There are hundreds of paid-for and free fonts available online. We’ve got details of all sorts here on Creative Bloq – including tattoo fonts, cursive fonts and handwriting fonts. But for this article, we’re going to focus on retro fonts.
Retro designs have the ability to transport audiences back in time so it’s important to choose a typeface that reflects the era that you’re representing. With the right font you can add age, texture and depth.
Here, we’ve selected some of our favourite retro-style font designs that won’t cost you a penny.
If you’re keen to nail the look of early 1990s desktop publishing, give Vladimir Nikolic’s Gradientico a try. It’s a fine-looking serif, bought to life by a splendidly scratchy halftone gradient that looks for all the world like it’s just inched out of a dot matrix printer after a long session with Pagemaker. It comes in regular and italic versions, and it’s free both for commercial and personal use.
Remember when computer fonts were supposed to look like this? Inspired by Moore Computer – a 1968 font designed for use with automatic cheque and document reading equipment – Haike, by Otto Maurer Design, is a fabulously retro vision of the future and comes in nine weights for all manner of uses. It’s free for personal use; for commercial use you’ll need a licensed version, which comes with extra Opentype features.
03. Haarlem Deco
Haarlem Deco is described by its creators, Fontdation, as a classic-retro-vintage-all-caps-semi-condensed-sans-serif typeface with an art-deco touch. Inspired by old Euro-American signage and advertising, it’s available as a free demo version with limited characters; you can get the full version with italics, multilingual characters and more from Fontdation for just £13.
04. West Side
Inspired by handmade poster designs and illustrations from the 1980s, with maybe just a hint of Saul Bass, West Side is a block-styled, handcrafted display font created by Artimasa Studio. It’s big and bold with sharp edges, and is free for both personal and commercial use.
You can get a free sample of premium monoline script Palm Canyon Drive – designed by Amy Hood, co-founder of Hoodzpah Design Co, in conjunction with retro and vintage design elements crafter RetroSupply – by signing up to the RetroSupply newsletter. (You’ll get a bunch of other retro and vintage-themed design elements, too.)
Inspired by mid-century Southern California, the retro font is perfect for adding some old-school west coast goodness to your designs. It’s as comfortable on a Tikki bar matchbook cover as it is on a Hollywood movie poster, and the sample weights are free for personal use.
For an art deco look that’s pleasingly rough around the edges, Billionaire Medium Grunge is just the ticket. It’s just one of six fonts that make up the full Billionaire typeface by JumboDesign, and you can pick it up for free from Deeezy to give your work a bit of slightly faded sophistication.
Add a touch of elegance and style to your designs with this beautiful retro font Noir, by designer Matthias Guggisberg.
Created by Swiss art director Juri Zaech, Frontage Condensed is a beautiful family of retro fonts. Perfect for any vintage-style designs, Frontage Condensed is available in a variety of weights, one of which, Outline, Zaech offers as a free download.
09. Say It Fat
Designer Timo Titzmann is behind free retro font Say It Fat. A bold, slab typeface, Say It Fat is great for creating eye-catching retro-style posters and much more.
Created by designer Mehmet Reha Tugcu, Portico is a display typeface, which includes an urban and rough version – perfect for any retro-style designs.
Retro-style typeface Monthoers was created by graphic designer Agga Swist’blnk. She comments on Behance: “Monthoers is the latest version of Rochoes typeface, which I made almost a year ago. It is free for personal and commercial use.”
Hamster is a cursive typeface inspired by brush lettering and traditional sign painting. Crafted carefully to equalise its dynamic flow and legibility, Hamster is free to download for both personal and commercial use.
13. Lazer 84
Transport yourself back in time with Lazer 84. Created by art director Juan Hodgson, ’80s-inspired Lazer 84 is a retro-style brush font that comes complete with numbers, symbols and accents.
Graphic designer Kady Jesko created typeface Ansley, after searching for a free retro-style font and couldn’t find one that suited. Jesko now generously offers it as a free download for both personal and commercial use, with donations, as ever, gratefully received.
Berlin was created by Brazilian graphic designer and illustrator Antonio Rodrigues Jr. “Berlin is a group of display fonts, inspired by the classic geometric typefaces from early last century,” he explains. So far Rodrigues Jr has created four versions – Berlin, Berlina, Slaberlin and Uberlin – all of which are available in regular, bold and x-bold.
Sabo, by graphic designer Philippe Moesch, is a striking pixel-style font. Available in two styles – inline and filled – Sabo is great for any retro arcade-themed design.
Looking for a unique typeface, designers Lucas Almeida and Dmitry Goloub decided to create their own. Inspired by bobber motorcyles, the duo developed this slab serif. With a cool, vintage design, this grid-based font is free to use for both personal and commercial projects.
Created by type designer Sergiy Tkachenko, Glasoor is an experimental font with a playful retro design that’s perfect for posters, logos and more.
FORMAT: TTF, OTF
Zebrazil was created by Burmese graphic designer Zarni. This deliciously retro font features lovely thin letterforms married to bold serifs, and is one of many created by Zarni, who generously offers his design as a free download.
Unique was created by designer Anna Pocius aka Artmaker. She describes her design on Behance as “a display hybrid typeface, which is a little bit flashy, retro but still contemporary font designed specially for headings and logotypes”.
Designed by New York-based creative Christopher J. Lee, Canter is an all caps, condensed typeface available in six different weights. It was designed as a display type for titles, headlines, and posters and will work well with any retro execution.
