Where to Download Free Fonts
Search for free fonts and Google will turn up over 14 million hits. Many of these free font sites are simply duplicates of each other, and some contain malware or pirated material. But after scouring the web and reviewing the recommendations of several typography-related sites, I narrowed the field to a handful of useful sites. Here are some of the best places to look for free fonts, without worrying about viruses or copyright violations...
The Best Free Font Sites
Graphics designers, webmasters, and those who create newsletters, brochures, posters and presentations, are constantly on the lookout for new fonts. There are literally hundreds of thousands of different fonts available, even if you can't always tell the difference between two of them very easily. Here are five places where you can find quality free fonts that are also free of malware and potential copyright issues.
Start with Google Web Fonts. You can browse or search hundreds of free, open-source fonts optimized for the Web. When you find a potential candidate, add it to your Collection. Compare and review the fonts in your Collection to see what they will look like when applied to text that you create. Then let Google Web Fonts create the code that you embed in your Web pages to display the selected fonts.
"Hundreds" of fonts doesn't even begin to scratch the surface of the font population. Popular free fonts site Dafont.com boasts over 14,000 free fonts and counting. Like Google Web Fonts, you can preview and experiment with selected fonts before downloading them. Finding the right font in such a huge collection can be daunting, but Dafont is well organized to help guide yours search. Dafont's library is a mixture of open source, shareware, and public domain fonts, so be sure to review any readme files or license terms included with your downloads.
Font Squirrel screens its font uploads to ensure that they're all free for commercial use as well as personal use. If you want only totally free fonts that look good, this is a good source.
Lost Type has only a few different fonts available, but they're carefully selected for quality, style, and general applicability. The site does ask users to pay something to support the authors who create the fonts. You can enter a "donation" of zero to download a font for free. But if you can afford to toss a few dollars in the tip jar, that will help to keep Lost Type and other free sites viable.
MyFonts claims to be "the world's largest collection of fonts," but they're not all freebies. The Myfonts library includes both free and licensed fonts. However, you can set a filter to display only free fonts while browsing the site.
Design Your Own Font?
FontStruct is the place to go when you can't find a font you like elsewhere. Just build your own font using the online font editor. And you don't have to be a graphic artist to design your own font here. FontStruct helps you create fonts based on a menu of pre-defined geometrical shapes, which you can arrange on a grid in the font editor. When you're done, FontStruct generates a TrueType font, which can be used on any Windows or Mac computer. You can also view fonts that others have created to get inspiration. If you upload your new font to the site, other font contributors can comment on your creation, and offer suggestions for improvement.
It is unlikely that you will catch a malware infection from a font file, if you have kept your operating system up to date. Back in 2009, a security hole in Windows was discovered that might have allowed hackers to seize control of a PC through malware hidden in embedded fonts. But a patch for that vulnerability was released long ago. However, you should be wary of ANY download, especially when it comes to free stuff. Downloading from reputable sites and using anti-virus protection should protect you from rogue downloads that contain malware. See my list of Free Anti-Virus Programs if you need to beef up your Internet security.
Some free fonts sites may solicit donations or require subscription fees to download large numbers of fonts. Be cautious about giving any payment details to such sites. If the site accepts donations via PayPal, that's a safe way to show your support. Read any subscription agreement carefully to make sure you are not authorizing recurrent charges by handing over your credit card data.
What's your favorite source of free fonts? Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 30 Jan 2012
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Where to Download Free Fonts (Posted: 30 Jan 2012)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved