If you want to create eye-catching, show stopping marketing materials for your business/brand, the design process typically starts with choosing a great font for your design. But with a great font choices comes great responsibility to ensure all fonts used on a business product are commercially-licensed.
Let’s first take a step back and discuss what a commercial license means for fonts – and design/marketing materials in general. According to Hubspot, commercial use and licensing can be defined as:
“Commercial use describes any activity in which you use a product or service for financial gain. This includes whenever you use software to create marketing materials, since those materials are used for business purposes with the intention of increasing sales. Commercial activities include designing merchandise, or creating images for online or offline advertisements.”
At PIP Metro Indy, we want to ensure your designs are both high-quality… and legally created. Often times, the “free font” websites will cater primarily to personal use font downloads for items such as gifts to family & friends, around the house projects, or even school projects. These fonts should not be used for any kind of business-related marketing or print materials.
But where do you start the hunt for a commercially licensed font that fits your brand? Here are some our top picks to start your hunt, including both free and paid options:
FREE COMMERCIAL FONT WEBSITES:
- Google Fonts — https://fonts.google.com/
- Arguably the most recognizable font website, Google Fonts is PIP Metro Indy’s go-to resource for free, open source fonts. There is a wide range of weights, styles and even multilingual font options.
- Font Squirrel — https://www.fontsquirrel.com/
- Font Squirrel is another great — mostly free — font website for commercial use fonts. We highly advise you check out each font’s license to use to ensure it’s safe for commercial or web-based use. Here’s an easy guide from Qode Magazine: “The icon of the computer stands for commercial desktop use (for commercial graphics and documents). The globe shaped icon is for embedding the font in your website with CSS. The one that looks like a Kindle is for embedding fonts in eBooks and portable documents. And the one that looks like a phone is for embedding fonts in apps and software. If an icon is dark, that means you can use the font. If it’s light, then it’s illegal to commercially use the font.”
- FontSpace — https://www.fontspace.com/
- With over 86,000 fonts to choose from (and more added daily), FontSpace is a great resource for more of the eclectic fonts you need to use for your company’s project. You can browse a ton of styles and can get a sneak preview of what your word or phrase will look like in your selection.
- WildType — https://wildtype.design/
- A designer favorite, WildType has a creative selection of fonts to choose from for your next project. Although the large majority of the fonts available are free, keep in mind there are a handful that range in price, starting at $4.95+. If you’re looking to showcase a font you’ve created, WildType can help you there, too! Check out their submission page here.
- DaFont — https://www.dafont.com/
- DaFont is a sticky area of personal use and commercial use fonts, but if you can find one that is legal to use for your business projects, DaFont becomes a reliable source. Be sure to double and triple check the licensing before you use it on a project though!
- BeFonts — https://befonts.com/
- A subsidy of Envato Elements (mentioned below in the paid website selections), BeFonts puts designers in mind with their free font selections. From beautiful script types to professional sans serif choices and everything in between, the PIP Metro Indy team loves looking for inspiration here.
- Free Script Fonts — https://www.freescriptfonts.net/
- Almost daily, Free Script Fonts has a free, new commercial-use font available to download. Keep in mind, this is another subsidy of Envato Elements, so some fonts might have an additional expense. However, the large majority of fonts are available for free!
- FontsArena — https://fontsarena.com/
- In addition to a wide selection of resources on how to use web fonts, format types and the latest updates, FontsArena has an interesting selection of font categories for all of your commercial-use projects. Their licensing structure can be a bit confusing, so be sure to check out their licensing guide before using anything you download from FontsArena.
- Pinspiry Fonts — https://pinspiry.com/category/free-resources/fonts/
- If you’re looking for out of the box, graphic-like selections, Pinspiry Fonts’ free resource category is PIP Metro Indy’s go-to website. These fonts often mimic what you’d expect to see in a video game or in the latest sci-fi movie release, making it a one-of-a-kind font website.
- 1001 Free Fonts — https://www.1001freefonts.com/
- Contrary to its name, 1001 Free Fonts has over 60,000+ free fonts to use on your next commercial project. With 64 categories to choose from, there is no shortage of ideas, inspiration or the font you are looking for on this site. As we’ve cautioned before, we highly recommend checking out the licenses for the font you want to use before downloading. (1001 Free Fonts has a mix of personal and commercial fonts).
