10 Free Workhorse Fonts You Should Be Using
Greetings fledgling designers, business owners, and lovers of fine type! I’m here today to highlight our favorite workhorse fonts that you can download for free.
Just what is a workhorse font?
Well, it’s one of those trusty fonts that you find yourself relying on, time and time again. They’re not the flashiest fonts–they’re not here to party or make a crazy statement–but they do allow your text to do what it’s supposed to do: get your point across simply and efficiently. After all, good design aims to solve problems, not create them. And let’s face it, your overly script-y brush font is creating far more problems than it’s helping to resolve.
So that being said, here’s our list of the top ten workhorse fonts you need to download ASAP
First on the list is Lato, a little font available in a ton of different weights that expertly balances both feminine and masculine traits. It can be serious, but it’s never overburdening, and it looks great on the web with its clear line flicks.
A modern take on the 250+-year-old classic, Libre Baskerville can up your copy with a bit of refinement and elegance, but it still manages to remain legible and grounded. Pair it with a beefy sans serif header (see League Spartan below) for some contrast, or keep it simple and play with the italic and bold versions of the font.
The League of Moveable Type is a wonderful open-source foundry that delivers high quality type to the masses for free. League Spartan is a font that only comes in bold, but it’s still a fairly versatile font that’s distinctive without being too attention-grabbing. Try it in place of Futura Bold and you might just find yourself slipping this font into your designs every chance you get.
At first glance, Kollektif might seem like an unassuming sans serif, suited for headers and subheaders, but the whimsical serifs on its “I” add an unexpected pop. It’s a playful element that easily brightens up your text.
Back in 2002, every elementary school project I typed would be titled with a bright, two-tone Wordart creation, ideally with a hard drop-shadow and always in Impact. But I’m older now, (hopefully) wiser, and I’ve graduated from Impact to League Gothic, a font that packs the oomph of a font like Impact but with none of the cheese.
I’m hoping that if you’ve gotten this far, I don’t have to explain Garamond to you. You know that this sweet Garamond font looks beautiful as paragraph text, and its old-world feel remains charming without getting in its own way. But, did you know that a free version exists? Like Libre Baskerville, Eb-Garamond is optimized for web and just as pretty as its granddad.
Oswald has a seriousness about it that reminds me of a newspaper headline, but there’s something about the font that’s engaging and slick. Plus its font family is huge so pairing within it is an absolute breeze.
Montsserat is a cute little font that plays just as strong supporting roles as it does doing header duty. It also has the advantage of being clean and easy-to-read making it a great choice for web.
When I think modern, I think Bebas Neue. The font is bold, striking, and makes a statement without overpowering your message. This font works best as a header, but its sharp geometric feel lends itself to a variety of different typographic needs.
DIN is something of a designer darling and with its clean-cut lines, and German efficiency it’s no surprise. This free version of the font translates well into both headers and text, making it just too easy to incorporate.
And that’s our roundup. Hopefully, these fonts help you take your designs to the next level, and become part of your regular workflow.