5 Free Retro Script Fonts

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Retro script fonts are all the rage right now — I’m seeing them used all over the interwebs for a fun and fresh look. A good retro script font is typically easier to read when compared with a traditional script or calligraphy font. This is a big reason for their popularity.

So, how to find a good retro script font? I’ve rounded up five of my favorites here. All free. All easily downloadable. Now, remember what I mentioned earlier in the week – free fonts don’t come with lots of bells and whistles, so if you need a retro script font with lots of glyphs and extras, you will need to go the commercial route.

When is it worth paying for a font?

Something I struggled with for years was whether or not to fork out the money to buy commercial fonts. Now more than ever it is super easy to find beautiful fonts for free — but sometimes, the font that really speaks to a project/client/brand simply costs money…sometimes lots of money. So, the question arises: when it is worth actually paying for a font?

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Let me turn this question around for a second and tell you what a commercial font typically offers that free fonts typically don’t:

Glyphs

Glyphs are alternate characters available for you to use. Glyphs are what can take a font and really make it look special. Glyphs are particularly handy for letters that look awkward, unfinished or disconnected in certain capacities. For example, I purchased Rosarian a few months back. Lets take a look at two images using this font.

In this first image, I use only the standard version of the font:

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In this second image, I use some of the glyphs available to me to spice up the type. Now, I’ve overdone the glyph usage to illustrate my point, but you can see that the text has gone from pretty run-of-the-mill script to something special.

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If you don’t have the cash to have a logo created for you, buying a nice font with good glyph coverage can be a way to make a text logo look a little fancier and custom without breaking the bank.

Swashes & Decorative Elements

Particularly on script fonts, one of the big benefits of commercial fonts are lots of “extras,” which are often called swashes and/or decorative elements. These elements allow you add image-esque elements to your text treatment quite easily — and, they match. As a font nerd, I can totally tell when I visit a site and someone has used one font and then plopped random design elements from other fonts right next to it. Having a commercial font with swashes included gives you a more cohesive look.

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Complete Symbol & Punctuation

One of the hardest lessons that I’ve learned with free fonts is that you can’t always depend on them to have a complete set of symbols or punctuation. Case in point? One of my faves, Courtney Dorkling, didn’t have an apostrophe for the longest time. Can you believe that? It stinks to fall in love with a font — particularly a unique font — but not be able to use it often because it’s missing critical pieces. A paid font typically comes with bonus symbols, like TMs, Copyrights, etc.

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So, when is it worth paying for a font?

When you really need a high-quality, beautiful and flexible font. Most of the time, free fonts do the trick. But, when I can’t find what I really need I always go right for commercial fonts. I have yet to regret a font purchase.

Tech Talk Blast from the Past: Choosing Fonts for Your Website

Howdy there my long lost Tech Talks readers and watchers! Thanks for being patient these last few months. We've been launching some very big client sites in Q4, so these Tech Talks had to take a back seat for a little while. I'm scripting out some new episodes that will be back before you know it.

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In the meantime, I'm going to bring back some older episodes front and center so that newbies can discover them and regular readers can re-watch and catch new tips.

This week, why not check out my video about choosing fonts for your website:

5 Tools for Choosing a Website Color Scheme

How to Choose a Website Color Scheme

Color is one of the single most important elements of design. Over the past five years of working as a web designer I’ve learned that discussing color with clients early on is critical to success. Whether we know it or not, we all like (and dislike) certain colors. When a client responds well to certain color schemes it tells me a lot about their aesthetic and what they will like in their finished product.

I’ve also learned over the years that people see color in different ways — aqua to me is sea green to someone else. The words we use to describe color are not the same. As such, it’s critical that clients see actual color schemes on their screen and report back about what they liked. I emphasize the on the screen part because a color scheme that you like in print doesn’t necessarily translate well to the computer screen.

There are five tools I generally point clients to so that they can begin thinking about website color schemes.

1. Adobe Kuler: My go-to site. Thousands of color schemes searchable by keyword.

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2. Pinterest: Tons of photo-inspired color schemes. This is great for folks that like to find inspiration in photos or unexpected places.

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3. Colour Lovers: Another great visual resource for finding beautiful color schemes

4. ColorCombos.com: A no-frills, but still great site for finding a unique color scheme

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5.  Pantone: The kings of color. Particularly good when you’re looking for the next big thing in color trends.

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