As a freelancer, sometimes you have to be your own designer. Need to make your own business cards? Write a thank you note to your clients? Post a flyer for your services in the library? Of course, you’d ideally hire a freelance graphic designer, but if you’re on a budget, look no further than these great resources.

Remember, each of these fonts are designed by a skilled, human font designer (many of whom are independent), so sending them a thank you if they’re free or paying less than the price of dinner for a great font is a great way to support their efforts.

DaFont

The mecca of free fonts, the holy grail of designer resources, dafont.com is an archive of thousands of free and downloadable fonts. You can search by themes (http://www.dafont.com/themes.php), like “Handwritten,” “Runes/Elvish,” and basic “San Serif.”

You can use most of these fonts for commercial purposes, but always check the license on the font.

Font Squirrel

FontSquirrel is another good resource, especially for more traditional/business fonts. Very easy to use, which is a blessing. They also have a section for almost free fonts (http://www.fontsquirrel.com/fonts/list/almost_free).

Ten Dollar Fonts

A collection of fonts for -- you guessed it -- just $10 each. Ten Dollar Fonts is unique in that it features the work of a limited collection of font designers, and carefully curates the selection. (So if you’re design-illiterate, you know you’re getting a cool font.)

You Work for Them

Great fonts at a variety of prices, mostly inexpensive. If you use Photoshop, they also have great photos, vectors, and brushes. YWFT originally started as a site to sell their own fonts (to clients like Apple, Disney, Harley Davidson, etc.)

How do I use fonts in Word/PowerPoint/etc.?

On a PC:

1. Download the font.

2. Double click to open the folder. Unzip the file if necessary.

3. Double click the font you want to install. It should open a preview window.

4. Click “Install” in the upper left.

5. When you reopen Word etc., the new font should appear on your standard font list.

On a Mac:

1. Close any open applications. (In order for the font to appear in Word, for example, you need to close the application, download the font and THEN open the application. It won’t show up otherwise.)

2. Download the font. It should appear as a folder or TTF file in your Downloads folder.

3. Open the font in your Downloads folder or using Finder.

4. Open your Font Book. Just search “Font Book” in Finder.

5. Drag the TTF file or font folder into your Font Book.

6. Open your application. The font should appear in your standard font list.

For recent Mac OS:

1. Download the font.

2. Double click the font. A window will pop up.

3. Press “Install Font” at the bottom right of the pop up.

If you want to use a fancy font on your website…

You need a webfont, not a desktop font. More on that here and here!

Good luck, amateur designers!