Raise your hand if you’ve ever struggled to find quality online font resources or fallen into the quagmire of noisy, cluttered font aggregator sites. In an effort to save you a little time and a fair amount of sanity we’re surfacing some of the lesser-known but higher value spots to locate your next font to obsess over.
Here’s some great places to download stylish free or open source fonts other than the usual font generator monoliths. Hopefully we’ll also provide some inspiration and give you insight into what’s next in the world of typography.
YouWorkForThem is a great resource that currently features over 40,000 fonts available for download, and if you sign up for their newsletter, they’ll give you over 800 fonts for free. They have been designing fonts for over a decade and are known for their designer-friendly font library. A great place to discover new artists and find stylish fonts online; they currently feature curated work from over 300 award-winning font foundries around the world.
If you’re not familiar with the history of foundries, here’s a great article from the YouWorkForThem blog that provides some context.
Below is a fascinating excerpt:
‘Foundries derive their name from the pre-computer graphics era when the art and craft of designing typefaces fell to skilled craftsmen who meticulously designed font families by hand. In 1448, Johann Gutenberg, an accomplished metalworker, cast those letters into single pieces of rectangular metal, and along with formulating the ink and developing the printing press, began to produce precise impressions of printed letters onto paper. The invention of the printing press is still considered one of the most important inventions in the history of modern civilization.
Today’s type foundries craft typefaces out of ones and zeroes rather than molten metal. Type designers often get their start within graphic design agencies or institutions, eventually deciding to specialize in typography, and the craft of designing typefaces.’
Some other great retailers that provide fonts from multiple foundries include:
Another favorite resource of ours is TypeWolf, an independent site that features typefaces from a number of different foundries.
TypeWolf’s Jeremiah Shoaf said he created the site to address a need in the industry:
“Working as a designer, I was always frustrated by the lack of good resources for choosing fonts for design projects. Seeing type samples set in ‘the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog’ isn’t very useful when it comes to web design—seeing how real type performs on actual websites is much more helpful. I’ve also noticed that other typography sites tend to be written from a type designer’s perspective rather than from the perspective of someone who actually uses type in their day-to-day work.”
#3. Go Straight To The Source
There are a huge number of independent foundries from which you can purchase fonts directly. Some of our favorites are listed below.
- Canada Type
- Chank Fonts
- Commercial Type
- Dalton Maag
- Darden Studio
- Font Bros
- Font Bureau
- Font Fabric
- Tobias Frere-Jones
- Jan Fromm
- Hoefler & Co
- House Industries
- Letterhead Fonts
- Letter Perfect Fonts
- Lost Type Co
- Process Type Foundry
- Mark Simonson Studio
- Terminal Design Foundry
- Type Together
- Laura Worthington
Love Font Trends?
Is your current font collection getting out of control? Perhaps you should consider a font management system. Whether you have hundreds or even thousands of fonts, Extensis has a font management tool to help you streamline your workflow so you can focus on what’s really important: doing great creative work!
What about the Monotypes of the world?
You can also find many high quality fonts from one of the many Monotype-owned companies. I do recommend that you buy directly from the designer whenever possible. Monotype does self-design many quality typefaces in-house as well.
We hope this article helps you put your best font forward! (sorry, not sorry)