The perfect font can help turn a ho-hum logo, blog, or website design into an eye-catching, effective tool that will help your business to stand out in the crowd. Which leads most of us to the question:
“WHAT FONT SHOULD I USE?”
When designing for a brand, you want to choose a font that helps to communicate what you stand for. As there seems to be an endless amount of choices, this is often harder than it looks.
A Few Tips:
- Pick a Font that fits the occasion and goes well with your business goals. There are of course a variety of versatile fonts that work with ANY brand, but if you want something a little more unique, you will want to think about what appeals to your audience and look for fonts that align well with your purpose.
- When choosing a font that will be displayed online, you’ll also want to make sure it’s easy to read and that it combines well with the other fonts that you’ve chosen. It may help to look at examples of typeface combinations (put together by typography professionals), to gather ideas of which font combinations would fit well with your goals.
- Finally, keep in mind that choosing the right font is an art and that many of the font decisions you make are subjective. Choosing the right fonts will simply leave your visitors subconsciously thinking: “Wow, this is a beautiful website!” – without really knowing why.
We’ve created a simple list of definitions that will help you to learn the basics about fonts and we’ve included a few links to help you find free fonts, commercial fonts, open source fonts and web safe fonts too.
- If a font is listed as “For Personal Use Only” – it can be used in your own personal work, personal scrapbook pages, documents, or just for fun. These fonts should NOT be used commercially or for web embedding.
- Many Fonts are listed under the Freeware License which says: Freeware fonts can be downloaded and used free of charge. Although these fonts are available for free, the author retains the copyright, meaning that restrictions usually apply to alteration, reproduction, publication and distribution of the font. Basically you can use the font in a way that is expressly allowed by the author. Often the author allows people to use the software, but not sell it.
- If a font is listed as “Commercial Use” – it most likely can be used in logos, commercial print and artwork, business cards or business pamphlets. Commercial fonts usually cost money. Sometimes even though a font is available for commercial use, it may not be available for web-embedding. You can use it as an “image” online, but not embedded into the CSS, check the commercial font terms.
- If a font allows for “Web Embedding” – it is safe to embed these fonts into your website using CSS and @font-face via the server. Web Embedding is often used when you want the font to be able to change online and show up as more than just an image on a web page. You’ll most likely see it used in changeable post titles or sidebar titles.
- If a font allows for web embedding, make sure that it allows embedding by @font-face and find out if it has a “web hit limit” and what the cost is with it. Some commercial fonts that allow web embedding charge more to use the font if you have more hits on your site (i.e. $10/month for 25,000 hits and $50/month for more than 250,000 hits, etc). You just need to review the terms for each font.
- If a font is listed as “Open Source” – it means that these are free fonts for the use of almost ANYTHING (except claiming them as your own – this is of course not allowed)! You can use Open Source Fonts for personal, commercial, web embedding… Usually for free and usually free from legal barriers.
- This is often the safest way to find and use fonts in any way that you want without worrying about legal terms.
Open Source Fonts:
- Google Webfonts – Open Source
- The League of Moveable Type – Open Source
- Open Font Library – Open Source
- Font Squirrel – Some are Open Source, but the rest allow Commercial and/or Web Embedding.
- Handwritten & Scrapbook Fonts – free handwritten and scrapbook fonts
- ScrapVillage Fonts – a collection of free fonts, perfect for scrapbooking
- 1001 Fonts – free fonts
- Dafont – free fonts
- Abstract Fonts – random free fonts
- Urban Fonts – more cool free fonts
- Myfonts.com – a collection of 62,000 fonts – perfect if you want to find and buy a unique font for your logo. *Needs to be commercially approved.
- Typekit.com – the easiest way to use real fonts on the web. Gives you the ability to link to high-quality Open Type fonts in your web design projects.
- Fontspring.com – much like Typekit.com except you host it on your server, there isn’t a yearly fee and you can use them on as many websites as you want!
- CreativeMarket.com – A collection of thousands of handmade fonts for purchase.
- Pizzadude.dk – a collection of funky fonts – some freeware fonts – but mostly commercial. *Contact the author before using a font commercially.
- Letterheadfonts.com – a collection of rare and unusual (sometime vintage) fonts.
- ScrapandPaperShop.com – fonts featured on Creative Keepsakes that are available for commercial use.
Web Safe Fonts:
- Web Safe Font List – this MIT.edu link is a great resource with web font comparisons and other resource links.
- Core Web Fonts – Excellent font comparison page.
- Operating System Font Chart – This link lists common fonts, by operating system, plus those which are embeddable.
- More Web Safe Fonts – Lists commonly used CSS font combinations.