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Finding Fonts Online (Free Fonts too)

Fonts are an art form unto themselves. In the web world, however, fonts don't always get the attention they deserve. As you are probably aware, a viewer must already have a font installed on their system in order to see that font display on a web page. Thus, web designers must think carefully about what fonts they choose to use on a web site. It's unwise to use rare or unusual fonts for the text-based content of a web page. It's wise to stick with the basics - sans-serif fonts such as Arial or Verdana and serif fonts such as Times New Roman or Trebuchet. Personally I have an affection for the clean look of sans-serif fonts on web pages as I think they are easier to read.

But aside from the text-based web content on a page, the fonts you can have a little more fun with are the ones you use to create the titles, logos and other assorted graphics for a web site. Matching a font with the colours, visuals and mood of a website can greatly enhance overall site effectiveness. Here are some links to both commercial and free/shareware font sites. If you simply go to Google and search for free fonts, you'll discover a lot of overlap on the fonts available on each site. In other words, most free font sites have pretty much the same stuff to offer. Below I hve tried to summarize to make your searching easier.

Fonts Commercial Fonts

Free Fonts

Links to "The Biggies"

Commercial Fonts

1.) Fonts.com
You have almost 10,000 fonts to choose from in the Monotype Imaging collection. The site is friendly and easy to use. Of particular interest are their value packs - under the link 'font packs', click on 'value packs' for some great pricing. Fonts.com is also partnered online with ITC Fonts, so if you want a specific ITC Font, you can link over to it from my link or from the Fonts.com site. Also at ITC is special pricing on their entire collection.

2.) My Fonts
Over 55,000 fonts from 150+ different foundries, from the biggies to the small fry. Check the 'Specials' tab - there are usually plenty of deals and they change monthly. Of particular help is the 'What the Font' tool - if you've ever wanted a font just like one from a certain magazine, but can't figure out what it is, now you can! Just upload a scanned image of the font and the 'font recognition system' takes over and displays the closest matches in their database! Useful!

3.) FontHaus
A large collection of more than 70,000 fonts sourced from many different font foundries, including Linotype, Adobe, ITC and Monotype. FontHaus prices are often discounted from MSRP. Be sure to visit their specials page - there's usually a free font or two (if you're especially lucky) and right now if you buy an Adobe type collection you get a free iPhone! A fine reason to spend over $8000 on type ...

Freeware/Shareware Font Resources

1.) BetterFonts - an excellent free fonts website with a great preview feature. You can render your text and see what it will look like in the thousands of fonts available here. Great resource!

2.) Font Freak
I have visited and revisited Font Freak many times over the years, primarily because the site is easy to use and loads fast. Fonts are easily downloaded in PC or Mac format. If you have a high speed connection, you can actually download the whole collection, about 2800 fonts (either format) for $6.95. A very good deal, especially for font addicts! And it is not hard to get addicted to fonts.

3.) Divide By Zero
Why do I like this site? It's because of the little dingbat people otherwise known as 'Tombats'. There are quite a few fonts that exemplify the nature of creativity itself - read through how each font came to be 'born' and see what I mean. Although Tom hasn't made a font for awhile (2005 is the latest I see displayed now) the site is functional. You can either download each font separately or the whole collection of off the bottom of the first page.

4.) Chank
A large collection of their free fonts from over the years. Chank also has a large selection of commercial fonts and offers custom design work. A lot of the free fonts are experimental in nature and just looking through the samples can be enough to get your own creativity flowing again! Of course, you must e-mail them for licencing if you desire to use any of their free fonts for commercial use.

Well, I can't finish the fonts page without some type of link to ...

The Biggies

1.) LinoType
The LinoType Library is the largest single supplier of fonts in the world. In case you didn't know, a lot of the fonts included in the "Adobe Library" are licensed from Linotype. Linotype also distributes the font collections of other type suppliers (Adobe, Agfa, Monotype, ITC etc.). You'll pay MSRP at the LinoType site, so use this link simply to marvel at how many fonts have been born into this world ...

2.) Adobe
To many people, Adobe IS type. The link I'm sending you to above is direct to their font library section. Scroll down and look under the heading 'Browse fonts category' - for us web designers, there's a special collection under 'Use' called 'Web Pages.' These fonts have been specially enhanced for comfortable online viewing.

Designer's Fact of the Day: Foundries are organizations that manufacture fonts. Some are large companies, while others are just a designer or two. Type foundries have existed since the 1450s, the birth of printing in Europe.


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