30 Extremely Elegant Serif Fonts

By / May 7, 2009 / Freebies
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A few weeks ago, I showed you a bunch of super sleek fonts to use in your clean designs, but if your looking to establish an classic mood for a design, you may want to choose an elegant serif font. This article presents to you 30 of the best free serif fonts around.

Novello

Novello

Museo

Museo

AlexandriaFLF

AlexandriaFLF

Bienetresocial

Bienetresocial

Kontrapunkt

Kontrapunkt

Serif Beta

Serif Beta

Gentium Basic

Gentium Basic

Centabel Book

Centabel Book

Divona

Divona

Andron Freefont LAT

Andron Freefont LAT

Grandesign Neue Serif

Grandesign Neue Serif

TypoLatinserif-Bold

TypoLatinserif-Bold

Bergamo Std

Bergamo Std

Contra

Contra

Sanford

Sanford

Temporarium

Temporarium

Juvelo

Juvelo

Justus

Justus

Day Roman

Day Roman

Bitstream Vera Serif

Bitstream Vera Serif

Dustismo Roman

Dustismo Roman

Portland LDO

Portland LDO

Cardiff

Cardiff

Oxford

Oxford

Queens Park

Queens Park

Athena Unicode

Athena Unicode

Imperium

Imperium

RomanSerif

RomanSerif

Slab Tall X

Slab Tall X

Liberation Serif

Liberation Serif

About the Author

Henry Jones is a web developer, designer, and entrepreneur with over 14 years of experience. He is the founder of WDL and ThemeTrust.

62 Comments

  1. Patternhead
    May 7, 2009

    Great resource, hadn’t seen a couple of these before so thanks for the share :)

    Reply
  2. Lisa
    May 7, 2009

    These are stunning! I personally love serif fonts, as I believe sans serif’s are getting overused and killed. Nice collection! Thank you!

    Reply
  3. Paul
    May 7, 2009

    No offense but I wouldn’t call too many of these fonts elegant, while I wouldn’t call Museo a serif font at all. Where are the classics like Baskerville, Caslon, Goudy, Bembo? All truly elegant not to mention Garamond, Jenson and Joanna all well established (Garamond was designed in the 1540s) truly elegant fonts. Do yourselves a favour and take a look at some of the masters of type design.

    Reply
  4. Fabio
    May 7, 2009

    Thanks for the post, I tend to use Museo quite a bit recently. There is a great showcase of Museo here: http://francescomugnai.com/

    Reply
  5. kyle steed
    May 7, 2009

    From this list Novello and Alexandria are probably the only ones I would use. But you left out on of the most beautiful serif typefaces there is, Archer. Check the link to feast your eyes on true beauty (especially in bold): http://www.typography.com/fonts/font_styles.php?productLineID=100033

    Reply
  6. Duh
    May 7, 2009

    @Paul it’s 30 elegant *free* serif fonts, the ones you mention are not free. Do yourself a favor and figure out the purpose of an article before writing something snotty in the comments.

    Reply
  7. Henry
    May 7, 2009

    @kyle steed

    Thanks for pointing out Archer…shouldn’t have left that one out.

    Reply
  8. Paul
    May 7, 2009

    I didn’t see my comment as being ‘snotty’. I understand that the fonts are free, I was simply pointing out that with the constant flood of free fonts on the market we are losing sight of true elegance in type design. Surely real quality is worth paying for?

    Reply
  9. bigyaz
    May 7, 2009

    Paul: When you start out with “No offense…” and follow up with “Do yourselves a favour…”? Yeah, that’s snotty.

    And if the list included such well-known stalwarts as Garamond and Caslon the author would no doubt have received equally snotty remarks about stating the obvious.

    Reply
  10. Kirsti Scott
    May 7, 2009

    I love Trajan! Modeleted after Roman carved letters from the first century AD–still popular after 2000 years! ;-)

    Reply
  11. Art2code
    May 7, 2009

    nice fonts! i love Kontrapunkt
    thx

    Reply
  12. Paul
    May 7, 2009

    bigyaz: Handbags at dawn! Seems Kirsti and Kyle have the right idea. Trajan a classic since the Roman Empire and Hoefler & Frere-Jones one of the world’s premium type foundries.

    I’m not totally against free fonts, I’ve used a few myself in the past but if you’re not experienced enough to recognise a well designed font you can very easily fall into a habit of using poor fonts and your work is going to suffer in the long run.

    Glad to see some us are still flying the flag for good font design.

    Reply
  13. SOS Media Web Design
    May 7, 2009

    Interesting list. To me, it shows the future of “elegant”. Many comments mentioned the heavy classics: Bodoni, Caslon, Bembo — then others mentioned the more contemporary classics like Archer. This list reads to me like the “elegant free fonts” or “elegance on a budget”. Not to take away from the fonts, as I’ve downloaded and used Museo and Kontrapunkt on many occasions, but always with the notion that I was “modernizing” and “removing elegance” by applying those fonts. Thanks for the post.

