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Fonts can make a huge difference for your logo, website or graphic. But it's not always easy knowing where to download free and paid fonts. Here I cover the best places to download beautiful high-quality fonts. I've separated them into free and paid. Both of the paid places occasionally give away a font as a freebie, so you can actually get free fonts there too.
Best places to download free fonts
My number one go-to for free fonts is FontLibrary.org. What I love best about this is that the licences are very clear. The most permissive font license is the OFL (SIL Open Font License), which is what you want if you're planning to use it on your website or any other project that is considered commercial. Fortunately most of the ones at FontLibrary fall under this license. Each font at FontLibrary has the licence type visible at a glance. You can freely download any of the fonts without needing to make an account, sign in, and so on.
- Pros: There are a range of fonts available, including all the types you would expect such as handwriting, blackletter, and so on. Supported languages are made clear for each font.
- Cons: While you can find plenty of good-looking fonts, it can be harder to find some of the more modern 'trendy' types, compared with other font sites. Also, if you want to work with any font from FontLibrary, you should download it and put it on your website. I would never recommend using their method of embedding the font, since if FontLibrary goes down, then your website will too. FontLibrary does not have the best uptime.
Google Fonts is OK for free fonts, but not great. The licenses fall under a few different types, but most are OK to use for commercial projects such as websites. Each font has license information available at a glance. You don't need an account to download fonts from there.
- Pros: Good search options for fonts (not as great as you'd expect considering this is Google, but still better than most). Besides the traditional categories such as sans-serif, serif, handwriting, you can also search by properties such as thickness, slant, and width. There is an incredibly big selection of fonts available, so you have tons of choice. When you examine each font, it also shows it helpfully paired with another font (one for headline, the other for text). This is very useful for getting a feel how it would look on a website.
- Cons: As with FontLibrary, Google Fonts is somewhat lacking in modern loopy handwriting fonts. For those looking for a font like that, you should go with one of the cheap paid options shown below. Overall, Google Fonts looks a little old-style. It's fine for most informational website purposes: you can get a decent headline and decent body font, but if you're trying to make a cool banner, logo, or other graphic, this is not the best choice. You'll have too many fonts you don't want to wade through, and you'll take a long time coming up with nothing.
Best places for cheap fonts
I have 2 go-to places for cheap paid fonts. This is when I can't find what I want on the free font sites above. The cheap paid fonts I got below have really made a huge improvement in the logos and banner ad graphics I'm able to create for my websites.
Creative Fabrica is a platform for designers to sell fonts (and other graphics too). The fonts are all licensed under a commercial licence, meaning you can safely use these in commercial projects such as websites, banner ads, and so on. Their paid fonts are cheap compared to other paid font places. Certain classes of fonts are much better respresented there than anywhere else (while still being affordable), such as their chalkboard fonts and calligraphy fonts.
- Pros: You can find tons of great fonts there, including gorgeous modern ones like the elegant loopy Swansong and the stunning Scott Pilgrim. Creative Fabrica is great at ensuring you look professional and stand out. They also offer a set of free gifts daily for download, one of which is always a font. So you can get free fonts there as well as paid ones. The free fonts still have the commercial license just like the paid ones, so you can still use them in your website or graphics.
- Cons: Not always easy to search fonts. Besides the usual pre-set categories (serif, sans-serif, handwriting, etc) there are no easy ways to narrow down the fonts to what you want. There is a search box you can use, but it would be easy to miss and overlook some great fonts that way.
Tip: After paying for some fonts from Creative Fabrica one by one, I realized later that they also offer bundles, where you can get a bunch of fonts there for next to nothing. If you're starting out and need more than just one great font, then the bundles are way better value for money. I also discovered the "build your own bundle" ability, where you get to handpick your own customized bundle.
The Hungry JPEG
My second go-to for cheap paid fonts is The Hungry JPEG. Similar to Creative Fabrica, they're a marketplace for font creators to sell their designs. They have plenty of great fonts, and the licence covers most commercial uses.
Pros: Lots of wonderful, modern fonts. They also have weekly freebies, so you can also download free fonts there too.
Cons: Not always easy to search fonts and find what you want, beyond the usual pre-set categories. Also, the commercial license wording was not quite so clear to me in plain English as that of Creative Fabrica.
Whether you're looking to download a free font or an affordable paid font, this article has you covered. Enjoy creating your logo, graphic, or website - a beautiful font makes all the difference.
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