I was asked recently “Are free fonts good enough for my website?” This started a discussion on selecting the proper font face.  Many do not understand the importance of typography or appreciate that the proper font face will make web page text easier for visitors to read.  Use the right typeface for your website and your users will appreciate the effort.  Although most users may never notice the font used but they will find reading the text easier.

According to What Font Is, there are over 344,000 different font faces available today: and that number keeps growing.  While some fonts are proprietary and not released for public use, there are places you can find free fonts which look great on a website.

Get free fonts from Google

Google Web Fonts (GWF) is free to use and there is no limit to the amount of traffic used.  Currently, there are 808 GWF font families available for use.  Google stores the fonts on their own server.  An added feature of GWF is you can download the fonts and use them in other projects such as posters, letterheads, and business cards (helping create your own branding).

To use GWF, simply include a link to https://fonts.googleapis.com in the head of your webpage and style the web page elements to use the font using the font-family property in your stylesheet.  You can add several font faces in the link to the Google Font API. The top recommended Google fonts are Open Sans, Josefin Slab, Arvo, Lato, and Ubuntu.  I love the Lato and Ubuntu fonts.

When selecting fonts from GWF, one rule I follow is to use serif fonts for headlines (larger text) and sans-serif fonts for normal text (articles).  Sans-serif fonts are typically easier to read.  Note that you should only use two to three fonts in your web design.  Selecting the right free font will make your text easier to read and your website visitors will appreciate the effort.

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