Knowing which print fonts to choose for your project can be challenging. Check out our font facts below to determine which font type is right for your product catalogs, marketing sell sheets, menus and more.
Free Print Fonts
Free print fonts are created by designers who are passionate about fonts and want to add value to the community without charging a price for their work. Many websites offer online printing services like free fonts, but it is important to read the disclaimers, as some fonts are only free for personal use. To use printing fonts for commercial projects, the author of the fonts may ask for a donation.
- They’re FREE!
- Easy to find and use
- Plenty to choose from
- For non-commercial use
- May be missing letters or glyphs
- They’re often single-weight fonts
Commercial Print Fonts
These print fonts are produced by design companies that spend hours creating and modifying font collections. They are precisely and expertly created. Companies like House Industries and OkayType hire top-notch font designers to create beautiful fonts such as Rat Fink and Latino. They sell these fonts for profit and to help fund future font projects.
- Designed professionally
- Full online support
- Multiple-weight fonts
- High costs
- You may have to purchase multiple licenses
- There may be similar-looking free fonts
Common Font Types
Once you decide on a free or commercial font for your online printing project, there are a few font types you should be familiar with. The ones used most often are PostScript, TrueType and OpenType.
These print fonts were created by Adobe Systems and consist of two parts. The “screen” font suitcase holds all the information to produce the font on your computer screen. If you are missing the screen suitcase, your font could look bitmapped (or pixelated) on the screen.
You also need the second part of the font, the “printer” font, to work properly. This part has the information to reproduce the font in print, either through your inkjet or laser printer or through your service providers ripping software. Be sure to send both the screen and printer fonts to your service provider to avoid errors.
These print fonts were produced by Apple and Microsoft to eliminate the need for a two-part font suitcase. TrueType fonts have all the information for your screen and printer in one .ttf font. TrueType fonts are also cross-platform fonts that can be used on both PC and Mac.
When switching from PC to Mac or vice versa, it is important to watch out for type reflow when using fonts with the same name. Even though they have the same name, some fonts could be from different type foundries and have different kerning or line heights applied to the base font. Since TrueType fonts are interchangeable, this is not an issue.
Microsoft created these fonts based on the TrueType structure but with added behaviors. OpenType fonts only have one file with all the information included for screen and print. These fonts are also cross-platform, which eliminates the chance of type reflow. Using OpenType fonts on a PC will look the same as on a Mac.
In order for an online printer to process your print-ready files, your print fonts must be embedded in a PDF. Please make sure the fonts are active on your system when you export and save your PDF and that you have selected the “embed all fonts” option.