Whether you’re putting together a resume, flyer, or web page, everyone needs to find and compare fonts some time. Here are some tools that can help you find the perfect font.
In all we’re looking at a slate of excellent tools you can use to organise your fonts and identify and compare them; then we’ll take a quick look at some great resources for downloading new fonts; and finally, we’ll show you how you can make your own font, pixel-by-pixel or from your own handwriting.
Organise and Preview Fonts
Every operating system comes with a built-in font viewer and installer, but sometimes the out-of-the-box options don’t cut it for serious font work. Take a look at a few alternatives.
Stealing is the sincerest form of flattery, so when you see a killer font and think, “I want that!” you also want to hit up one of these tools.
If you’re working on an ongoing project that requires choosing fonts—or you just want to get more familiar with typography—consider printing out this nifty “Periodic Table of Typefaces” for your office wall (original post).
Free Font Downloads
There are countless places online to both purchase fonts or download them for free. Here are a few good sources for font freebies.
Dafont—One of our favourites, preview fonts live online and download the ones you like.
Font Squirrel—”Free fonts for graphic designers, all with commercial-use licenses.”
1001 Free Fonts—Offers separate Windows and Mac versions with online preview and licence information.
If you’re suffering from font overload, rely on the experts’ picks for best fonts. Designer Vitaly Friedman lists his 25 best free quality fonts here. (Got another quality list of free fonts? Post ’em up in the comments.)
Make Your Own Fonts
Finally, if someone else’s font doesn’t cut it for you, there are a few ways to make your own.
Design your font pixel by pixel: If your chicken scratch won’t make a good font, you can design a custom font online with the easy FontStruct (our original post). While it’s not a pro tool, FontStruct lets you draw your font pixel-by-pixel in your web browser and download the results. Do the whole alphabet or a single letter, and browse the typographical creations others have created there.
What’s your favourite font or typography tool? Let us know in the comments.
Gina Trapani, Lifehacker’s founding editor, could spend all day playing with fonts. Her feature Smarterware appears every week on Lifehacker.