22. Alt Retro
Alt Retro Typeface is a free five-weight typeface that channels all the art deco inspiration you can muster. Perfect for eye-catching creations, Alt Retro is a playful font that will serve as a brilliant experimental offering. The intricate design makes it a stand out retro font.
This retro typeface was inspired by designer Konrad Bednarski’s new hometown. The free test version is available to download for free, with a corrected and extended version with more weights soon to be available. Like this font? You can also get Rispa Regular T-shirts, prints, tote bags, pillows and much more from Society6.
24. Betty Noir
This typeface was developed Blambot, a company that “proudly provides comic fonts and lettering”. You have to pay for many of its brilliant designs, but the team generously offer Betty Noir free for use in personal projects. This is one of our favourite free retro fonts, it’s definitely worth checking out.
25. White Rabbit
Inspired by eras gone by, this is one of the coolest free retro fonts we’ve seen in a while. Developed by Alice Creative, this typeface is available free for personal use, with donations to the author, as always, greatfully received.
Next page: 20 more free retro fonts…
Looking for retro fonts to use in your personal project? Then you can download this baby for free. The gorgeous vintage-style font is available in two styles, with letters featuring both a curved design (as seen above) and more basic approach.
An old-school-style of retro fonts, Sesame wouldn’t look out of place on any vintage poster design. Developed by designer Dieter Steffmann, the font comes with a full set of uppercase letters, numbers and selection of special characters.
Arwen is not just the name of a Lord of the Rings character, it’s also one of the most beautiful retro fonts we’ve found – and it’s totally free to download. Created by Keystrokes, the typeface includes a full set of uppercase characters for you to incorporate into your designs.
This cool retro typeface was created by web and UI designer Tyler Galpin. He describes the font as “a charming slab-serif that draws inspiration from National Park posters of old”. It’s available as a free download, with any donations to its creator gratefully received.
Designer Olinda Martins developed this vintage-style font from a selection of commercial signage in and around the city of Porto. Collecting several samples, Martins reinterpreted them into this stylish design, which she generously offers as a free download for all to enjoy.
31. Quid Pro Quo
Quid Pro Quo is an old-fashioned handwritten script created by designer David Kerkhoff. The typeface comes complete with a full set of upper and lowercase letters, numbers and a selection of special characters. It’s free for personal use only, with the option to donate to the author should you wish.
Ray Larabie of Typodermic Fonts is the man behind this bold, game show-inspired font. Larabie comments on his creation: “Pricedown is based on a late-Sixties font called Pinto Flare; famous for its use in the titles for the TV program The Price is Right.” The font is free for personal use only, but donations to the author are much appreciated.
This stylish, retro set of numerals and punctuation was developed by designer Andy Mangold. Offered online by Lost Type Co-Op, the website describes the design as “a chunky, display numeral sets inspired by the 1950s Rockabilly Hairdo. The numbers, which each fit perfectly inside of a square, are best used in large sizes.” It’s available as a free download, with any donations to the author gratefully received.
Transport your designs back to the 1920s with this beautiful Riesling font, created by Bright Ideas. The elegant typeface includes a full set of upper and lowercase letters, numbers 0-9 and special characters.
Carnivalee Freakshow typeface would fit in perfectly to any Western-inspired design. Created by Christopher Hansen, this popular font has amassed over two million downloads since its release. It’s free for personal use only.
36. Top Speed
This cool retro font has more than a hint of 1950s Chevrolet to it; you can virtually smell the rubber and gasoline. Designed by Jason Vanderhill, Top Speed comes in these three different variations. To link letters, simply use the underscore key. It’s free for personal use.
37. Echo Deco
Perfect for a retro-style music poster, typeface Echo Deco was created by GreyWolf Webworks. Free for personal use only, this font comes complete with a full set of uppercase letters, numbers and special characters.
38. Deftone Stylus
This beautiful script, retro-style font is another by Ray Larabie of Typodermic Fonts. Larabie comments on his typeface, “Deftone Stylus is a structured, industrial script from the late 20th century. It was rebuilt in 2011 and now features custom letter pairs to make words flow.”
This elegant typeface Bellerose is a popular choice, having been downloaded almost three million times since its release. The sophisticated design was created by James M. Harris, and includes a full set of upper and lower case letters and numbers. It’s free for personal use only.
This is just one of many retro fonts designed by Nick’s Fonts, but Airstream just made it as our favourite. The designer has over 100 designs to choose from, which collectively have been downloaded over 21 million times.
This elegant font by type designer George Williams has the feel of old Paris about it. One of 57 fonts created by the designer, this one has been downloaded over 600,000 times, and is free for both personal and commercial uses.
This flashy marquee font wouldn’t look out of place on posters at the Moulin Rouge. Another creation from Ray Larabie of Typodermic Fonts, this set includes four font files, all different variations of the same design.
43. Akura Popo
This font is from Twicolabs Design. The team comment on the typeface on Behance: “Akura Popo is a vintage and classic condensed serif font with a bold, strong and tough-looking style. It’s best suited for logos, headlines, letterheads and sport-themed designs.”
FORMAT: TTF, OTF
44. Zorus Serif
Created by Canadian designer Jérémie Dupuis, Zorus Serif’s antique glyphs have a distinctly gallic feel to them. We think this font would be the perfect fit for a print project that needs a quirky, old-fashioned look. It’s available in standard and italic versions.
FORMAT: TTF, OTF
A bold and stylish retro-inspired script font, Streetwear is suitable for logos, posters, branding, packaging and much more. Available from Behance, the website states: “Streetwear looks like 1960s and 70s fashion and sport-related typeface, unique and fun at the same time.” Streetwear is free for both personal and commercial use.