Garamond heritage. It was hand-drawn and produced by Christian Thalmann, aka , who describes it as containing “scandalously small counters, razor-sharp serifs, dangerously smooth curves, and flamboyantly tall accents”. The font is best used for headlines and poster text at large sizes, both on screen and in print, but is also highly legible at smaller text sizes.
Brela is a humanistic serif font designed exclusively for editorial design. With a generous x-height, it’s very legible, even at tiny sizes, yet it works equally well in bold, large headlines. This free font was designed by Spanish creative agency Makarska Studio and comes in regular and bold weights.
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, a type design foundry based in Rosario, Argentina.
“I like to keep my eye on the Libre fonts, like Libre Baskerville,” enthuses Taylor Palmer, a senior UX designer based out of 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.
A remarkably elegant font, Jura is characterised by its narrow proportions and distinguishing details, including its rounded, wedge shaped serifs. It looks good at large sizes, but reads well at small ones too. This free font was created by UK-based designer Ed Merritt.
Fénix is a calligraphy-inspired font that works well as both display text and body copy. Featuring strong serifs and rough strokes, it provides a lovely rhythm when reading long passages in small text sizes. It’s the work of Fernando Díaz, a designer at Uruguayan foundry TipoType.
Luthier is a contemporary typeface characterised by sharp serifs and high contrast, which comes in two weights plus italics. Good for both headlines and body text, it would suit designs focused on serious, intellectual topics. This free font was created by Barcelona-based designer Adrià Gómez.
Currently the number one most popular serif font on Google Fonts, Slabo was designed by John Hudson, co-founder of Tiro Typeworks foundry. Slabo is a growing collection of size-specific web fonts, with Slabo 27px and Slabo 13px out so far, fine-tuned precisely for use at those specific pixel sizes. The blocky feel of its ligatures give a modern twist to the serif font, perfect for online designs.
Next page: Free sans-serif fonts