Great OFL Typefaces

Type Samples Designed
by Jared Updike

Inspired by the excellent selection of typefaces featured on Chad Mazzola’s Beautiful Web Type project, this page showcases additional suggestions for high-quality, generally useful fonts. Start with those great fonts on BWT, and consider the ones listed here if you need additional high-quality options.

Serif  •  Sans  •  Display  •  About

§

Serif Typefaces

font samples for Besley

Besley
by Owen Earl of
Indestructible Type

✓ 12 styles, including italics
✓ Variable font available

font samples for Bitter Pro

Bitter Pro
by Sol Matas
& Huerta Tipográfica

✓ 18 styles, including italics
✓ Small caps available for all styles
✓ Variable font available

font samples for Bodoni Moda

Bodoni Moda
by Owen Earl of
Indestructible Type

✓ 96 styles (6 weights ✕ 8 optical sizes), including italics
✓ Variable font available, with optical axis
✓ Small caps available for all styles

font samples for Elstob

Elstob
by Thornbec Staefwyrhta & others

✓ 14 styles, including italics
✓ Variable font available with weight, optical size & grade axes
✓ Small caps available for all styles

font samples for Fanwood

Fanwood (+ Fanwood Text)
by Barry Schwartz
& The League of Moveable Type

✓ 2 styles, regular & italics
✓ Slightly thicker Fanwood Text available, for smaller sizes
✓ Slightly thinner Fanwood available on Github, for larger display sizes

font samples for Faustina

Faustina
by Omnibus-Type

✓ 12 styles, including italics
✓ Variable font available

font samples for Ibarra Real Nova

Ibarra Real Nova
by José María Ribagorda
& Octavio Pardo

✓ 8 styles, including italics
✓ Variable font available

font samples for Libre Baskerville New

Libre Baskerville New
by Pablo Impallari & others

✓ 5 styles, including regular italic and four roman weights

font samples for Manuale

Manuale
by Omnibus-Type

✓ 8 styles, including italics
✓ Variable font available

font samples for Merriweather

Merriweather
by Peter Sorkin & others

✓ 120 styles, including italics, widths, etc.
✓ Variable font axes: weight, optical size, width
✓ Small caps available for all styles
Merriweather Sans available. Pairs well with Fira Sans.

font samples for Newsreader

Newsreader
by Production Type

✓ 14 styles, including italics × 3 optical sizes = 42 styles
✓ Variable font available with weight & optical size axes

font samples for Petrona

Petrona
by Ringo R. Seeber

✓ 18 styles, including italics
✓ Small caps available for all styles
✓ Variable font available

font samples for Piazzolla

Piazzolla
by Huerta Tipográfica

✓ 18 styles, including italics
✓ Small caps available for all styles
✓ Variable font available, with weight & optical size axes

font samples for Sorts Mill Goudy

Sorts Mill Goudy
by Barry Schwartz
& The League of Moveable Type

✓ 2 styles, regular and italics

§

Sans-serif Typefaces

font samples for Cabin

Cabin
by Pablo Impallari & others

✓ 24 styles, including italics, 4 weights & 3 widths
✓ Variable font available, with weight & width axes

font samples for Epilogue

Epilogue
by Tyler Finck of
ETC Type Co.

✓ 18 styles, including italics
✓ Small caps available for all styles
✓ Variable font available

font samples for Georama

Georama
by Production Type

✓ 108 styles, including italics, 9 weights & 6 widths
✓ Small caps available for all styles
✓ Variable font available, with weight & width axes

font samples for Montserrat

Montserrat (+ Alternates)
by Julieta Ulanovsky & others

✓ 18 styles, including italics
✓ Small caps available for all styles
✓ Alternate glyphs available for many letters (18 styles)

font samples for Mulish

Mulish
by Vernon Adams & others

✓ 16 styles, including italics
✓ Variable font available

font samples for Red Hat Text / Red Hat Display

Red Hat Text (+ Red Hat Display)
by MCKL Type & others

✓ 14 styles, including italics (across Text & Display versions)

font samples for Ysabeau

Ysabeau
by Catharsis Fonts

✓ 21 styles, including italics
✓ Small caps available for all roman styles
✓ Alternate glyphs available in Ysabeau Infant and Ysabeau Office fonts

§

Display Typefaces

font samples for Anybody

Anybody
by Tyler Finck of
ETC Type Co.

