20 Best Web-Safe HTML Fonts
You should use the web-font-start.html and web-font-start.css files as a starting point to add your code to (see the live example). Make a copy of these files in a new directory on your computer now. In the web-font-start.css file, you’ll find some minimal CSS to deal with the basic layout and typesetting of the example.
In the first article of the module, we explored the basic CSS features available for styling fonts and text. In this article we will go further, exploring web fonts in detail. We’ll see how to use custom fonts with your web page to allow for more varied, custom text styling.
As we looked at in Fundamental text and font styling, the fonts applied to your HTML can be controlled using the font-family property. This takes one or more font family names. When displaying a webpage, a browser will travel down a list of font-family values until it finds a font available on the system it is running on:
This system works well, but traditionally web developers’ font choices were limited. There are only a handful of fonts that you can guarantee to be available across all common systems — the so-called Web-safe fonts. You can use the font stack to specify preferred fonts, followed by web-safe alternatives, followed by the default system font. However, this increases your workload because of the testing required to make sure that your designs work with each font.
2. Arial Narrow
4. Times New Roman
7. Courier New
Verdana is an excellent on-screen font due to its readability in small size and when displayed on low-resolution screens. This is primarily due to its generous width and spacing between characters.
The font is versatile and widely used for both display and body text. The bold colors and slim strokes make this font legible in any size – it offers generous spacing with consistent length to ensure readability.
18. Brush Script
19. Lucida Bright
Dishonorable Mention: Comic Sans
7 best web design fonts
Now that you understand the important role of typography in design, let’s discuss the 7 best fonts for websites. Before we do, it is important to note that the best web design fonts are often freely available on the Internet. The best font sites tend to be Adobe fonts, Google fonts, and Microsoft fonts.
1. Open Sans
Open Sans is a highly readable, neutral, and minimalist font to choose from. This sans-serif font is one of the best fonts for user experience (UX) and readability. Open Sans is a safe option for most experiences and works best for businesses that value quality control and reliability. Some of the best websites of 2020 are designed in Open Sans.
Another one of the best web fonts to choose from is Montserrat. Montserrat is a geometric sans-serif font that easily can be incorporated nearly anywhere in your site. This font scales well, as it can be easily read regardless if it’s large or small. The millennial demographic tends to gravitate toward this bold and youthful font.
Roboto is a sans-serif typeface that is geometric but also has open curves. It is considered a friendly and professional font, and it is used in both scenarios. Roboto also happened to be the default font on Android and other Google services.
4. Playfair Display
Playfair Display is a serif font with an elegant, modern quality that features undertones of femininity. This font is the perfect choice for websites with a female demographic. The lighter the weight, the more aesthetically pleasing this font is in nature.
Lato is a sans-serif font that was originally created for corporate use and still works well in that space today. It feels warm and inviting while portraying high professionalism. It is a great way to give brands a modern and friendly feel, especially those who tend to be in a more serious field, such as finance and accounting.
Merriweather a serif font designed to be highly readable on screens of all sizes. No matter the weight, it maintains its sophisticated feel suitable for any brand that takes itself seriously. It strikes the balance between style and simplicity often seen in luxury brands.
Helvetica is a sans-serif font widely used due to its versatility. There are over 100 variations available online, making it one of the most diverse fonts available. This font came to be in 1957, by a Swiss typeface designer named Max Miedinger. Generations later, it is still one of the most popular typefaces around.
Franklin Gothic is a sans serif font with unusually thick letters, almost as if the bold version of another font. The original typeface was developed in the early 20th century by American Type Founders. It’s a good font choice for headlines, but might not be a great choice for body text.
The 33 best web fonts (and web safe fonts) for your website
After a long and gruelling search of the best web fonts and web safe fonts for your brand, you’ve finally found the perfect one: it’s Comic Sans. But alas! Comic Sans is too perfect! Your visitors will be so busy admiring the subtle beauty of Comic Sans that they won’t pay any attention to what you’re actually saying. What other fonts can make your website look amazing without stealing all the glory for themselves?
Before we begin, let’s clear up a little terminology. What is the difference between the fonts already installed on your device and the ones you have to download? One is known a “web safe font” and the other a “web font”:
So web safe fonts are the ones that are most common, available on Windows or Mac, Chrome or Safari. Web fonts, then, would be the ones that aren’t as readily available, and typically you have to download and install them themselves.
Which one should you use in web design?
For web design, which is the medium under focus in this article, the main advantage of web safe fonts is that they load faster, reducing the amount of time it takes for your site to load. This isn’t a huge difference, but if you’re looking to cut out every wasted millisecond, they make a difference.
The downside of web safe fonts, though, is that they’re generic. There’s nothing unique or original about them—they’re literally available to everyone. If you want style or artistry, you’ll have to use another web font.
Web fonts feature a lot more variety; they’re a pool of fonts that’s constantly being added to and expanded on. You can get the best web fonts for your brand specifically designed based on what you’re looking for, or you can license a preexisting one online from a font hub. Their main advantage is, of course, originality. If you want a font that stands out, web safe fonts won’t cut it.
What about the individual font aesthetic?
But deciding between the best web fonts and the best web safe fonts isn’t your only decision. You also have to decide what style of typography would suit your branding and function of the site. Different fonts work better for long blocks of text than for attention-grabbing headlines, to say nothing of how they influence your brand perception.
In this guide, we break them all up into three categories that are based on typeface aesthetic: serifs, sans serifs and decorative. For those who don’t know, serifs are those little tags or “flags” that sometimes appear at the ends of letters. We’ll explain the recommended usage of each below, as well as how they reflect on your brand identity.
