Monday, 6 August 2012

The 30 best free fonts for designers



Typography is essential when it comes to graphic design. Here are 30 of the best free fonts from around the web for you to enjoy today!

Typography isn't just about communication, it can also add subtle references to the message you're trying to convey. Whole books have been written on the craft and nuanced world of typography and type design, but we're keeping things simple.
In this article we've scoured the web to present you with a fine and varied selection of the best free fonts. Including scripts, serifs and a range of ligatures, these fonts will give you greater flexibility in your designs, and add to your arsenal of design tools.

Pre-flight check

Some of these fonts can be used on your web projects, but check the terms. And if you're looking at a quick overview of web font formats, check out Jonathan Snook's post on font embedding.
So, without further ado, join us as we present you with 30 of the best free fonts, which you can download and try out today. Let us know how you get on!

1. Jura

free fonts
This gorgeous font was created by designer Ed Merritt and is available on Ten by Twenty. A designer and front-end web developer, Ed hails from Bournemouth and regularly works for website developing company Headscape.
This new release of the Jura family includes regular, italic, bold and bold-italic fonts. Each variant includes 241 characters with a couple of ligatures thrown in. What's more, it maintains legibility even at small sizes, unlike other serif fonts. Ed built the metrics and kerning from scratch too!
FORMAT: TTF

2. Tikal Sans

free fonts
Designed by typographer Miguel Hern√°ndez, Tikal Sans is a beautifully designed type that's part of the new font family Latinotype. Miguel also works as a graphic designer, illustrator and typography teacher and currently resides in Santiago, Chile. In 2008, Miguel won the award for Chile Sans & Cadena Black Typography in the Bienal de Tipos Latinos.
The font comes in 20 variations, including Ultra Italic, Bold and Extra Light - sadly, you only receive the Medium and Italic in the free package. You can however, pay $329 for all 20 fonts.
Tikal-Sans offers a functional look with a contemporary large x-height with opentype contextual alternate letters. The light, regular and medium weights are well suited for longer textual work whilst the Thin and Black weights are great performers in display sizes.
FORMAT: OTF

3. Open Baskerville

free fonts
Open Baskerville is an open source project focused on creating a digital revival of the famous 'Baskerville' typefaces. It's based on Fry’s Baskerville; a Baskerville-inspired derivative created by Isaac Moore, the punchcutter who worked for the type foundry of Joseph Fry.
The team at Open Baskerville are dedicated to bringing you typefaces that will actually make an impact on your design work and continue to be useful to you. With thousands of fonts available, it's refreshing to see Open Baskerville putting so much passion into typography.
FORMAT: GIT

4. Fabrica

free fonts
Created by Canadian designer Alvin Kwan, Fabrica was designed with one thing in mind: to create the most legible typeface for mobile screens. Kwan says: "Fabrica is a deceptively simple sans serif typeface optimised for screen display on handheld devices. With its optimal quality and legibility, Fabrica proves to be highly efficient for small screens. Its details are drawn from the more systematic constructed Neo-Grotesques, giving it a neutral tone of voice."
In a world where people read more text on their smartphones and tablets, rather than on actual paper, Fabrica is a typeface that's well worth looking in to. Although the download is free for all, you can also donate however much money you would like to Alvin for his work.
FORMAT: OTF

5. The Fell Types

free fonts
Italian designer Igino Marini has been creating and advancing the Fell types for over ten years. The typeface is named after John Fell, a Bishop of Oxford dating back to the 17th Century. Marini was inspired Fell's unique collection of printing types and the Bishop's creativity and adventure when it came to the art of typography.
Igino also runs iKern, a service for autospacing and autokerning digital typefaces based on a mathematical model and programs he has developed since 2002. Phew! It sounds like the man definitely knows his typography. We think The Fell Types are classically styled typefaces that every designer could use in their collection.
FORMAT: OTF

6. Infinity

free fonts
Thai graphic designer Tarin Yuangtrakul mainly focuses his work on illustration, which has been exhibited in Bangkok, South Carolina and New York City. At the tender age of 20, Tarin is already making waves on the design circuit. Here, Tarin turns his hand to typography to create Infinity.
What made Tarin call the font Infinity? He says that "the name comes from guides for creating: they are similar to the number 8 and the infinity symbol. I really like the number 8 because it's my birth date and because of my lineage in China, the word for number 8 sounds similar to the word meaning 'prosper' or 'wealth.' The number 8 is viewed as such an auspicious number that even being assigned a number with several eights is very lucky." 
FORMAT: TTF

7. Rex

free fonts
This three-weight font type is brought to you by the folks at Fontfabric. Designer Svetoslav Simov, who is based in Sofia, Bulgaria, founded the independent type foundry back in 2008. Their goal is to create high-quality fonts that stand in a unique class of their own, and can serve as a decent base for any designer project whether it be web, print or clothes design.
Every week, a typeface is rolled out of production and is put up on the site to download absolutely free. Rex is one of those fonts, designed in three weights: light, bold and bold inline. It’s a caps font, but there is a difference between both caps and small caps, which can be seen in the examples on the website. It's available for both personal and commercial use.
FORMAT: OTF

8. Haymaker

free fonts
Designer Trevor Baum created this vintage-inspired typeface. Proclaiming a love of bicycles, type and Jewish deli's, Trevor wanted to create a font that was both rugged and refined, and we think he's got the balance spot on.
The inspiration for the typography design came from the workmanship, lettering and baseball jerseys of the 1930s and 1940s. The font comes in uppercase, lowercase, numerals and also contains punctuation.
FORMAT: TTF

9. Carton

free fonts
Here's another awesome find on Lost Type, the typography co-op that ensures its designers receive 100 per cent of the donations given for their fonts. This time, the typeface comes from talented Newcastle based graphic designer Nick McCosker.
Nick claims that Carton is 'best served chilled', whilst describing it as 'a strong yet sensitive slab-serif inspired by letterpress'. It only comes in uppercase but we think that that's all a typeface of this kind needs. It's immediately striking to the eye and will work really well with any titled-based designs; possibly less so in body text.
FORMAT: OTF

10. Josefin Sans & Slab

free fonts
Santiago Orozco created this typeface, with the goal of making it geometric, elegant and kind of vintage - especially for titling. It's based on Rudolf Koch's Kabel (1927), Rudolf Wolf's Memphis (1930) and Paul Renner's Futura (1927).
Orocozo says that the idea was to 'draw something with good style, that reflects Swedish design and their passion for a good lifestyle, and by default all other Scandinavian styles.'
The x-height is half way from baseline to caps height, unlike any other modern typeface. Santiago wanted to do something different with the ampersand, so he made three and will include them in later versions of the Josefin Sans. It took Santiago around a month to draw the total of 373 glyphs. 
FORMAT: OTF

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