    Reply
  14. Giu vicente
    May 7, 2009

    AMAZING TYPEFACES!

    Reply
  15. Tim Bennett
    May 8, 2009

    These are some nice substitutes for the regular old fonts I see so much of. Thanks for posting!

    Reply
  16. Dumitru Brînzan
    May 8, 2009

    Very good collection!

    Gonna use 4-5 of these in my future works :)

    Thanks for the set!

    Reply
  17. Gopal Raju
    May 9, 2009

    Thanks a lot for sharing this :)

    Gopal Raju
    productivedreams.com
    twitter.com/gopalraju

    Reply
  18. henry pitts
    May 9, 2009

    this is the problem with fonts, once you place them side by side all looks the same.

    Reply
  19. Dawood
    May 9, 2009

    Couldn’t believe you missed the ” TRAJAN PRO “

    Reply
  20. james
    May 9, 2009

    Imperium seems to have changed since you looked at it

    Reply
  21. likethegoddess
    May 9, 2009

    Hey, let’s not let the tone disrupt the message. When I saw “30 Extremely Elegant Serif Fonts,” I was hopeful. I look at this list and agree with Paul. I would call very few of these fonts “extremely elegant,” free or not. All the typefaces that Paul mentioned would rank more elegant to me than most on this list. One could take offense at this comment or use it as a helpful critique. The latter is my intention.

    Reply
  22. Torley
    May 9, 2009

    @Paul @likethegoddess Your comments would’ve been helpful if you explained your understanding of “elegant” and precisely why some of your fave fonts should’ve been in place of (or in addition to) these.

    Then again, this article could’ve shared more narrative on that, too. Let’s help each other out.

    Reply
  23. Karen
    May 9, 2009

    I liked Queens Park when it used to be called Palatino.

    Reply
  24. tasarhane
    May 10, 2009

    good resources.. thanks..

    Reply
  25. likethegoddess
    May 10, 2009

    That’s a big ask, Torley. One can only go so far within the confines of blog comments.

    I’d say the first change I’d make is to the title, dropping “extremely” and adding “free.”

    “Elegant” is such a subjective term. One could write a book on typeface elegance!

    To me, an elegant serif face must first be effortlessly readable as a paragraph font and would have an innate beauty of its own. Look at how well each letter relates to the others, how well kerned out of the box, the style expressed in each individual letter.

    The serif typefaces that I find most mark elegant, as Paul mentioned and I alluded to, are Garamond, Baskerville, Caslon, Goudy, and Bembo. To those, I could add Bell, Mrs Eaves and Warnock. I’d add Bodini, as SOS Media Web Design mentioned, as a classic modern serif. I’d say the list is missing classic slab serifs like Rockwell and Lubalin Graph.

    Compare the fonts I’ve mentioned to those on this list for yourself and see what you think. Remember to check the italic, bold, and italic/bold versions. Some may measure up, some not. It’s up to you.

    Reply
  26. Patricia
    May 10, 2009

    For those complaining about the authors use of the word “Elegant” perhaps a better term, like “Contemporary?”

    Reply
  27. likethegoddess
    May 11, 2009

    To clarify, I was complaining about “extremely” rather than “elegant,” although I like Patricia’s suggestion of “contemporary.”

    Reply
  28. honour chick
    May 11, 2009

    wow… i hadn’t even heard of most of them. thanks for sharing the list. ;)

    Reply
  29. david
    May 11, 2009

    Hello,
    I would like to point out that

    NOVELLO lacks numbers,
    ALEXANDRIA is a stolen STYMIE,
    BIENETRESOCIAL is a blended GEORGIA and TIMES,
    DIVONA is extremely bad drawn (bad curves),
    GRANDESIGN is a MYRIAD with serifs added, very amateurish and the special characters are all MYRIAD,
    BERGAMO is a stolen BEMBO,
    SANFORD is a tweaked AMERICANA,
    TEMPORARIUM is a stolen GENTIUM (why would anyone rename a free font?),
    JUVELO has no special characters,
    JUSTUS is a stolen WALBAUM,
    DUSTISMO has broken characters and the bold weight has a corrupt i,
    PORTLAND is identical to QUEENS PARK and they are both stolen PALATINOS,
    CARDIFF is a stolen TIMES ROMAN,
    OXFORD is a stolen PERPETUA,
    ATHENA UNICODE is a stolen NEW BASKERVILLE,
    SLAB TALL X is a stolen and scaled SERIFA.

    Reply
  30. Michael Angrave
    May 11, 2009

    Very nice collection of serif fonts. I’ve used a couple of these before. Certainly some new ones that I’m sure I will utilise in the future.