Founded in 2006, FontSpace is a designer-centered font website that has quick customizable previews and hassle-free downloads. Every font is added and categorized by a real person. Each font is reviewed by a FontSpace moderator, checked for font quality issues, and licenses are verified. With an ever-increasing amount of unethical font websites available, we strive to be THE source for legitimate and clearly licensed fonts. Whether you are a professional graphics designer, crafter, hobbyist, teacher, or student, we hope you enjoy the fonts here.
At FontSpace, we pay attention to the fine print. As such, we only provide fonts that are licensed and fully authorized for use. However, there are a lot of font websites operating under false pretenses and, unfortunately, offer fonts that are not actually licensed. As a result, there is a potential for lawsuits or other legal action. To avoid this, be sure to use FontSpace for all your font needs.
FontSpace has a mission devoted to keeping people from experiencing font licensing issues. We aim to be a space that inspires creativity across the internet. In addition, we also believe that creativity can flourish in a space devoted to ethical practices and solutions. With that in mind, we try to offer the best selection of fully licensed and fonts for your everyday use–whatever that may be!
If you’re on a tight budget, however, or just looking to experiment on a smaller project, there are plenty of good web fonts available at no cost, if you know where to look. And that’s where this list of the best free web fonts comes in.
Web Fonts: How to Make Them Work Perfectly in Email
One of the first aspects of design that people play with is typography–and it’s important in email design, too. But accessibility is also critical delivering a great subscriber experience. To deliver on both, stop trapping your message in images, and start using live text with web safe fonts and web fonts.
There are two different ways you can do live text: web safe fonts and web fonts. Although they sound the same, there are definite differences. In order to understand these differences, let’s take a look at how fonts work in your emails.
When your email is coded, the font is declared using a CSS property called font-family. This font-family property can have just one font name or multiple font names—often referred to as a font stack. Including multiple font names ensures that if one font doesn’t work, there is a fallback or backup font of your choosing. Without listing multiple font names, the email client gets to decide your backup font. When your subscribers open your email, the browser reads the font-family property and pulls in the font to use.
Web safe fonts
With web safe fonts, the browser pulls the font from your local font directory. That means these are fonts that are already installed on your computer. All computers come with pre-installed fonts, and these are what’s considered web safe. They’re safe to use because there’s a really good chance your subscribers will already have them.
But there are several other ones out there that you can use with a certain degree of confidence. So break out of the standard Arial or Helvetica font loop, and find a web safe font that works for your brand.
The best resource I’ve found for web safe fonts is CSS Fonts. I love that they include a percentage of use for PCs and Macs for each font so you know approximately how many of your subscribers might see the font you want and how many will see your fallback instead.
Web fonts are pulled from a server—either one you host yourself or an external one (such as Google or Adobe). Because of this, the variety of fonts that can be used is much larger, and they can be used on any computer… as long as the browser or email client can pull the font in. In some cases, your subscriber may already have a web font downloaded and installed on their machine, so these fonts will work even in email clients that don’t support web fonts!
Can I use web fonts in email?
Email client support
It’s worth taking a look at your subscriber base to see how many are viewing your emails in an email client that supports web fonts. If enough of your subscribers are, it’s an opportunity to give your email an added touch. (If the majority aren’t, it may not be worth your time and effort–especially if you’re considering using a paid web font).
Web fonts were originally designed to be used solely on websites, so their licensing is typically for use only on websites and mobile applications. The reason many web font services didn’t allow use in email is because it’s seen as distributing the font, which goes against many of the services’ End User License Agreement (EULA).
All of the web font providers we contacted supported using their fonts in email. Each provider had a different license that was required, so there isn’t a standard way fonts are licensed in email. If you are looking to use a font, reach out to the company to find out exactly how they license their fonts.
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Whether you want to use a third-party font host or download them, you need to know where the best places to find fonts are. There are hundreds of distributors out there, but a good handful are known to be reliable sources for getting fonts. Here are a few:
is one of the best places to get fonts. Why? You can easily embed them on your site without downloading any, its selection is vast and beautiful, and most importantly, it’s completely free. Google servers are always fast, so you can trust them to deliver the fonts with as little delay as possible.
offers thousands of fonts with any Creative Cloud subscriptions. With other services (that don’t rely on open source fonts like Google Fonts, at least), you often need to worry about licensing. These fonts are cleared for use in any project, personal or commercial. has a wide selection of fonts for both desktop and web use. They provide you with the code you need to get it on your site. The issue is there are several different licenses, and it can be a bit confusing. Payment is based on a one-time fee or a pay-as-you-go model. offers high-quality fonts for serious projects with a variety of licensing options. Purchase fonts for desktop, web, applications, or ePub. Web fonts also come with an extra option: hosted or self-hosted.
- Before Google Fonts ever existed, Font Squirrel was the place to find free, commercially-licensed fonts for use in any project. It has quite the selection, but sadly there is no option for font hosting. You’ll need to download the fonts and upload them to your site manually. Not all fonts are optimized for the web either, but you can try the Webfont Generator.
The Top 10 HTML Fonts
There are thousands of web fonts out there, but where to start? Here are ten simple HTML fonts that would look great on any website. These are all web safe, so they should work on almost all devices. They also make great fallback fonts.
2. Times New Roman
5. Courier New
It’s important to choose web fonts that will look good on your website and be readable and personify your brand. There are various websites where you can install free fonts or download licensed ones for a fee, and we’ve offered a few examples of good fonts to start with.
You don’t have to stick with boring web safe fonts you’ve been seeing all over the internet for decades. Thanks to fallback fonts, you can go with whatever typography you like and set a fallback to be used if it doesn’t load.
Whether you’re using these HTML fonts on your website, in emails, or your logo, make sure you do plenty of testing, so your site remains readable, and the typography meshes well with the rest of your design.