✓ 90 files: weights; slant; widths, ultra condensed to extra expanded
✓ Small caps for all styles, some alternate glyphs
✓ Variable font available

font samples for Cinzel and Cinzel Decorative

Cinzel (+ Cinzel Decorative)
by Natanael Gama

✓ 6 weights, no italics
✓ Swash caps (decorative alternate capitals)
✓ Small caps (no lowercase)
✓ Variable font available

font samples for Cormorant Garamond

Cormorant (+ Garamond, etc.)
by Catharsis Fonts

✓ 9 styles (roman, italic, infant, infant italic, Garamond, Garamond italic, upright cursive, unicase) & 5 weights
✓ Small caps available for all roman styles

font samples for DM Serif

DM Serif Display (+ Text)
by Collophon Foundry &
Frank Grießhammer & others

✓ 4 styles, including italics, display & text

font samples for Eczar

Eczar
by Rosetta Type

✓ 5 weights, no italics

font samples for Encode Sans

Encode Sans
by Pablo Impallari & others

✓ 45 styles, for 9 weights & 5 widths, no italics
✓ Small caps available for all styles
✓ Variable font available

font samples for Fugaz One

Fugaz One
by LatinoType

✓ 1 style (bold italic)
✓ Conventional, geometric caps
✓ Unique, script lowercase

font samples for Hepta Slab

Hepta Slab
by Mike LaGattuta

✓ 9 styles, no italics
✓ Small caps available for all styles
✓ Variable font available

font samples for Imbue

Imbue
by Tyler Finck of
ETC Type Co.

✓ 9 styles, no italics × 3 optical sizes
✓ Variable font available, optical & weight axes
✓ Small caps available for all styles

font samples for Josefin Sans

Josefin Sans
by Santiago Orozco

✓ 10 styles, including italics
✓ Variable font available
Josefin Slab available

font samples for Ruda

Ruda
by Mariela Monsalve
& Angelina Sanchez

✓ 6 weights, no italics
✓ Variable font available

font samples for Saira

Saira
by Omnibus-Type

✓ 18 styles, including italics, per width
✓ 6 widths ✕ 18 styles = 108 instances
✓ Variable font available

font samples for Sansita and Sansita Swashed

Sansita (+ Sansita Swashed)
by Omnibus-Type

✓ 7 styles, regular and italics
✓ Italics-only Sansita Swash available (all 8 weights)
✓ Variable font available for Sansita Swash

font samples for Stint

Stint
by Brian J. Bonislawsky of Astigmatic

✓ 2 widths, no italics: Ultra Expanded & Ultra Condensed

About

The Serif and Sans-serif sections contain fonts that should be suitable for body copy, smaller sizes, and longer passages for sustained reading, as well as user interface work (and of course for display or headings, large sizes). The Display fonts are intended for headings and the like, and generally have fewer styles available or are missing italics, etc. The Display faces may need to be paired with a suitable serif or sans-serif font to develop an entire system, depending on the use case.

All fonts are available under the SIL OFL license. This license allows anyone to use the fonts for free in commercial applications such as print, websites and desktop and mobile applications, and to modify or redistribute fonts (under a different name, and under the same license) as long as the fonts themselves (or derivatives) are not for sale. The fonts are generally hosted by Google at Google Fonts, and generally available for download on Github. (Sometimes the Github repos feature better OTF downloads that support Open Type features not available in the Google Fonts TTF versions. Sometimes the Google Fonts versions lack features like real small caps, whereas the Github download may support this feature.)

Rant

Much ado has been made about the quality of “free fonts” or Google Fonts as a whole, and much of it is well-placed criticism. Generally, you get what you pay for, and free (public domain, gratis not libre) fonts are generally very poor in quality and a waste of time, and in my not-so-humble opinion, Google Fonts or Font Squirrel would be better resources if they had a higher standard for quality and focused on curation instead of sheer quantity. However, when a brilliant type designer such as Matthew Butterick blasts all of the typefaces on Google Fonts as not being opens source, or if anyone out there claims that the existence of lists of Top Forty Best Fonts on Google Fonts is proof that Google Fonts is a completely lost cause, that strikes me as patently erroneous.

Additionally, despite Mr. Butterick’s claims about the lack of collaboration on existing OFL or Google Fonts typefaces, there actually have been some interesting and important posthumous developments by the community on some beautiful type designs started by, for example, the late Vernon Adams, an impossibility in a proprietary-font world. This feels like a lemons-into-lemonade situation, and very much in the spirit of open source culture.

Consider the fact that the entire world of proprietary fonts is so vast, and filled with such a variety of fonts of varying quality that even the very foundational, expensive, and proprietary Adobe Font Folio includes a few strange fonts with very narrow use cases, such as dingbats of various sorts, or Critter, Cutout or Rad Std. If AFF deserves a worst-of list and a best-of list, then what does that tell us?

The fact that Mr. Butterick himself graciously guides his reader toward some wonderful (proprietary) font recommendations tells us that font selection and discovery is a hard problem, no matter where you look. If proprietary fonts are magically so great, then why do we need Best of the Year lists and Typewolf and Fonts in Use and all of that? Yes, well-designed proprietary font families are worth their weight(s) in gold, and there may be more proprietary workhorse families, but that does not mean there are not some very high quality open-licensed fonts that fit the same bill.

In addition you might elect to support type designers by paying someone to develop an existing OFL font family to your specifications, similar to the proprietary type world where custom fonts can be commissioned, except the work released would go back out into the world to everyone’s benefit. Where do you think a lot of these families came from?

About the Designer

See Updike.org for more about Jared Updike, and his various projects.