Free Fonts: 10 Popular Fonts & Their Free Alternatives
The right font can be a great tool for capturing your audience’s attention, and conveying a message beyond what your words can communicate. Every font is appropriate for a specific purpose and for a specific audience. There are a lot of really great (but really expensive) fonts out there, as well as plenty of really terrible free fonts. Below are ten free fonts that can be used almost interchangeably with their paid counterparts.
Gotham is a wonderfully versatile and modern font. It’s easy to read as body or title text and comes in a variety of weights. It’s many designers’ go-to font choice for a clean display of text. Monserrat is a similar sans serif font that can be downloaded for free from Google Fonts or Font Squirrel. The letters are a little more weighted, wide and tightly kerned.
These two take the top of the list because either of these would be awesome to use in all media types: signs, fliers, bulletins and websites. I love to use these on more complex backgrounds because they are so easy to read.
Alternate Gothic is a well made tall sans serif that can add subtle character to a design. It is best used for title text or signage. It’s awesome for subtitles and text that might be a little too long for the space you have, since the letters are so tight and tall. Bebas Neue gives off a very similar feel but has a couple of hiccups in its spacing between letters and lines. Plus, it’s an all-caps font.
Neither are easy to read in body text, but both are a modern take on sans serifs that can be used in headers to grab your audience’s attention.
Northwell Alt is fun handwritten script font that can add personality. It works really well for title text for events. Quentin is a little thinner, slanted, and stretched but has the same loose handwritten feel. These are easy, go-to, title script fonts that always look cool against simple backgrounds.
Museo Slab is a versatile slab serif that has many versions within it’s font family. It can be used for any type of text and is always legible. (Side note: Museo Sans is what we’ve chosen for use on our website and in the Igniter Media logo.) Arvo is an extremely similar alternative.
Slab serifs are an easy way to make text a little more interesting than a sans serif while still maintaining a modern feel.
Adobe Garamond Pro is an awesome modern serif font. It is one of the easiest styles and fonts to read in print body copy. Lusitana is a little thicker but still makes text easy to read.
A simple way to branch out from the Times New Roman norm is to find fonts like these that are a equally legible, but that your audience might not immediately recognize.
Archer is a beautifully made slab serif font with little clean details that make it interesting. The mix of even strokes with rounded and straight accents on the letters makes it a very unique font. I have seen its friendly vibe on quite a few church bulletins. Josefin Slab is very similar, but has slightly different detailing.
Both of these friendly fonts work for a wide variety of media.
Relation is a very legible and clean script that works well for titles. Bringshoot is full of personality and gives energy to any media. I’ve used Bringshoot on everything from Christmas graphics all the way to Mothers Day graphics.
While Relation has a cleaner look, both have a quickly-written, vibrant feel.
Candelion is beautiful, calligraphic script. Milkshake is wider and has more decorative flourishes.
I like script fonts like this that can be paired well with a lighter weight Gotham or any sans serif. For family or casual events in your church, these fonts are an easy choice.
Easy to read, hand written, non-script fonts hard to find. Bush Market has a looseness to it that makes it look very realistically handwritten. Kalam is similar, and its width makes it even more legible from a distance.
Handwritten fonts are harder to use because they generally have to be larger and have simple surroundings to look well done. These two are awesome for making an event look approachable and fun.
Baksoda is a very unique script that pulls off that ‘just written in marker’ look. The fast strokes at a slight angle are entertaining to take in. Kaushan Script is similar in its fast-stroked look but has a much more handwritten feel than Baksoda.
I like the ease and casualness of both of these fonts.
Boldly Following the Straight & Narrow
At Igniter, we know customization is important for our users, so we try to create all of our title graphics using free fonts or fonts available with an Adobe Creative Cloud subscription (unfortunately, even Adobe is subject to licensing changes, so what's available today may not be next month). That said, there are times when the free options available just don't fit, so we have to use a paid font.
Quality fonts take months and months to create (check out the movie Helvetica to see an example of what kind of effort goes into their creation), and as such, they tend to have a cost associated with their use. There are hundreds—if not thousands—of illegally distributed fonts all over the internet.
As the Church and Christ’s ambassadors, we should be an example to the world to look for the legal and "above reproach" methods of obtaining fonts. Great websites for finding free fonts are dafont.com and fontsquirrel.com. The artists on those sites have labeled their products 100% free or free for personal use, and their variety is expansive. Creativemarket.com also has a library of quality fonts available for purchase. (Oh, and check out their Free Goods of the Week while you’re there!)
If you are interested in learning more about our memberships, come check them out—we have options starting at $19/month.