- Abstract Fonts — https://www.abstractfonts.com/
- Have you seen a font on a TV show or movie and wanted to use it on a commercial-use project? We’d venture to say Abstract Fonts has an eerily similar font available to download. If you have a font designer that you like, you can even search by designer or design shop.
- Urban Fonts — https://www.urbanfonts.com/
- Similar to DaFont, Urban Fonts has a great font preview window to see how your word/phrase would look in the selection. With over 54+ categories to choose from, Urban Fonts is another solid choice for fonts in every weight, style and option.
- Font Bundles — https://fontbundles.net/
- Font Bundles is the ultimate free and low-cost font download website. In addition to the free font selections, there are many $1 font bundle sales on Font Bundles’ most popular font choices. The website is updated very regularly with new fonts and styles, so keep checking back to see what’s new!
PAID COMMERCIAL FONT WEBSITES:
- Adobe Fonts — https://fonts.adobe.com/
- You’ll need an Adobe Creative Cloud subscription to access Adobe Fonts, but once you have an existing account, they’re included! There are 1,000+ fonts to choose; you can use them on both online Creative Cloud Projects and/or with Adobe’s desktop-based applications.
- Creative Fabrica — https://www.creativefabrica.com/
- For a one-time fee or monthly subscription, you can download thousands of commercial-use fonts with worldwide licenses. Plus, with the subscription offering, you can even download thousands of graphics, templates, resources and more included in your price.
- MyFonts — https://www.myfonts.com/
- MyFonts is another alternative that includes over 130,000+ fonts to choose from for your commercial project. The prices are very reasonable for small to mid-size companies looking to update their branding materials with the latest, greatest fonts on the market.
- Linotype — https://www.linotype.com/
- If you’re looking for some ultra-classic fonts, along with some creative new styles, Linotype is a great site to explore. There are many originals available for purchase that you can’t find anywhere else. For a quick reference, the prices fall in the $50 to $200+ range.
- Creative Market — https://creativemarket.com/
- Creative Market has a wide range of high-quality, paid fonts available. As a bonus, most font purchases qualify for additional free fonts and other graphic goodies. This makes the low purchase price an even better deal.
- Envato Elements — https://elements.envato.com/
- Envato Elements is not just a font website; you can download stock videos, photos, illustrations and more to compliment your new font choices. Plus, there are over 57+ million assets to choose from and use for commercial projects.
- FontHaus — https://www.fonthaus.com/
- Founded in 1990, FontHaus is a Michigan-based font design house that has unique fonts from period/antique looks to picturefonts and graphic choices. If you are looking to purchase numerous fonts, check into their quantity-based discount program to save money on your purchase.
- FontShop — https://www.fontshop.com/
- Like many of the other sites above, FontShop allows you to purchase fonts for your desktop, mobile and web-based projects. If you’re looking for better ways to manage your fonts, FontShop has also recently announced its new plugin for the Adobe Creative Cloud Suite and the FontBook iOS App.
- FontSpring — https://www.fontspring.com/
- FontSpring promises a worry-free font licensing experience, making the process very quick and easy for beginner and expert designers alike. In addition to the transparent licensing process, FontSpring has countless daily sales and bundle deals, making the purchase price very attainable for most commercial projects.
- Fonts.com — https://www.fonts.com/
- Most often referred to as the “original” font website, Fonts.com is the culmination of many of the paid websites and foundries listed above. There are several sections on the site for discounts, best-sellers, resources and web-only font options to explore.
- If you’re not sure where to start looking for a font that is similar to a current project or something you saw online that you liked, check out MyFont’s WhatTheFont tool here: https://www.myfonts.com/WhatTheFont/. You can upload a photo of your font and the algorithm will check the web for similar styles to match your reference photo.
While this list is not all-inclusive, these websites are great sources to kick-start your font journey – from inspiration to final product. Have a favorite site that we didn’t include? Drop us a note and let us know; we’d love to hear from you!
If you’d like to dive deeper into font licensing, we highly recommend checking out this article by FontFabric: “Font Licensing: The Ins and Outs of Legally Using Fonts.”