Where to find good free fonts?

Would anybody mind naming a few websites which provide free well made fonts with proper tracking, kerning(at least for the body text) and leading?

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Tracking, leading and kerning are subjective. They aren’t correct or incorrect. Your question is like saying, “with the proper font size.”

There is no correct font size, tracking, kerning or leading. You change all of these as needed, for the specific font and project.


I like this one:

It’s absolutely free, though “Donationware”. After testing and liking it, I donated (paid) for it.

Another IMHO good (and free) font is this one:

However typically I pay for fonts, as font licenses are not that expensive and somebody put a lot of work into it.


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Free fonts are sometimes worth exactly what you pay for them. Been in the print industry 20 years now. We are still getting a 20-25% failure rate when ripping freeware fonts. Once a design is at rip stage, that bad font will cost you a LOT of money and possibly missed deadlines.
I’m not saying all freeware is bad.
If you insist on using freeware type, have it rip tested before committing to using it on a large project.


Font Squirrel


Google fonts are reasonably well made (at least until you start looking at what’s beneath the hood).

Most of the free font sites just post whatever junk comes their way. Some of it is pirated, and the rest is mostly garbage. There are a few gems here and there, but there’s a higher chance of, as PrintDriver mentioned, running into fonts that cause costly RIP problems.

A good, quality font family can take months or years to produce. People don’t usually put that kind of effort into things they’re just willing to give away.


Adobe’s Typekit has around 300 free fonts. However, for $50 USD/year you can get access to nearly 6000. I’d suggest doing that — it’s less than $5/month…

I do not work for Adobe, it’s just a good deal.


I have a feeling pretty soon, Typekit is going to be the only way to go. I’ve had to re-acquire typefaces for previous clients and have run into many many instances where the licensing is no longer available from the website or even the foundry where it was originally purchased. They now “belong” to Typekit.
Cloud subscription is becoming the way of the design world.
“Only $5/month” does add up when it applies to everything you do.
Maybe it will be Adobe that finally weeds out the “in business” designers from the amateurs.

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I hope not. I do not want Adobe achieving another monopoly over yet another aspect of our business.

Adobe will do what Adobe has always done — squeeze the competition until it’s gone, reassess the landscape, then move forward in ways that take advantage of whatever is there to enrich Adobe. There’s likely more money to be made by Adobe in catering to millions of amateurs than in fostering an environment conducive to professional designers.

I’ve said it before, but Adobe, in my opinion, meets the criteria of an illegal monopoly. Again, in my opinion, the federal U.S. government should break it up in smaller, competitive companies.

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Y’all remember the rights grab they tried, when they first offered online photo editing? They tried to claim rights to all the photos uploaded.

Thankfully, everyone pushed back and they backpedaled on that.

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I still use my postscript Linotype fonts and some adobe type fonts. Don’t use TrueType fonts only if you give final art as outlines or jpgs.

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Monotype Library for $9.99 per month (year contract billed at once) or $14.99 (month-to-month).

I had to use a free font for a project and it was a nightmare. Forget about the fonts not ripping properly. This font had individual character baselines that didn’t line up, inconsistent kerning, tracking, and leading. If you can, go for a subscription.

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You should look at moving away from PostScript (Type-1) fonts. In recent versions of MacOS and Windows, both Apple and Microsoft have started to deprecate their support. And especially fonts of the 1990’s are known to cause issues.

TrueType is a professional format, absolutely save to use.

However for years now, OpenType is the best way to go.

Interestingly, there are two OpenType flavors, one TrueType-based, one PostScript-based. The differences are not relevant typically, however there are instances where this can matter.


I spoke with several agencies about renting fonts and except when it is a one-off job, they don’t allow their designers to use rented fonts.

Their reasoning is that in the past they have seen the offer changing, e.g. after a few years the font suddenly isn’t available for rent anymore or replaced by an “updated” version. So for periodically published media or reoccurring jobs, they then need to convince their client that a change in typeface is ok.

When you purchase the font (perpetual licenses), you can republish the job easily or create new media using the exact same typeface.


Yeah, we stay away from the subscription model for fonts for that very reason (and others). Whether it be Typekit, Monotype or whatever, we buy the fonts instead of rent them.

For many of the same reasons, we try to stay away from subscription models for other kinds of software too, but it’s becoming increasingly difficult as more and more companies head in that direction.

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This is a great thread. I’m learning a lot.
But what exactly does it mean to “rip” freeware fonts, and what is a “rip stage”?
I found this but I’m still fuzzy on the subject.
Aren’t most files sent to the printer as jpegs or .pdfs? How would the fonts at those stages give it a problem?

I do a lot of book work and for things like that, I completely agree. However, for standalone jobs typekit and the monotype library can be liberating. You have access to a font library that would take years and/or thousands of pounds to acquire. For this, I really like them.

Ripping is the gerund form of the verb rip, which comes from the acronym RIP, which is short for Raster Image Processor or Raster Image Processing, but that doesn’t tell you much other than to differentiate some of the confusing jargon.

Ripping something means sending it through a Raster Image Processor (RIP). A RIP is the software that converts, in this discussion’s context, PostScript vector data into raster data.

PostScript is a language the describes points, polygons, lines and fills. Before it can be seen or printed, PostScript descriptions need to be converted into a bitmapped grid — a raster file.

For example, the resolution of your monitor is a reference to the grid of pixels it’s capable of displaying. When something is printed, that grid resolution corresponds to the fineness of the image that can be imprinted onto paper or film. The resolution of your monitor is relatively low, but the resolution of a desktop laser printer is higher. The resolution of a higher-end printer or output device, like an image or platesetter, is much higher still.

When vector data is ripped, the description of the image in that vector data is converted (or ripped) to the resolution of the output device or the monitor. The term RIP or ripping isn’t usually used to reference the conversion of Postscript to what’s seen on your monitor, however. Instead, the term is usually used to reference sending the PostScript data through an output device’s Raster Image Processor.

Jpeg is a special form of compressed bitmapped data, that needs to be uncompressed before it’s printing, but it’s not vector data that needs to be ripped. There are lots of different raster or bitmapped formats. PDFs, however, can contain both raster and vector data.

When, for example, an InDesign or Illustrator file is saved to a PDF, the PostScript vector data is not ripped and isn’t ripped until it’s sent to the Raster Image Processor for output from a printer or image/plate setter.

All the glyphs in a digital font are stored as vector data and, unless those fonts are converted to bitmapped raster data ahead of time for some reason, those fonts remain as vector data in the PDF before they’re ripped to the output device’s resolution upon output.

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Okay, I’m understanding this better now. Thank you!

The main point being, “RIP stage” is when the job is queued up for print. Usually days or sometimes hours before it is due. If you find out at that point your free fonts are broken… Very sad.