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In the recent past I’ve written about Free Fonts – the pros and cons, the ins and outs, etc. Another piece of that “typographic” puzzle is an additional category of free font, commonly referred to as open source fonts. The term “open source” stems from a reference to software, but since fonts are considered software, the term aptly applies to them as well. Open source fonts refers to those fonts that are made available for free, usually for both private and commercial use. The open source fonts we are now discussing are, in most cases, more professional in quality than the novice, or “hobbyist” efforts discussed in the previous column.
Open source fonts are more than just free fonts – they are part of a movement, or a philosophy if you will, that strives towards making quality fonts freely available for both personal and professional use. Some are totally freeware, while others are shareware, which means they are free to download and use, but with a small fee or donation requested (some on the honor system) if you like and use the font. The best open source fonts are found on a handful of websites where the font collection is managed, as opposed to those sites that allow anyone to upload their fonts with little or no review, or filtering process. Most open source fonts are designed and intended for use on the web (Web fonts), but some are appropriate for print use as well.
Here is a list of some of the best, and most reliable sites for open source fonts:…