Many posts have been written on the topic of best free fonts. Therefore, I’d like to approach it differently.
Here, have a picture:
You should click on that picture to see the large version. And if your screen isn’t big enough and your browser thinks the image would look better downsized — your browser is wrong: click on the zoom button and view the picture in its original size.
As you can see, there are only 14 fonts. Surely there must be more quality fonts available for free? Yes, there are. This is a small selection of only the best of the best.
Now that you have the original picture open, let’s have a look at those 14 fonts (all available either in otf or in ttf):
- Antykwa Toruńska is a very original typeface created by Polish type designer Zygfried Gardzielewski in 1960. It was digitised by Janusz Marian Nowacki. The font contains many obscure glyphs (various diacritical marks, math symbols, etc.) and is available in light, regular, medium and bold versions, each of which has its own italics.
- Typo Latin Serif is a slab serif (egyptian) typeface with an extremely large x-height. It was created by a German type designer Manfred Klein.
- The DejaVu fonts are based on the excellent Bitstream Vera typefaces and extended by additional glyphs. They are well hinted so they preserve their onscreen readability even in small sizes.
- Palatino is a typeface by Hermann Zapf, a pioneer of computer typography. Palladio L is a free Palatino clone created by URW in cooperation with Hermann Zapf. You can download it in URW fonts pack (together with 79 other fonts).
- Gentium, a typeface for the nations by Victor Gaultney, extensive unicode support.
- Optima is another wonderful typeface by Hermann Zapf. You can download it as MgOpen Cosmetica.
- Bembo is a dynamic antiqua created by Francesco Griffo in 1496. The font Cardo, based on Bembo typeface, was created by David Perry.
- Vollkorn is an old style numerals featuring typeface which was created by Friedrich Althausen. Old style numerals own.
- Computer Modern is a Didone typeface created by professor Donald Ervin Knuth.
- Avant Garde by Herb Lubalin can be downloaded in the above mentioned URW font pack where it is known as URW Gothic L.
- Goudy Bookletter 1911 is a reincarnation of Frederic Goudy’s Kennerley Old Style by Barry Schwartz (funny thing, another Barry Schwartz… there is also Barry Schwartz the SEO and Barry Schwarts the psychologist from Paradox of choice). By the way, have I mentioned that old style numerals own?
- Helvetica by Max Miedinger. Perhaps the most famous and most abused typeface ever (seriously, fuck Arial). Helvetica isn’t any less awesome now than it was 50 years ago. This version was created by Magenta Ltd. and is available in the MgOpen pack as MgOpen Moderna.
- Geo Sans Light is a font by Manfred Klein, which is based on Futura, a geometric typeface created by Paul Renner in 1926.
- Garamond. The best serif typeface ever. For the third time, URW font pack.
The picture was created with Inkscape. Inkscape rocks. For anything that you think might be vector use Inkscape. Generally, GIMP for photo editing, Inkscape for everything else. It enables very easy manual kerning, and after you are done, you can convert the letters to paths (Bezier), and continue making changes (not sure whether that was clear — anyway go and try it out :)).
Ah, I almost forgot — you can get the SVG source file (already converted to paths, as I don’t suppose you have all the fonts installed).
Got other excellent free fonts? Feel free to leave a comment!