Five Resources for Open Source Fonts

by Ostatic Staff - Sep. 23, 2009

When it comes to fonts, Helvetica or Arial is good enough for some people. Creative types and Web designers, however, love the nuances and subtle differences in a wide variety of digital typefaces.

There are plenty of Web sites to download fonts that are low- or no-cost, but finding free and open source fonts is a little more difficult. Here are five resources to check out the next time you need something with just the perfect slope or serif.

GNU FreeFont - Here's a group of scalable outline fonts designed for computers and desktop publishing. They're Unicode-encoded and contain a variety of characters from writing systems including Braille, Hebrew, Thai, and Cherokee. FreeFont even offers symbol characters for both technical and decorative use.

Orgdot Open Source - This batch of fonts is designed for flash sites and must be used according to a very specific set of provided guidelines for them to render correctly on a Web site. If you're new to working with fonts that have been custom made for Flash, then be sure to check out some of the handy documentation and tutorials provided by the designers.

imjustcreative - Not every font on this site is available as open source, but many are. They range from old-timey League Gothic to Blackout that's perfect for displays and posters.

Open Font Library - This sister project of the Open Clip Art Library was created as a way to corral all free open source fonts in one central location. It currently houses more than 160 fonts ranging from funky and artistic to classic sans-serif. The site also has a review section, wiki, and a mailing list to encourage designer participation.

Bitstream Vera - This font family is incorporated into GNOME releases and all its variations -- from Sans to Bold Oblique -- are available for free download, modification, and redistribution. They are created in TrueType format and can be sold with any software.

If you want to know more about how Web designers feel about free-as-in-beer and free-as-in-speech fonts, the Free Font Manifesto has a lot of great information. Red Hat Magazine also has a great article that explains how open source fonts are licensed.

Flickr image courtesy of myklroventine