‘Form follows function’ in modernist design and the principle certainly applies to modern fonts. Based on geometric lines and forms, modern fonts are clean, clear, and easy to read; plus with a creative twist or dash of detail they have a cool, contemporary vibe.
Here are 50 free modern fonts that will give your design work an up-to-date edge. All are listed as free to use and can be uploaded to Canva. Here’s how.
You’ll quickly see from these 50 free fonts that modern fonts are overwhelmingly sans serif typefaces; that is, there is no projecting lines or curls at the ends of a letter. Lombok by Alexandre Pietre is very angular and geometric with divided forms and doubled lines.
Ailerons is a font by Adilson Gonzales de Oliveira Junior inspired by airplane models from the 1940s. The ends of each letter are angled and ever-so-slightly curved for delicate detail.
One Day is a slimline and uppercase font by Nawras Moneer. Its rounded forms and broken lines will add visual interest to any headline.
When the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum had a facelift—revitalizing its building and identity—it also engaged designer Chester Jenkins to create a contemporary sans serif font that is available free for public use. Now that’s democratic design.
Download it at Cooper Hewitt.
Here's an example of a template using the Cooper Hewitt font: Black with Target Icon Sports Logo
Laura Pol’s font Aqua has very straight lines that contrast with very rounded forms. The strong angles dominate the uppercase letters while smooth circles rule the lowercase.
The Kolikö font family by Fontfirma has Latin and Cyrillic characters in regular, thin, and bold styles. It is a geometric sans serif font with a clean structure for bold headlines.
Here's an example of a template using the Kolikö font: Blue Arrow Internet Logo
Adrien Coquet designed the Polya font inspired by low-poly – a polygon mesh for 3D computer modeling. The result is a font with bold forms and a lightweight look.
Alfredo Marco Pradil describes his Radnika font as a “workhorse type.” It is a multi-purpose typeface that bridges the gap between the strong and expressive nineteenth-century typefaces and the fine and stern twentieth-century typefaces. The ‘medium’ style is free for download.
Modeka by Gatis Vilaks is a light and elegant font that combines corners with rounded details. The result is a set of characters with visible junctions between the parts of each element.
Related article: 60 free fonts for minimalist designs
Marisa Passos designed Higher for a student project and has since offered it for free public use. Ideal for headlines, Higher is elongated with the identifying forms of each letter condensed to the upper or lower section of each character.
Nordic is an experimental typeface designed by Yana Bereziner. It was inspired by Norwegian runes, which are the letters used in various Germanic languages before the adoption of the Latin alphabet.
Komoda is a slimline font designed by Asia Ang. It works well as a display typeface for headlines and titles and it looks smart and modern here, simply enclosed in a rectangular outline.
Brave New Fonts designed this brave new font Kollektif as an alternative to low-contrast twenty first-century typefaces. It can be used for display and blocks of text with two styles and two weights available.
Here's an example of a template using the Kollektif font: Black and White Squares Industrial Logo
Achi is Shibu PG’s first experimental font. It’s modern and contemporary and the double-outline stems and strokes add a touch of Art Deco detail.
Parley, by Filipe Rolim, has interesting diagonal lines that slice through the forms of each letter and number; some are part of the character and others are additional detail.
Download it at The Hungry Jpeg.
Laura Pol also created this font, Aroma. Available in bold and light, the font is contemporary with curved and angled terminals that are a little retro and a little calligraphic.
Tano Veron’s Boxing font delivers a heavy punch with its robust, elongated, and condensed forms. It is appropriately titled given Veron was inspired by retro boxing posters.
Designed by Pratama Yudha, Minimalust is a clean and minimal font inspired by hand-drawn lettering and vintage printing. The sans serif typeface has smooth edges and rounded corners.
Hyped font plays with geometric forms and negative space. Some of the characters hark back to the Art Deco while others are a little postmodernist Memphis.
Related article: 60 free calligraphy fonts to bring charm to your designs
Metria is a versatile geometric typeface based on consistent angles and an imperfect circle. Designer Jake Lunde says it “is inspired by rigid, geometric forms infused with organic curves to bring the words to life.”
Arenq is a free font by Paulo R and its double-line forms have both retro and futuristic appeal. It looks particularly effective here with a gradient or fade on each character.
Download it at Dafont.
Fontaine is a typeface inspired by Art Deco style, detective stories, and vintage headlines and ads, and looks perfectly suited to a movie-poster title. It’s clear, easy to read, and carries a little drama.
