- the style and appearance of printed matter.
- the art or procedure of arranging type or processing data and printing from it.
That’s a bit dry. Typography is so much more than just arranging letters on a page. Whether for print or web, typography is an essential part of any design. It’s also a difficult element of design to master. I know, it’s so easy just to use the 12pt Times New Roman default. But take a step into the big world of typography and have some fun!
Quite a bit goes into designing a typeface (or font). It’s an exacting process that requires time, patience, and a keen eye. You have to consider the x-height and cap height, where each letter sits on the baseline, the thickness of the stroke, the size of the bowls, loops, and counters, and make sure the kerning between each letter is an equal distance. It’s difficult! (Learn how to talk about type with these helpful terms.) Fortunately, you don’t have to create typefaces from scratch, because there are already so many beautifully-designed ones out there. But finding great ones means digging through the poorly designed ones, too, and believe me, there are a ton of those.
Looking for great type for your next project? Check out some of our favorite resources below.
Good free font resources:
This large, well-organized library of fonts is great for when you’re looking for that perfect body copy font. They also have an expansive library of script and display fonts. FontSquirrel takes the hard work out of finding quality typefaces that are licensed for commercial use. Some of the fonts on FontSquirrel can be found on other sites as well but it’s easy to find what you’re looking for because there are so many tags you can apply.
2. Google Fonts
Never use Verdana on your website again! Google Fonts has a vast directory of web fonts that you can link to directly for free, meaning you don’t have to host the font on your own website. Because all the fonts are open source, you are free to share and customize them for your own use. And you can even collaborate with the original designer to make improvements. It’s really nice not to worry about whether you can use a font in print, on your computer, or on your website; if you got it from Google Fonts, you can use it everywhere!
3. Font Space
FontSpace is a useful site to go to for free type. There are over 36,000 fonts available but they’re sorted into plenty of categories so you can find exactly what you’re looking for, without getting overwhelmed. And if you don’t know whether you want a typical serif or script, there is a page of the most popular fonts, as well as a page that randomly generates fonts to spark your inspiration. The fonts are all clearly labeled whether they can be used for commercial use or personal projects only.
Lost Type has a small library, but is great for unique display fonts. It’s a pay-what-you-want type foundry where 100% of the font sales goes to the font designer (yes, you can type $0 and get a free download if you so choose.)
Good resources for paid fonts:
In addition to photos, graphics, templates, and themes, Creative Market has over 22,000 fonts available for download. The fonts offered here are typically paid-for so you know you’re getting a high quality design. The sets include hand-drawn fonts, brush, vector letterforms, and more – all you could ever need for headers, text, and display. You can actually find free fonts here as well. Creative Market offers a selection of free design assets every week, including one free font.
For $9.99 per month you can get access to over 2,200 font families through the Monotype Library Subscription. If that’s not your speed, check out their best seller, new web fonts, and new releases font lists.
MyFonts.com is Fonts.com’s partner storefront. Another well-organized site, MyFonts has a selection of 130,000 professional fonts! Browse by Sans Serif, Display, Handwritten, Script and more to find the perfect font for any project. There are special offers and bundles and even a team subscription option.
Founded in 1984, Emigre is a digital type foundry with wonderful typefaces. Browse for the perfect font by family, style, or language. Keep in mind that a full font family will cost a pretty penny.
Typekit from Adobe offers different prices for different subscription plans (including a free plan if you just want access to a limited collection of fonts to try out). They partner with a bunch of type foundries and have thousands of fonts for designers to choose from. And you don’t have to worry about licensing – fonts from Typekit can be use on the web or in desktop applications. You also have the ability to search for similar fonts, based on ones you know you like, which is a fun feature.
Typewolf isn’t a site where you can buy fonts, but it has great typeface recommendations, resources, and inspiration! Check it out: https://www.typewolf.com/
And remember, when buying or downloading fonts online, read the license carefully and be fully aware of how you can use a font.