The design world is experiencing a major serif comeback in the last couple of years. Especially in branding projects, rumor has it, serif is the one to go for. Serif fonts originally carry formal, authoritarian qualities (are you also thinking Times New Roman right now?), however the old serif we know and not-so love underwent a big change. The new take on serif fonts comes with luxurious, warm, character-filled, groovy aesthetic. We listed the best twelve of them for your designs – and yes, all of them are free!
I mean, look at this font! Doesn’t it make you want to prepare your portfolio all over again, only using Blackest? Or maybe you’ll just update the cover page? This is a great example of new and updated serif style, characteristic and bold. Blackest font supports 217 languages, it is edgy and inclusive -talk about the whole package. This free trial version also comes with an extensive glyph library, try different combinations and have fun with it.
2. Playfair Display
This is the font you’ve been seeing in every small business owner’s card nowadays. And how stylish businesses they are! It is accessible and seems luxurious at the same time. Playfair Display partly owes its popularity to being a variable font, meaning that it comes with different weight variations and italic versions in one file- to be exact, it has twelve.
This one was tricky, it looks like sans yet it has serif qualities. Well, who am I to label fonts? Serif or sans serif, Coconat is a great font that is free for personal and commercial use. When used in display-only bold version, it gives a totally different feeling, and its two versions combine beautifully.
4. Baskerville Old Face
It’s timeless, it’s elegant and we owe it all to John Baskerville. The serif font that pave the way for its successors: Baskerville. Since 18th century many different versions of Baskerville came out, Baskerville Old Face is one of the contemporary adaptations. You just can’t go wrong with this classic.
Edgy like the Blackest, playful like the Playfair Display, Mirador is the best of both worlds. It has both masculine and feminine qualities, a total wildcard! It also can pair many different font types thanks to its contrasting thin and bold details. You definitely need this neoclassical font in your library.
Qaligo is another luxurious, elegant and curvy serif font. Like it is meant to be used in logos and branding, yet, unfortunately it is free for personal use only. However, it does not prevent you from experimenting with the demo version and trying new cool pairings.
7. South Amsterdam
Okay, you caught me, I confess. South Amsterdam is my new favorite font right now! Where do I start? First, it is very versatile; it is a display font yet eligible and thin. It is modern and elegant yet spirited and whimsical. It is fun without being very funky. This is the demo version and free for personal use only, so don’t get your hopes up and start dreaming about using it in your new logo design. Nonetheless, it would be a great addition to your library.
Engravers is an all-caps font with sharp and clean details. Especially the bold display version would look very striking in your designs. Font family includes several different weights and they could pair up with sans serif fonts easily. It would surely attract attention when used in your next poster design.
Celesse is a curvy, smooth and classy font. Especially the “t” in this font is very unique. It owes its modern feeling to the contrast between the bold and thin lines. It would definitely add a classic appearance to your projects. (Also, how good it looks in this color combination!)
10. Kraken Slab Air
All in all a unique font: Kraken Slab Air. Firstly, what is up with its name? Secondly, why it is so thin? It looks like a skeleton of a font, so cool. Its creators says the font was inspired by the 19th century English Antiques, and now looking at it, I can see the connection. It has a whole family with increasing weights (as if it could get thinner), yet only this version is offered as free.
Herbert is another font that uses the impressive effect of strong contrast between thick and thin. It almost looks like drawn with stencil pen. It would look great on titles with bold colors. Also, the commas in this font are gorgeous.
12. Fish & Chips
Let’s end this post on a high note. Fish & Chips is a fun serif font that would look great on the right project. It has a handwriting appearance and offers a limited yet very cool glyph library.
So, did you find this post helpful? Have you discovered a new free serif font on this list? Do you have any serif font recommendations for me? Please let me know in the comments. I hope at least one of these fonts will take its place in your next project!
If you’re curious about our favorite free sans serif fonts, stay tuned for the next part of this series.