16 free type foundries for graphic designers on a budget
You need some typography for your project and you're on a tight budget. You'd love that stunning sans serif or stylish handwritten type to add that final touch but they're just too darn expensive.
What you need is a definitive list of the best type foundries online that offer beautiful free fonts. At Shillington, we've done all the hard work for you and scoured the web to find the very best resources for your typography needs.
1. Font Fabric
An independent type foundry, founded in 2008 by designer Svet Simov, Font Fabric provides a range of free, high-quality fonts for both personal and commercial projects. There are some seriously nice type families available. We love Mont and Choplin but you can also choose from 110 free fonts.
Ivan Filipov is graphic, logo and web designer from Plovdiv, Bulgaria, who generously provides a number of free fonts via his website. Take a look at his Colortube offering, a fully fledged OTF colour font.
Founded in 2010 by Alexander Nedelev and Veronika Slavova, Typedepot is a small type design studio based in Sofia, Bulgaria. Started as a side project, the pair now sells their fonts through MyFonts, Fontspring, Linotype, Fonts.com and YouWorkForThem. But you can find some rather wonderful typefaces at typedepot.com, all available for free.
4. Free Fonts Project
Since 2008, the Free Fonts Project by Ivan Gladkikh has existed to make typography more popular and available for a broader range of users worldwide. Today, more than 50 free fonts and families have been created thanks to an active collaboration with a large number of designers.
5. Google Fonts
"Making the web more beautiful, fast, and open with great typography," promises Google with its own foundry offering. This is where you'll find some popular type families, including Roboto, Lato and Merriweather, available to download for print or web – and they're all free. Thanks, Google.
6. The League of Moveable Type
Calling itself the first, open-source font foundry, The League of Moveable Type was launched in 2009 to help raise the design standards of the web. "We're proud to have helped start the revolution of open-source typography, and we care deeply about good typography, design, and empowering people by teaching," exclaims its founders. Even better, all of their fonts are free to use, however, and wherever you need.
7. Lost Type
Managed by Riley Cran (and originally co-founded with Tyler Galpin), Lost Type is the first of its kind, a Pay-What-You-Want type foundry. Since 2011 it has been a source for unique typefaces, with a collection of over 50 different faces from contributors all over the world. 100% of the funds from sales of these fonts go directly to their respective designers. Pay what you can afford, that's all we're saying.
Fawnt is one of the largest free fonts archives on the Internet with 9,348 fonts all with large previews, character maps and customisable preview. Browse the fonts by category or alphabetically or use the super helpful search function.
FontFreak.com is one of the largest and most visited freeware and shareware font sites on the net. Here you can download free fonts – well over 9,000 of them from over 400 different designers – as well as purchase over 125,000 commercial fonts. There are free cursive fonts, calligraphy fonts, cool fonts, graffiti fonts. All dingbats are in true type format. And new fonts are added daily.
10. Abstract Fonts
Abstract Fonts isn't just a wonderful free foundry for designers; it's a whole community for type lovers. Search a vast range of categories, which includes "Oriental" and "Minimalist" to discover some awesome free fonts for your projects.
11. Urban Fonts
Selling a good range of "premium" type families, Urban Fonts also provides some free alternatives. Arranged categorically, you can also use its customisable preview feature to see each font at work.
12. 1001 Free Fonts
Doing exactly what it says on the tin, 1001 Free Fonts brings you a huge range of brush, calligraphy, decorative, modern, rounded and groovy fonts, and they're all completely free. There's a handy "custom font preview" tool too. What's more, you can download 10,000 fonts with one click for just $19.95.
FontStruct is a free, font-building tool funded by advertising and some generous sponsors. Here, you can easily create fonts using geometrical shapes. You can also explore the gallery of fonts made by other FontStruct users. Download them, or clone them and make your own variations.
14. Gluk Fonts
Most of the offerings at Gluk Fonts have an OFL (Open Font License), which means you can freely use, copy, modify and redistribute their fonts, as long as you don't sell them. This is a great resource when you want to find something a little different.
15. Da Font
Da Font is another fantastic typography community and foundry with a solid range of free typefaces. We love that you can "donate" to the author of each font if you have the budget to support them. Even little helps.
16. Font Squirrel
"Free fonts have met their match," says Font Squirrel. "We know how hard it is to find quality freeware that is licensed for commercial work. We've done the hard work, hand-selecting these typefaces and presenting them in an easy-to-use format." It's a free font utopia with Font Squirrel.