Your Design Needs | All you need for creative work

All Free Design Resources

Linux Free Fonts Equivalents to Popular Web Typefaces

Desing TrainingI have written before about my admiration for Web typography, and in that article I touched on the fact that many “Web safe” fonts can’t be applied to Linux. Linux distributions each ship with their own font libraries, but I’d like to focus on similar typefaces you can use within a font-family to help make your design bullet proof.

Like Windows & OS X, Linux does type too

I’ve been a Linux user for some time now, and Linux is my platform of choice both at work and at home. My distribution of choice is Ubuntu not because it’s the most popular, but because I’ve tried a wide variety of Linux versions, and Ubuntu works the best for me. I say this because I’m going to focus on the fonts that ship by default with Ubuntu, so there may be some discrepancy among distributions.

While the list of Web safe fonts we have come to know and love is relied heavily upon, it can be very beneficial to include similar default Linux fonts in your Free Fonts – family as well.

The fonts on the Windows system

Font files have the extension .FON or .TTF (true-type) and are listed in the special system folder /Windows/Fonts/. (If you have additional fonts that are specific to a particular printer, those may be elsewhere and have a different extension.) The system font folder can also be reached through Control Panel-Fonts. To see what a font looks like, left double-click on its file (or right-click and choose “Open”). This procedure can be tedious if you are interested in looking at more than one or two fonts or if you want to compare Free Fonts. There are many software programs, some free, some shareware, for viewing or managing fonts. One good freeware program is from Karen Ken worthy. Others can be found at any of the software download sites like NoNags. Also a reference with an extensive list is given in the sidebar.

The standard Windows installations have around 100-200 fonts (the exact number depending on your setup). The following fonts are included with Windows and are installed on every computer Design Training

  • Courier New (TrueType, including Bold, Italic, and Bold Italic variations)
  • Arial (TrueType, including Bold, Italic, and Bold Italic variations)
  • Times New Roman (TrueType, including Bold, Italic, and Bold Italic variations)
  • Symbol (TrueType)
  • Wingdings (TrueType)
  • MS Serif
  • MS Sans Serif

In addition, Windows has several hidden system font files (for example, Dosapp.fon, Vgafix.fon) that don’t show in the Fonts folder or in Control Panel. These fonts may be shown, however, in some font management utilities. Windows requires these hidden font files for various system interfaces. There are also standard fonts intended mostly for use in displaying Web pages or in applications like PowerPoint (the Garamond, Georgia, Tahoma, Trebuchet, and Verdana families, for example). Some fonts are for foreign languages (WST_czec.fon, WST-ger.fon, for example). As well as the fonts intended for screen display, there may be additional fonts just for printers.

If you look at the whole list of fonts that are on your computer, you will probably find some that are rarely, if ever, needed. Since all the fonts are loaded each time Windows is started and each font file requires a certain amount of time to load, some people shave a little bit off the startup time by uninstalling some unused Free Fonts. In a normal setup with 100-200 fonts or so, it is unlikely to make a big difference for the average user. However, sometimes software programs install extra fonts and if you find yourself with 1000 fonts, you may wish to consider reducing the number. A study has shown that 1000 fonts impacts startup times noticeably.


April 21, 2009 - Posted by | free fonts | , , , , , , , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. I read your articles it is very informatic and knowledgeable, keep posting.

    Comment by Mover Packer Delhi | April 26, 2009 | Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: