GREAT DESIGN BOOKS YOU SHOULD READ

Type Resources

Excellent Free Fonts

Anderson Grotesk, a grotesque type family by Stephen French

Built Titling, a Gothic headline sans family by Typodermic Foundry

Butler, a versatile high-contrast serif family by Fabian Desmet

Clear Sans, a contemporary open-source sans serif family

Computer Modern, a Scotch Roman-style type family by Donald Knuth

Cooper Hewitt, a formidable gothic type family put out by Chester Jenkins for the design school

Eau Sans, an objective humanist sans serif family by Yamaoka Yasuhiro

Faune, by Alice Savoie.

Fivo Sans is a neogrotesque family by Alex Slobzheninov.

Grenze, a Roman/Blackletter hybrid by Omnibus-type.

Hack, an open-source, monowidth coding sans serif

HK Grotesk is a Grotesque sans serif family by Alfredo Marco Pradil and Stefan Peev

Inria is a matched set of opensource typefaces.

Inter UI, a grotesque interface sans serif by Rasmus Andersson.

Metropolis, a versatile, contemporary geometric sans family by Chris Simpson

Norwester, an industrial display face by Jamie Wilson

Objectivity is a geometric type family in the tradition of Avant Garde.

Reforma, a flared Humanist serif type family by Pampatype.

Royals, an industrial display face by Paul Reis

Summit, a geometric sans serif family by Luke Lisi similar to (but more versatile than) Bank Gothic

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The League of Moveable Type is the oldest opensource type foundry around. Good stuff.

LostType is one of the best foundries for retro typefaces (midcentury and before). You can download type for free (for noncommercial projects) just by entering 0 in the price field. Note: if the type is for a commercial project, you must pay for the full license. it’s an honor system.

Indestructible Type is Owen Earl’s fantastic collection of opensource type. Check this out.

Colletivo is an Italian opensource type collective. You can download type for free (for all projects).

Kontrapunkt is a friendly Danish design house that puts out the occasional opensource font.

Open Foundry is an aggregator of good opensource type.

Fontain is the same.

Type Guidelines

DESKTOP FONTS

Use OpenType fonts (OTF) for any project that contains a print component. TrueType fonts (TTF) are not suitable for print applications. ALL comprehensive, cross-media projects should use OpenType fonts.

Don’t use the fonts that came with your computer or software. This is one of those warnings that often goes unheeded because people mistake it for snobbery. It isn’t. Here are just a few reasons why you shouldn’t use them:

  • They will get you pre-judged. Creative Directors screening portfolios will stop at the first instance of Comic Sans or Papyrus and move on to someone else. Don’t let someone ignore your work before they’ve even seen it.
  • Many of them are poorly designed versions of more comprehensive typefaces.
  • Many of them are built for screen use only and not suitable for comprehensive projects.
  • They’re ubiquitous. Sometimes fonts are designed well enough, but the fact that they’re bundled with operating systems or design software makes them severely overused and less-than-professional. Nothing says “I ran this design up quickly in Microsoft Word” like using Times New Roman. Nothing says “This design is worth no more than an internet meme” like using Impact. Nothing says, “I wanted this to look just like the iMovie my kids made for me” like Zapfino. Nothing says, “I chose this just because it was in the dropdown menu” like Myriad.
  • They may not be intended for English. With today’s global media, many international fonts come with your machine. You may not know that a certain typeface is meant for Thai or Devanagari or Cyrillic text, because it has a basic Roman character set.

Try as much as you can to stick with large, versatile font families—real type workhorses, and to avoid decorative fonts with limited use (like scripts, grungy fonts, and “Old English” type), except very sparingly, in treatments like headlines.

Never stretch or compress type. It should always be used at its original proportions.

KNOW WHAT TYPE YOU’RE USING. You should never answer the question, “What type are you using?” with, “I don’t know,” or, worse, “Some font I downloaded.” Type must be professional-quality and of good provenance, from a named designer with an eye toward traditional typographic standards (as regards metrics, proportion, etc.).

SUBSCRIBE TO A WEBFONT SERVICE. If Google fonts don’t fit the bill for a project (i.e., if you need something more premium), you should be subscribing to a webfont service and using it regularly.

We recommend Adobe’s TypeKit as a baseline webfont resource. You can sign up automatically during your Creative Cloud download, and from there, it’s easy to subscribe to one of their plans. Their Portfolio plan affords you use of their entire font library, with half a million discrete pageviews per month at $50 per year. That’s a pretty great deal. You probably spend exponentially more on coffee.