It is important to take an interest in typography, as Designers, we communicate a clients ideas and aspirations through the use of words and images, either by creating those images through with photography, then carefully crafting them in software, or through generating icons and logos. Still we are often required to use text to accompany images or to be set independently in a way to communicate a message.
Fonts (or 'founts' for the puritans out there) are the form that have the power to express those words into meaning, and through the expressive hands of typographers we have seen much change through the ages. Where once only type foundries or a Printing Press could afford a fair selection of fonts, today they are virtually everywhere, and whats more... everyone's an expert. There has never been a better time to explore creating your own letterforms, and with digital font creation tools available and affordable, everyone appears to be having a go.
Today there's are a wealth of free fonts available online, one of the biggest challenges by far is deciding on quality. Sites such as DaFont offer a smorgasbord of typographical versatility, along with a community for font buffins eager to connect and discuss their creations. Needless to say that the long standing rule, "you get what you pay for" is now only mostly true.
It is also important to note that finding a good free typeface can prove arduous at times and you must ensure that you do your due diligence whenever you do download anything, most include a licence and some may also come with other digital nasties. Some Typographers will offer their work for free on the proviso that it only be used for 'Personal' projects, and this will often be stipulated in the attached licence, so do take note.
Below I have tried to include a small selection of different types of fonts, some can be used for display and there are a few here such as Jura which could work well as body copy.
Only available as an uppercase font, Novecento is great for use as a display font or for short sentences, taking inspiration from 19th & 20th Century European Typography. It is comprised of impressive retro geometric forms that are optically corrected and balanced.
The family contains 471 glyphs and 32 font weights whereas six of the font weights of the wide-version (Light, Book, Normal, Medium, Demibold and Bold) are available for free download and use.
With a futuristic, geeky technological feel this font is, as it says in the title, basic. Composed of a single weight stroke and no sharp edges this font is simple and rational in design, click here to download.
As you can probably tell, I fell in love with Museo a little while ago, and this website stands testament to that. After initially trying out the free versions I then went and purchased more of the family, which has since become a large part of my personal branding.
This OpenType font family comes in five weights and offers supports CE languages and even esperanto. Besides ligatures, contextual alternatives, stylistic alternates, fractions and proportional/tabular figures MUSEO also has a 'case' feature for case sensative forms.
Calluna Sans is a humanist sans based on Calluna. It has true italics, small caps, lots of ligatures, 4 numeral sets and much, much more. Calluna Sans comes in 10 fonts: 5 weights each with an italic. Calluna Sans is spaced and kerned with Igino Marini's iKern service.
Another beautifully designed creation from the hands of Pablo Impallari, this font is also webfont ready and available through the Google webfonts API. With nice wide and open letterforms, I find this font is very much reminiscent of Roman stone carving. The tall x-height makes it ideal for body copy even at small sizes, also all the accentuated details make this a great choice for a display font.
Jura is a elegant serif typeface of narrow proportions with distinguishing details. The rounded, wedge shaped serifs offer a more contemporary feels than many serif fonts, while maintaining legibility even at small sizes.
Homestead is a very distinctive Slab Serif typeface that leaves a lasting impression with its geometric forms and a modern, progressive look. The family is available in 6 weights: Regular, Inline Display, One, Two and Three. Released by the Lost Type foundry with the “name-your-price” pricing scheme. Homestead can be used freely for any personal or commercial use.
Offered free on The Lost Type Co-Op, Mensch is a funky condensed uppercase typeface which comes available in regular, thin, inline, and bold weights.
Font Based on the Art Deco style of Lettering often seen on Cassandre Posters, the family is available in Regular, Bold and Outline weights also containing ligatures, capitals, numbers, small capitals and also titling alternates.
In order to acquire the font you can pay a random amount of money or alternatively send out a tweet or a Facebook post to download the fonts for free.
This has got to be one of my most favourite free fonts, it has been a work in progress for some time now, Pablo Impallari keeps perfecting it as he goes, and offers it all up for free.
There are a number of resources available on line in helping you to find good fonts,