Designers know that finding the perfect font for a project can be an agonizing experience. Letterforms have to be “just so,” and compromise on typographic quality is not an option. Throw tight budget into the mix and we inevitably turn to the web to search for free fonts.
HERE ARE A FEW POINTERS FOR FINDING THE BEST FREE FONTS:
Have a game plan. Decide what style of font (serif, sans serif, script, blackletter, display) will work best for your job and search only for that style.
Search smart. Instead of typing “free fonts,” add qualifying words such as quality, professional, commercial and design to your search tag.
Turn to twitter, blogs and design websites. Check for posts about great free fonts and if the author/design firm offers any of their own.
Look at fee-based font sites. Many offer free fonts as a way to increase business.
Look at the whole font. Essential characters such as numbers and punctuation can be missing in poorly executed fonts.
Read the license carefully. Many free fonts are licensed for personal use only and don’t include commercial use. Always re-read the license before you use the font as they can change from time to time.
Download the open type format. It will give you the most flexibility in use.
The best free fonts come with a family. At minimum, the family should contain regular, italic, bold and bold italic weights. Many seemingly free fonts offer one weight for free with the rest of the family being available for purchase.
Go with your gut. If the stylization of one particular letterform bothers you, then don’t use the font.