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The best free fonts: 86 quality designs for creatives

Best free fonts - Sample of Titillium
(Image credit: Accademia di Belle Arti di Urbino/Cufon Fonts)

If you're looking for the best free fonts, you have an abundance of choice available to you online – if anything, a little too much! When sifting through the masses of typefaces online, you may find yourself buried under a deluge of fonts that are, shall we say, a little less than inspiring. The good stuff is definitely out there, it just takes a little finding – which is why we're here to help. 

We've scoured the web for all the best free fonts you can download right now, and have found 86 of them! All these are fonts that are available right away, without costing you a penny, though you may need to provide your email address or other details to access them. It's also worth knowing that while some of these are free for personal and commercial use, others are free for personal use only. We've endeavoured to provide the conditions of each font so that you know what you're getting into, but terms and permissions can change, so it's always worth checking.

To make this list more navigable, we've divided it up into eight categories. We've got classic serifs and sans-serifs, as well as stylish retro fonts for giving your designs a Stranger Things-esque nostalgia hit. We've also got brush and graffiti fonts for a painterly look, as well as handwriting fonts to class things up. Lastly, if you want to inject a bit of wild-card energy, we've compiled our favourite free fonts that are a little unusual. Click the headings in the box if you want to jump to a particular section.

Another good resource for fonts is MyFonts, which offers a mix of free and paid-for typefaces. You can check it out at the link below, or scroll on for our picks of the best free fonts you can get right now. 

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Buy fonts from myfonts.com (opens in new tab)
Browse a huge range of fonts and find inspiration for projects of all kinds. Myfonts.com by Monotype features over 130,000 fonts, from brush fonts to display fonts, and more than 900 of them are completely free.

Not sure how to use your font once you've got it? We've got a handy tutorial on how to add fonts in Photoshop. For even more fonts, check out our guides to the best free retro fonts and free script fonts. Or, if you'd rather create a font all of your own, we have a useful beginner's guide to font design, as well as advice on the best font pairings for harmonious btypography. And finally, if you've never been sure of the difference between a font and a typeface, our piece on font vs typeface aims to clear up that confusion once and for all. 

The best free fonts: Serif fonts

01. Young Serif

best free fonts: Young Serif

Young Serif offers heavy old-style letterforms with bracketed serifs (Image credit: Uplaod)

Young Serif consists of heavy, old-style letterforms that call to mind vintage books of yesteryear, It takes inspiration from fonts like Plantin Infant and ITC Italian Old Style, but adds a few flourishes of its own. For instance, some of the letters in Young Serif have interesting axis tilts (you can see in the lowercase 'e', above), and others have generously rounded curves – see the lowercase 'b' and 'f'. In total, the font consists of 348 glyphs. 

Created by Bastien Sozeau, the free font was originally distributed by the creative studio Uplaod. It's open-source, licensed under the SIL Open Font License, meaning it can be used, modified and redistributed freely – as long as you aren't selling it.

02. Cormorant

Best free fonts: Photo of cormorant

Add a touch of class to your design with this most elegant of free fonts (Image credit: Catharsis Fonts)

This is one of the most elegantly formal of the free fonts we've seen – an open source display font that consists of 45 font files spanning nine visual styles and five weights. Cormorant was developed by Christian Thalmann of Catharsis Fonts, and most of its glyphs have been drawn from scratch, giving it a gorgeous distinctiveness. For us, it treads a really neat line between expressiveness and formality, making it an excellent choice for all sorts of applications. There are echoes of the 16th-century typefaces of Claude Garamont in there, though Cormorant has enough of its own personality to not feel derivative.

03. Alegreya

Best free fonts: Alegreya

Alegreya is one of the best fonts for long text passages (Image credit: Juan Pablo del Peral )

Looking to design your own book cover? This is an excellent choice of free font – it was crafted by Argentinian designer Juan Pablo del Peral expressly for the purposes of book design. As such, it's an eminently readable font, with a rhythm to it that facilitates the absorption of long texts. It's won awards for its simple elegance, as you can see in the image above, and we love it for its fresh, approachable take on a calligraphic style. 

There aren't so many great free fonts created for specific purposes, but here's a strong exception. Alegreya is an award-winning typeface by Argentinian designer Juan Pablo del Peral crafted with book design in mind. With a dynamic and varied rhythm aimed at facilitating the reading of long texts, it provides a fresh and approachable take on the calligraphic style.

