I am starting a new section here on Layman’s Layout called FreeFacing. The concept is about making the most out of all the free fonts you have at your disposal. These fonts include those you can download, plus your Operating System fonts and those that come bundled with desktop publishing such as Adobe CS and Microsoft Office. There are plenty of poor free fonts out there, what I want to achieve in FreeFacing is showing the good available free fonts and how to use them.

Combining Free Fonts

Inspired by Hoefler & Frere-Jones, here are four ways of combining three different free fonts together into a cohesive attractive layout.

1. Wit

Combine a tough geometric sans-serif with a rounded humanist sans-serif and a modern or slab serif. Read more.

2. Energy

I have combined a heavy slab serif, with a condensed geometric sans-serif and a robust book serif. Read more.

3. Poise

Combine a didot serif with a suave humanist sans-serif and a chunky slab serif. Read more.

4. Dignity

A durable book serif for the body text, an elegant old style serif for the headings and a plain sans-serif for the quotes and sidebars. Read More.

Combining Free Fonts Schetmatic

Many of the combinations described above can be created using many of the same fonts. Here is a diagram that charts the similarities.

FreeFacing different weights


35 free fonts as well as a couple available through Microsoft and Adobe that are very black. This is good for displays and headlines.


30 free light and thin weight fonts and a couple that come with Adobe CS products.

FreeFacing for Lightweights by Laymans Layout

    • johnnydib
    • June 25th, 2010

    Haha I like this post
    Storm’s Lido can go under Durable, and it’s still up for free download in 9 weights and styles.

    • Thanks for the tip. Although having gone to the Stormtype website, even though they have Lido still listed as free I cannot find any free downloads and instead the whole family costs €99 or €19 per weight.

      Edit: You can still download Lido STF free from dafonts.

    • johnnydib
    • June 25th, 2010

    It easily deserves the $20 a weight, but here’s a link.

  1. have you considered the Google Fonts collection?

    maybe doing a freefacing for the web? with the google fonts and the fonts I am sure there is something cool that can be made!

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