Beginners guide to free fonts

Photograph of vintage typewriter

Why are fonts important?

Choosing a font to use in your designs can be tricky. It’s worth spending some time getting it right though, as that choice can make or break your design.

One of the first things I do when coming up with a new concept, is look for a selection of fonts that are going to work for that particular design. If you’re looking for a bit of help on using that awesome font you’ve just discovered, I’ve written some tips before about how to incorporate fonts into your designs – from using a limited font selection, and being consistent while using that selection.

However, unless you’re doing graphic design a lot for other people, you probably don’t have a huge library at your disposal. Luckily, the the days of needing to pay loads of money to purchase from a smallish pool of available fonts are gone. The availability of free fonts has exploded in the last few years which is great news for small business owners who are looking to do some of their own visual marketing.

So, here is a collection of my favourite go-to places. Most of these are font foundries that offer licenses to use their fonts for free and on any project, but be sure to check the conditions that usually come with the font.

Some of the font creators just ask for a small donation, which isn’t too much to ask. Be nice and donate something to help them keep helping you.

Font Squirrel

Font Squirrel is usually the first place I head to if I’m looking for something different to my existing collection. They are a firm favourite with designers, and with good reason – plenty of options, wide range and selection, and generally free to use on any project.

1001 free fonts

This is actually a new one to me, I just discovered it while researching this post. At quick glance, it looks like a good selection. I’ll be bookmarking to return and see what’s on offer.

Google Fonts

Taking over the internet, one piece at a time, in the last few years Google entered the font fray with a huge selection of web-friendly fonts.

These fonts can be downloaded to use on traditional print projects, but they’re also easy to use across websites. It’s a great move forward from the days of only being  able to select from a handful of (boring) fonts. Or, pasting in funky headings as images files  – which is a terrible idea from an SEO and site-loading perspective.

Screen grab of Google fonts website


These guys have been around for a while, and not all their fonts are free, but it’s still a good place to check in if you’re struggling to find something you like in your existing library.

Screen grab of Da Font website

A curated selection of fonts

This post is a good one to bookmark, as it hones in on specific fonts that the author likes and recommends.

I could do something similar, but figured  – why reinvent the wheel?

Screen grab of 100 best fonts website


Do you have any go-to font libraries that you would recommend?

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