04. Restora

Best free fonts: Sample of Restora

Restora is one of the best free fonts for bringing your editorial designs to life (Image credit: Nasir Udin)

We love this twist on a classic style – Restora is a fantastic combination of bright, friendly letterforms with an embellishment that feels vintage and classic. It's designed by Nasir Udin, and in its free version it also includes Restora Extra Light and Restora Thin Italic, giving you a good deal of versatility. Whether you want to use it for general editorial text, a book cover or just a simple bit of branding, Restora will fit the bill really well. 

05. Emberly

Best free fonts: Sample of Emberly

Emberly is ideally suited to fashion-related design projects (Image credit: Rajesh Rajput)

One for the fashionistas, Emberly is a free font that evokes a classic magazine feel. It was created by Rajesh Rajput, taking a few cues from the Didone style, and is also available as a variable font. If you're putting together a magazine cover or a poster, Emberly will give it a feel that's both modern and classic.

06. Rude

Best free fonts: Sample of Rude

Rude is one of the most beautiful free fonts we've seen in a long while (Image credit: Masha Chuprova)

We love Rude – an immediately striking font created by Masha Chuprova. This serif was painstakingly handcrafted, and is especially good for short, striking headers, slogans and statements. We can see it fitting well into a logo, or making for a good visual pop on an item of clothing, or running across the top of a poster.

07. Grenze

Best free fonts: Sample of Grenze

Grenze is as punchy as it is readable (Image credit: Renata Polastri/Omnibus-Type)

We love the visual punch of Grenze, but what's even more impressive is how it manages to make so much impact without sacrificing readability. Created by Renata Polastri and Omnibus-Type, Grenze was originally designed for magazines, but it's versatile enough to potentially work for pretty much anything. 

08. Libertinus Serif

Best free fonts: Sample of Libertinus

Libertinus is a classic-looking free font that can really lift your projects (Image credit: Font Squirrel)

Now here's a classic-looking serif. Libertinus is a free font that comes in 14 styles, and is useful when you want to add a bit of simple class to a design. It's another font that's available under the SIL Open Font Licence, so you can do pretty much whatever you like with it. A fork of the Linux Libertine and Linux Biolinum font, it also addresses some of the bugs in those designs.

09. Free Saint George Stencil Font

Best free fonts: Sample of Free Saint George stencil font

Free fonts needn’t be boring! Check out this fun and playful serif based on Georgia (Image credit: Vedran Vaskovic)

Fans of the classic font Georgia will appreciate this experimental tribute by Vedran Vaskovic. Apparently, it's inspired by the Christian legend of Saint George the dragon-slayer – but more important, it's made up of a collection of cheeky, playful stencil shapes that are perfect for adding a little flair to your designs. 

10. Colus

Best free fonts: Sample of Colus

Colus is one of the best free fonts for headlines (Image credit: Stan Partalev on Font Fabric)

With an imposing, classical feel, Colus is great for when you want your designs to feel a little more sombre. It's inspired by carved letter inscriptions in wood and stone, and as such, it hearkens back to the classical ages. An excellent choice of free font for making posters that have a little more sophistication to them. 

11. Amagro

Best free fonts: Amagro

If you're looking for all-caps serifs, check out Amagro (Image credit: Fabio Servolo)

For making a big impact (no pun intended), check out this all-caps serif typeface from Fabio Servolo. Amagro consists of strong, angular serifs that are especially good for making imposing headlines, but it's also got some nice touches like a stylish ampersand, and easy-to-read numerals.

12. Poly

Best free fonts: Sample of Poly

Poly is legible on the web even at smaller sizes (Image credit: Nicolás Silva)

Writing on the web? Poly is a good choice of free font – it's a medium-contrast serif designed specifically to offer better legibility than other web serifs, even when used at small point sizes. The trick is its vertical emphasis – with short ascenders and a high x-height, it offers tremendous clarity.

13. Bitter 

Best free fonts: Sample of Bitter

Bitter is a serif font designed to work well on screens (Image credit: Huerta Tipográfica)

Sans-serif fonts tend to work better for screen use, but this free slab serif typeface has been designed specifically to provide a comfortable reading experience on screens. Bitter was designed by Sol Matas. It's available through Argentinian type collaborative Huerta Tipográfica.

