Looking for free fonts for your website? In years gone by you’d have to find each font individually, download the TTF file and install it on your computer before you could use it. If you wanted to use those fonts on your website then you could pretty much forget it; websites didn’t allow for custom fonts to be downloaded by your visitor’s web browsers. Thankfully it’s all a lot easier these days.
There are now a couple of free services that make browsing, selecting and using these fonts on your website much easier. They’ll still allow you to download the font files to your computer too in case you want to use them in apps like Photoshop or Illustrator.
Google Fonts is a web service that houses a library of over 800 libre licensed fonts. What does libre licensed mean? It means that you’re allowed to use the fonts on your personal or commercial website without paying any royalties.
When you visit the Google Fonts website you’ll be greeted with a wall of different typefaces along with a sample of each. The great thing about these samples is that you can replace the text with your own just by clicking the sample text and typing.
Once you’ve found a font that you want to add to your website, click the + in the corner of the box and it will be added to your collection.
When you’ve finished, click the box that’s appeared at the bottom of the window and you’ll find a single line of code to add to your website – it really is as easy as that!
Typekit is Adobe’s web font library and is similar to Google’s offering. However, the fonts in Adobe’s library have a range of different licenses. Whereas all of the fonts in Google Fonts are libre licensed, some of the fonts in Adobe Typekit’s library required a paid license. We’ve found that most of the free fonts in Typekit are also present in Google Fonts.
Paying for a font isn’t necessarily a bad thing – if the perfect font for your website is housed here then it may be worth paying to have it on your website. The paid plans aren’t cheap though – the plans range from $49 per month to $400 per month depending on how many monthly visitors you have to your site.
Which is best?
For most projects, Google Fonts does the job admirably. There are a range of high-quality fonts and you won’t need to worry about restrictions to the number of visitors to your site. However, if none of the Google Fonts meet your needs (unlikely!) then you might want to go for one of Adobe Typekit’s paid plans. Be prepared to spend big if this is the case though as their premium plans are a monthly commitment.
One last thing
Having a greater selection of fonts to use on your website can only be a good thing. However, be mindful of two things. Firstly, less is usually more. In other words, don’t go crazy and add five fonts to a single page to jazz things up – it will probably look awful. Instead, consider sticking with just one or two fonts. A service like fontpair.co can help you to choose two fonts that go well together.
Also, be mindful of download sizes. If you’re using any of the font services listed above then the fonts will have to be downloaded by each visitor. This isn’t an issue if you’re just using one or two fonts. However, the download size can climb quickly if you’re using more than one or two styles. Google Fonts will actually warn you of download sizes when you get to the final step of their process.