Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Best Free Fonts

For a lighter change of pace, check out the best Free Fonts available on the Web. I've tried them with good results. The prior post was written in Vollkorn, from Friedrich Althausen and it is simply beautiful. Containing pretty much everything you'd need in terms of glphys, kerning pairs, accented characters (naturally for a German) and special characters, it reads delightfully on my screen in Ubuntu 10.4 Linux and Abiword. This post is written in Antykwa Poltawskiego, which is a revival of a Polish font used in the Twenties and Thirties done originally by the designer of that last name, and revived by the gifted Januz Marian Nowacki. It too looks beautiful, link here.

The first link, here, will get you to URW free versions of Palatino (done by the incomparable Hermann Zapf, yes the guy behind Zapf Chancery), as well as Goudy versions, Bembo (called Cardo), and of course (at the URW link) Garamond. One of the more hopeful things is the enthusiasm by type designers for reviving and preserving the old type faces, particularly those of the Renaissance and early printing, as well as "National Fonts" that preserve the unique smallness and locality of the nations they represent.

Vollkorn is beautiful, but retains enough of the German "Blackletter" aka Gothic/Schwabacher character to be interesting, while still highly readable. Poltawskiego looks like it came off a book from 1928, and is quite beautiful in a Beaux Arts Way.

Pride in the greatness of European heritage is not yet entirely dead. Against the Occupy people literally pooping at St. Paul's Cathedral is the enthusiasm of middle aged, middle class men for reviving the great type faces of the past. Heck one man even wrote a book about it, even if he does spend far too much time lauding Barack Obama in a way unbecoming for an ostensibly straight man.

Often it is the little things that tell you much about a person, or a society. This is one thing that is quite hopeful.


jules said...

The League of movable type has some really good free ones.

To read your blog and many other news items, I use the Readability extension on Firefox, and the Readability Redux extension on Chrome.

Speaking of fonts, the way the GOP nom candidates run their branding is atrocious. They're still using Trajan from every Hollywood movie poster. No recognizable logos of any kind. Look at Obama's campaign site.

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