    Nice post Henry, look forward to more…

    Reply
  31. killthemessenger
    May 12, 2009

    thanks for providing these fonts free. i can’t believe what a bunch of jerks are here bitching about a gift horse. get a life! i’m taking my own advice and am off to continue mine :)

    Reply
  32. Vesa Nikkanen
    May 14, 2009

    Always good articles here! Thanks & keep up the great work!

    Reply
  33. patrick james
    May 14, 2009

    Great collection! I really love the Museo, and Kontrapunkt typefaces. :-D

    Reply
  34. khoma
    May 20, 2009

    slab tall x? are you serious?

    Reply
  35. grazz
    June 9, 2009

    Italic Queens Park almost looks like Garamond, nice.

    Reply
  36. Anja
    June 17, 2009

    This list is absolutely fantastic!

    I really liked most of the fonts on it. :)

    Reply
  37. Sam
    June 26, 2009

    Thanks for the superb list, some of these serif fonts are gorgeous.

    Reply
  38. sandman6665
    June 29, 2009

    Great selection! I’ve been using serif but only few I have pick, with this list i see there are other more beautiful serif fonts around..

    Reply
  39. Matt
    September 4, 2009

    Thanks for this post! I’ve been on this site for just a few minutes and already I have several new sources for free fonts. Good stuff.

    Reply
  40. bo
    September 24, 2009

    i just decided on centabel for a logo. this list helped me feel more confident in my choice, since i’m a beginner. and bonus, david didn’t have anything nasty to say about it. thanks for the list!

    Reply
  41. mta
    October 1, 2009

    Thank you for your selection.

    Is just an individual matter of taste.

    Nobody can say you on how to choose your shares

    I like Centabel and Juvelo.

    Reply
  42. Cara Dixon
    October 14, 2009

    Great selection of fonts here! Would work really well with an elegant web design. I particularly like ‘Sanford’.

    Reply
  43. Rich
    November 27, 2009

    Awesome list of resources! Thank you for sharing.

    I would just like to add one more set of typography resources and that is the forum of http://www.pilo.me

    It is a private typography forum with an unbelievable amount of free fonts, premium fonts and exclusive typefaces. I think it was voted the best typography forum of 2009. If you are a font lover/addict, check it out. Like I said though, it is either private or invite only. I have never seen a typography site like it with all it has to offer. Anyhow, check it out, pilo.me

    Anyhow, great article, I definitely will be referring to these time to time.

    Reply
  44. CGB
    December 31, 2009

    How could you leave off Copperplate Gothic Bold? Some of the fonts you’ve picked certainly are pleasing to the eye, but nothing is more pleasing, elegant and sophisticated than Copperplate. You’ve broken our hearts.

    Reply
  45. olis
    January 8, 2010

    Nice post :)
    btw also nice serif fonts http://www.fonts2u.com/category.html?id=16

    Reply
  46. neer
    January 20, 2010

    Please let me know. Are these all fonts web-safe.

    Reply
  47. Web Catch
    February 16, 2010

    Great List of fonts, Contra looks amazing.

    Reply
  48. Juno Web Design
    February 27, 2010

    Its nice to see new and really cool fonts. Thanks for sharing really nice and cool ideas here.

    Reply
  49. Daniel N.
    May 5, 2010

    What font did you use in the title of this article?

    Reply
  50. Lisa
    October 19, 2010

    wow this is lame why are people fighting over fonts…. what a shame…..nerds

    Reply
  51. Helen
    January 18, 2011

    Half of these fonts are rip offs of genuine, well-crafted fonts, and the other half are just plain ugly.

    Reply
  52. Ben
    May 25, 2011

    I agree with the above.

    Reply
  53. Vanessa
    July 4, 2011

    I agree with Helen and Ben.

    Reply
  54. Iriko
    July 28, 2011

    I agree with Helen, Ben and Vanessa.

    Reply
  55. Nekiro
    August 19, 2011

    I agree with Helen, Ben, Vanessa and Iriko

    Reply
  56. Scott
    August 28, 2011

    I don’t agree. Changing small details in a font makes it a new font entirely, so they should be “ripped off” and republished.

    Reply
  57. Annie
    October 12, 2011

    I agree with Scott.

    Reply
  58. Melissa
    March 27, 2012

    Just celebrate that these are free fonts… sheesh

    Reply
  59. zarith
    June 12, 2012

    haha..totally agree with melissa

    Reply
  60. Scott
    July 16, 2012

    I agree with the other Scott.
    But they left out some fancier ones:
    Espinosa Nova Regular, Cambridge Serial Regular

    Reply
  61. Nicola
    September 6, 2012

    What is the name of the font used for the title of this article?

    Reply
  62. Mike
    May 2, 2013

    Thanks for these, very helpful for a design project I’m working on

    Reply

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