Fonts cost money, real money that can quickly cut into your budget and leave little else for purchasing imagery. As designers, we try to use all the tools available to us to create work that moves people, but it can be challenging to do so when budgets are tight and resources scarce. Legal licensing of fonts is critical and sharing purchased fonts strictly out of bounds, so what can we do to infuse our work with that needed voice that may be missing from our licensed font folio?
There are a few free or nearly free possibilities for designers and novice typographers that may help you get through the projects with little or no budgets.
dafont.com: Budding typographers and designers alike post their handmade fonts at dafont.com, all free (or almost free, depending on usage) for you to download and use. Dafont.com has Mac and PC fonts in virtually every genre and are categorized fairly well for easy searching.
(One caution: With all free fonts, there is always a possibility that the font you choose may not have all the characters or glyphs of a professionally created font, and novice typographers can sometimes create characters that can cause your RIP (Raster Image Processing) to crash, making your file unprintable. So check with your prepress operator or service bureau before you print to make sure your file will process correctly.)
Here are a few other “free fonts” sites to peruse. You’ll see a lot of crossover, but each has typefaces unique to their site.
Still can’t find what you’re looking for?
Why not make your own?
Creating a basic handwriting font can be very simple and takes less than an hour, but best of all, you can do it online for free! Fontcapture.com is one of many services available on the Net that can help you pen your own font. Though the character set is not exhaustive, and you may have to try a few times before you’re truly happy with how your font looks, it’s a quick-and-dirty solution that actually renders professional results.
Here is one I made recently for our TO SAVE A LIFE campaign. We’ve used it in books, marketing and advertising. We needed a handwritten face that felt like it could be from the pen of a teen, so I scratched out a quick printed face that felt informal and somewhat haphazard—something that clearly identifies the TO SAVE A LIFE program as one geared for the youth market.
Please feel free to download and use tosavealife.ttf on your next project if it works for you.
And please join us this fall as we celebrate NATIONAL TO SAVE A LIFE WEEK September 6-12 to help teens everywhere conquer depression and suicidal thoughts—and find salvation through Jesus Christ.
For more on the NATIONAL TO SAVE A LIFE WEEK, visit tosavealifemovie.com/tsalweek