As a web designer, you’re probably well aware of the importance of typeface. With the growing amount of businesses engaging in content marketing, font selection is becoming all the more crucial.
There’s nothing worse than coming across a website with awesome content and horrible typeface. One of your main goals as a designer is ensuring a positive experience for the end-user.
The advent of Google Fonts has certainly made life easier for designers and developers. If you’re not familiar with Google Fonts, you should be. All of the fonts are open source, which mean you can use them in every way you want: privately or commercially; in print, on your computer, or in your websites. You can even customize them for your own use, or collaborate with the original designer to improve them. The only truly difficult part is sorting through the hundreds of styles available. So how do you find the good ones? Start with this essential list…
Raleway is an elegant sans-serif typeface, originally designed in a single thin weight. It was later expanded into a 9-weight family. This display face features old style and lining numerals, standard and discretionary ligatures. It also has a pretty complete set of diacritics, as well as a stylistic alternate inspired by more geometric sans-serif typefaces.
Lato (which means ‘summer’ in Polish) was originally designed as a set of corporate fonts. It’s a sans serif typeface family is designed by Warsaw-based designer Åukasz Dziedzic. After it was conceived for a large client, who in the end decided to go in different stylistic direction, the family became available for a public release. The semi-rounded details of the letters give Lato a feeling of warmth, while the strong structure provides stability and seriousness.
3. Open Sans
Open Sans has a neutral and friendly appearance. It’s a humanist sans-serif typeface designed by Steve Matteson. Open Sans was designed with an upright stress, open forms and a neutral, yet friendly appearance. And as far as I’m concerned, it’s become the Helvetica of the open source type world. It was optimized for print, web, and mobile interfaces, and has excellent legibility characteristics in its letterforms.
This typeface is inspired by the old posters and signs in the traditional neighborhood of Buenos Aires called Montserrat. Designed by Julieta Ulanovsky, this typeface evokes the modernist style of the early 20th century. However, it feels less formal than a font like Futura. Montserrat comes in 3 variants right now, the original regular version, an alternate caps version and “Subrayada”, which have built in underlining.
5. PT Sans
PT Sans is based on Russian sans-serif types of the second part of the 20th century. But at the same time has distinctive features of contemporary humanistic designs. PT Sans is the first pan-Cyrillic font family developed for the project ‘Public Types of the Russian Federation’. PT Sans is designed for use together with PT Serif, and is harmonized across metrics, proportions, weights and design.
6. Droid Sans
Optimized for user interfaces, Droid Sans is a humanist sans-serif typeface designed by Steve Matteson. Droid Sans was designed with open forms and a neutral, yet friendly appearance. It’s one of the Google Fonts best optimized for user interfaces and to be comfortable for reading on a mobile handset in menus, web browser and other screen text.
7. Old Standard TT
Old Standard reproduces a specific type of modern style of serif typefaces. Designed by Alexey Kryukov, it’s considered a good choice for typesetting body copy, as its specific features are closely associated in people’s eyes with old books they learned on.
Roboto is one of the Google Fonts that feature friendly and open curves. A good replacement for Univers, the goal of this font was not to allow distorted letterforms to force a rigid rhythm. In contrast, Roboto doesn’t compromise by allowing letter to be settled into their natural width. This makes for a more natural reading rhythm more commonly found in humanist and serif types.
The Ubuntu Font Family is designed for clarity on desktop and mobile sites. Created by Dalton Maag, Ubuntu was started to enable the personality seen and felt in every menu, button and dialog. The typeface is sans serif, uses OpenType features and is manually hinted for clarity on desktop and mobile computing screens.
10. Libre Baskerville
Libre Baskerville is another of the Google Fonts optimized for body text – typically at 16px. It’s based on the American Type Founder’s Baskerville from 1941, but it has a taller x-height, wider counters and a little less contrast. Thus allowing it to work well for reading on-screen.
You should now be equipped with the necessary tools to incorporate some awesome fonts into your next print, web and mobile designs. However, this is by no means an exhaustive list and I definitely encourage you to browse Google Fonts for yourself.
If you think we’ve left out any awesome Google Fonts, make sure to leave us a comment below.
Daniel is an Art Director and Graphic Designer with over a decade of experience in advertising and marketing in the Greater Toronto Area.