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Spring is upon us, and today I bring you a diverse selection of five free fonts, each with its own angle and story. We’ve got one for the coders, and one classic open-source font that you probably already have (but need to use more!), a classy-looking serif, a playful retro piece, and last but certainly not least, a font with an amazing animation video showcasing it.

Tamsyn

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Coders need to stare at text all day long, and they have very particular demands. The zeroes must be crossed and easy to tell apart from the Os, the font must be monospaced (of course), and the font should preferably be cross-platform so that you don’t get disoriented when switching between operating systems.

Tamsyn is a free font by Scott Fial that is under active development and offers all of these features. It takes a bit from MonteCarlo, a bit from Consolas (my own personal favorite monospace typeface), classic Fixedsys, and more.

The Tamsyn webpage itself serves as a showcase for the font. It is rendered using the font itself, even if you don’t have the font installed. The font has six sizes, and you can switch between them by clicking a link on the page, so you get to check the whole font out without downloading anything.

The only thing really missing from the page are some code examples – this is a programmer’s font, and I would love to see what it looks like with PHP or HTML, perhaps highlighted using the excellent Solarized Solarized - A Crisp, Scientifically-Based Color Scheme For Your Apps Solarized - A Crisp, Scientifically-Based Color Scheme For Your Apps If you spend your days in front of a computer monitor, color can be an important tool in the fight against fatigue and eye strain. Just about every text editor supports syntax coloring, and many... Read More color scheme.

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DejaVu Serif

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Yup, that’s Braille code you see up there, but DejaVu Serif is not a Braille typeface: It is a “do-it-all” font, part of the excellent DejaVu font family. DejaVu fonts come standard with Ubuntu, Fedora, OpenOffice.org, and other open-source projects. The family includes serif, sans-serif, and monospaced fonts (excellent for coders).

I’ve chosen to highlight the serif variant, thanks to a recommendation from MakeUseOf commenter AlanSchex, who singled out the font out of the entire DejaVu family. Let me show you a specimen that doesn’t use Braille:

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This specimen is taken right out of the Wikipedia page fot the DejaVu family – and really, how many free font families get pages on Wikipedia? This is one font that deserves more love, especially from Windows-folk.

Arvo

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Above you can see the Bold weight for Arvo, a free font by Anton Koovit, which can also be used as a Google Web Font. The Google Web Fonts page includes an interesting tidbit about the font’s name:

The name Arvo is a typical Estonian man’s name, but is not used widely any more. In the Finnish language, Arvo means “number, value, worth.” Considering how much programming is behind hinting, ‘number’ is also true.

To me, Arvo looks more American than anything else, with its conservative, blocky serif look. It works very well both for larger text and for body copy:

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I could definitely see Arvo in print.

Ballpark Weiner

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If Arvo seems sedately American (at least to me), Ballpark Weiner is over the top. Its designer, Micky Rossi, does not take credit for this font, stating it is merely a recreation of a font he could not find in a digital format. It may not be as painstakingly hinted as Arvo, or useful on a daily basis as DejaVu and Tamsyn, but Ballpark Weiner sure has style.

This is one of those fonts that needs to be taken in moderation – be careful, because you could easily overdo it. If you manage to use it in restraint, it can create quite an impact.

PLSTK

Remember that font with the video I promised you? Well, here comes PLSTK! This Creative Commons-licensed font emphasizes playfulness over utility, but it is certainly eye-catching:

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To be perfectly honest, I can’t see myself using PLSTK in any sort of real-life situation. But this font sure gets points for effort, thanks to both an imaginative concept and a fantastic video. I wish all fonts came with videos this impressive, really.

In Summary

Well, that about wraps up this month’s Free Font Friday! What did you think of these fonts? Will you be using any of them? Did you discover DejaVu fonts already installed on your computer?

And speaking of DejaVu, I would love to hear about any hidden gems you find on your computer. I mean fonts that are already installed for many people, but don’t get enough love. Tell me about these in the comments, and I might write them up next month!

  1. Poetry
    May 2, 2012 at 5:57 pm

    You could definitely see your enthusiasm in the paintings you write. The world hopes for more passionate writers like you who aren't afraid to say how they believe. At all times follow your heart.

  2. Free General Website Directory
    April 21, 2012 at 2:29 pm

    Hi, Neat post. There's an issue along with your website in internet explorer, might check this? IE nonetheless is the marketplace chief and a big element of other people will miss your wonderful writing because of this problem.

  3. Ahmed
    April 19, 2012 at 5:39 am

    Awesome font PLSTK..!!
    How do I use that one.. I mean I want to have different part of the letter of different colors like its shown in the video and pictures, how do i do that?

    thanks :)

    • Erez Zukerman
      April 19, 2012 at 5:35 pm

      Good question! That's a bit advanced: You need a vector editor such as CorelDRAW or Adobe Illustrator. Then get the font and write something with the font, and convert the text to curves. Once it's curves, you can do whatever you want with the individual letters -- change colors of letter segments, morph them, and anything else.

      • ahmed
        April 20, 2012 at 5:15 am

        I have a friend of mine who plays with vectors. Thanks for the info.. I ll catch hold of him now. :)

        • Erez Zukerman
          April 20, 2012 at 5:51 am

          Good luck! And if you come up with something interesting, do share! :)

    • Erez Zukerman
      April 17, 2012 at 11:22 am

      Thank you, Melissa!

  4. Brenda Whitehead
    April 16, 2012 at 12:53 pm

    I love to see new fonts. Especially free ones. Thank you for these.

    • Brenda Whitehead
      April 16, 2012 at 1:03 pm

      By the way, I make my own greetings cards, and the fonts I find most useful are Alfredo's Dance, Lucinda's Calligraphy and Little Lord Fauntleroy. I don't know if these are the kind of thing you are looking for?

      • Erez Zukerman
        April 16, 2012 at 1:43 pm

        Hi Brenda,

        First of all, thank you for taking the time to comment and recommend these!

        Second: Are these fonts free to use and download? Even if they're free just for personal use, I'd still love to feature them here. Do you have links to their pages?

        • ahmed
          April 20, 2012 at 11:26 am

          ya sure :)

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