Do you know anyone who is dying to waste hours and hours of fruitless hunting on font sites just to see page after page ugly fonts? It can be so easy to get bogged down but all you really need is a little bit of font know-how.
Lucky for you – I’m here to help!!
The primary categories of fonts are sans serif, serif, decorative, and script fonts. Each font style has specific characteristics, strengths, and weaknesses, so you have plenty of room to try out different styles and see what really works for your band. Below you’ll find my favorite free [for commercial use!] font samples so you can compare each side-by-side for each category. Each image is a click-through to the site where you can download for free.
So what makes a font good or bad?????
What to look out for in downloading
There is a shit-ton of font downloading sites and if they are any good, you will be able to select from categories to search from, styles, and the license type.
Common font license types:
- Free for personal use – cannot be used on commercial (read, to be resold) goods, personal use can refer to scrapbooking, prints and fliers, t-shirts for charities, personal blogs
- Free for commercial use – can be used for any purpose, can be used on goods to sell, commercial use can refer to business cards, logos, advertising, t-shirts sold for money, flyers for events that charge admission, anything that will generate direct or indirect income
- 100% Free
- Public domain
HEADS UP – if you are planning on using any font you download on merch you intend to sell, you have to have the correct permissions to use it! “Free for personal use” does not cover licensing for use on products for sale. You will need to stick to fonts that are “100% Free”, “Donationware”, “Public domain” or “Shareware”. These fonts will be free for your use, both commercial and personal, or simply require a Tweet or share on Facebook to spread the word – exactly what you need!
Be wary of “Demo” fonts as they will likely be lower-quality, incomplete fonts (meaning you will not have the entire alphabet (upper and lower-case), numbers, or special characters) and likely created by student designers first trying their hand at font creation. A great way to head off this issue is to type your sample text [like your band’s name] into the font site’s sample font preview – then you can preview hundreds of fonts all at once, all showing in your band’s name!
Sans Serif Fonts:
These are the standard, no fuss, no decoration fonts. Excellent for areas where you need a lot of text like concert tour dates and venues on the back of a tour t-shirt. Some fonts will have a lot of personality and will work wonderfully with your band’s style, and some will come out like a wet fart…. [*boohiss*] so Try, Try, Try them all!!!
Serif fonts are the more-popular older sister of Sans Serif Fonts. These will have small accents to different parts of each letter. These fonts are usually very readable and also work very well when you need a lot of legible text.
Awesome Free Serif Fonts:
Easily the widest selection of fonts and styles, Decorative fonts cover the gamut of “Everything else” in fonts. When hunting for decorative fonts it is helpful to have several keywords ready for how you want your design to feel – girly, whimsical, aggressive, flashback, masculine, etc. – so that you can have a more targeted search through these font sites.
These fonts can be most accurately described as handwriting, or cursive style. There is a huge range of styles available and they’re wonderful for bands who want a classic or handwritten look for their logo and merch. These fonts are best used sparingly, as the headline or major idea of the design, then paired with a sans serif font for the detail text.
Take a look at your band's name in these fonts by going to their website, then make sure to compare your favorite to several more to be certain you have the perfect font. Looking for some awesome online design resources? Check out this post to learn more!