14. Playfair Display

Best free fonts: Sample of Playfair

This free font family is an open source project  (Image credit: Claus Eggers Sørensen/Font Squirrel)

Designed by Claus Eggers Sørensen, this free display font takes inspiration from the 18th century Enlightenment and the work of John Baskerville. Its high-contrast letterforms have delicate hairlines, reflecting the rise of pointed steel pens, which took over from broad nib quills during the period. Functionally and stylistically it can be accompanied by Georgia for body text.

15. Lora

Best free fonts: Sample of Lora

Brushed curves contrast with driving serifs in this free font (Image credit: Cyreal/Font Squirrel)

Lora was originally designed for type foundry Cyreal in 2011, with a Cyrillic extension added in 2013. Brushed curves contrast with driving serifs for a well-balanced, contemporary feel. Although technically optimised for use on the web, it's one of the best fonts for print projects too. It comes in four styles.

16. Butler

Inspired by both Dala Floda and the Bodoni family, Butler is a popular free font designed by Fabian De Smet. His aim was to add some modernism by working on the curves of classical serif fonts and adding an extra stencil family. He suggests Butler would work well for “posters, very big titles, books and fancy stuff”.

17. Crimson Text

Best free fonts: Sample of Crimson

Crimson Text is a free font family inspired by old-time book typefaces  (Image credit: Sebastian Kosch)

Not many free fonts are created specifically for book production, but here's a great exception, 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 a favourite free font of Taylor Palmer, a senior UX designer based in 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."

18. Aleo

Best free fonts: Sample of Aleo

Aleo is one of those rare free fonts that perfectly balances personality with legibility (Image credit: Graphic Pear)

Aleo has semi-rounded details and a sleek structure, creating a strong sense of personality while maintaining balance with a good level of legibility. This family of free fonts was designed by Alessio Laiso, a designer at IBM Dublin, as the slab serif companion to Lato (opens in new tab).

19. Libre Baskerville

Best free fonts: Sample of Libre Baskerville

Free font Libre Baskerville is optimised for body text on screen  (Image credit: Impallari Type)

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. Taylor Palmer also recommends its sister font, Libre Franklin (opens in new tab), which is also free.

20. Slabo

Best free fonts: Sample of Slabo

A modern serif font tuned to pixel perfection (Image credit: Google Fonts)

Designed by John Hudson, Slabo is a growing collection of size-specific free fonts for the web, fine-tuned precisely for use at those specific pixel sizes. The blocky feel of its ligatures gives a modern twist to the serif font, making Slabo perfect for online designs.

21. Merriweather

Best free fonts: Sample of Merriweather

Merriweather is featured on more than 3,000,000 websites, according to Google Fonts (Image credit: Google Fonts)

A hugely popular open-source serif font, Merriweather has its own project on GitHub (opens in new tab). It was designed by Sorkin Type to be easy to read on screens. It features a very large x-height, slightly condensed letterforms, a mild diagonal stress, sturdy serifs and open forms.

22. Woodland 

best free fonts: Woodland

(Image credit: Pangram Pangram Foundry)

This beautiful curvy serif typeface has six weights, and the bold and ultralight versions are offered for free for personal use. It features strong, squared serifs and wide terminals. Touches like the rounded crossbar in the lowercase E give a soft quirkiness to its personality. You'll need a licence if you want to use the other weights or if you want to use it in work for clients.

23. Streusel Kuchen

Best free fonts: Streusel Kuchen

(Image credit: Kellie Jane Studio)

Serif fonts aren't all serious. Kellie Jane Studio injects a lot of fun into this cute serif font that creates a natural handwritten look. It's a nice addition for crafty projects or for the branding of homemade produce.

Next page: Free sans-serif fonts

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Tom May is an award-winning journalist and editor specialising in design, photography and technology. Author of the Amazon #1 bestseller Great TED Talks: Creativity (opens in new tab), published by Pavilion Books, Tom was previously editor of Professional Photography magazine, associate editor at Creative Bloq, and deputy editor at net magazine. Today, he is a regular contributor to Creative Bloq and its sister sites Digital Camera World, T3.com and Tech Radar. He also writes for Creative Boom and works on content marketing projects.