Download it at Freebies PSD.
Brassie by Ryan Welch is the first serif font to hit this list, but those little serifs are not detracting from this still being a thoroughly modern and contemporary font.
Liz Withers created Moka as a modern display type for a coffee logo. The client didn’t choose this logo and Liz didn’t want to waste such a great font so it’s up on Bēhance for free download. The sans serif font is big on lines and outlines and has a slightly hand-drawn feeling.
Perfograma is inspired by the IBM Harvard – Mark 1, an electro-mechanical computer that reads its instructions from a 24-channel punched paper tape. The original concept was presented to IBM in 1937. It was modern then and is still modern now.
Ministry by Victor Tongollo is an elegant sans serif typeface with elongated forms, smooth curves, and interesting bars and tails, plus other characteristic elements.
Unik2 by Fonts of Chaos has a contemporary look while still being somewhat retro and futuristic. There are no circular forms but corners and terminals are rounded to soften the overall look.
Download it at Fonts of Chaos.
Sasha Lacob’s Nagasaki font is inspired by Wim Crouwel’s 1957 poster “Hiroshima.” It’s super bold and super condensed making for a super-big impact.
Aptly named, Hyperbola is inspired by mathematical curves. Tarin Yuangtrakul looked to the geometric and mirror-image properties of a hyperbola and applied them to this modern typeface.
Related article: 50 free headline fonts built for impact and audience
Alex Dale took inspiration from popular industrial sans serif typefaces and designed Reckoner with a modern twist while still keeping the fundamentals of a traditional font.
Stoked is a serif typeface designed by Marie-Michelle Dupuis. The designer says it was “rescued with love from a rejected a five-custom letters logo. Convinced its life was not meant to be abandoned so cruelly I gave it 21 other friends.”
Now you see it; now you don’t. Anthony James’ QG font has simple curves and abstract lines that appear and disappear like a coffee-cup or wine-glass stain. “Corners add weight and prevent the aesthetics from being too rigid,” says Anthony.
Tomaz Hrastar designed Qontra as a condensed sans serif font with low contrast. Its smooth lines and curves are suitable for headlines and bodies of text.
Disclaimed by Font Fabric is a module-based display font with elongated and enclosed forms and a very high x-height.
Orkney is a geometric font designed and conceptualized by Samuel Oakes. The goal was to create a unique yet functional typeface that can be used for a wide variety of print and digital projects.
Prime by Max Pirsky is a simple typeface with a ‘techy’ feel and a strict geometric origin. It works well for headlines and body text and has enough subtle detail to be distinctive.
Matey by Andreas Leonidou might be a little bit retro but it still has a modern look and contemporary appeal. Its geometric curves and condensed form are best read at a large size making it an impactful choice for headlines and titles.
Decurion is a slab serif typeface, meaning it has thick, block-like serifs. Mehmet Reha Tugcu has designed Decurion in number of versions including inline and outline. Rough is free to download.
Emmeran Richard designed the Blanka font. It’s modern, minimalist, and abstract with elements that seem to cut short and disappear.
Download it at The Hungry Jpeg.
Related article: 50 free stylish fonts to bring a touch of elegance to any design
Maddac is named for its designers Isaac and Maddie and is a combination of their names. Their mission was to make a legible, clean-cut typeface following two pre-determined rules: the top left and bottom right must have rounded edges, and the top right and bottom left must have hard edges. Mission accomplished.
Leoscar is a modern typeface by Faridul Haque with both a serif and sans serif variation. The font is elegant and light with subtle design detail.
Amsterdam Superstar is all lines and angles making a very geometric, almost futuristic font. Each character consumes a square space making it equal height and width.
Download it at Fonts of Chaos.
Rodus has rounded corners and square forms. It comes in four style variations, including regular, rounded, square, and cut as well as four different weights.
Download it at Free Fonts 4 All.
Distrito is geometric modular font designed by Carlo Pico and inspired by the historical center of Bogotá, Colombia. Its curves have interesting angles that add drama and impact.
Download it at Da Font.
Looking for a big, bold, modern font? Etna by Krisijanis Mezulis certainly ticks all the boxes. It’s a clean, clear, and functional font that can be used for a variety of purposes.
Intro by Font Fabric has a solid geometric structure with characters based on elemental forms such as the triangle, circle, and square. It has sharp angles and a bold form.
Tomaz Leskovec’s Manifesto font is inspired by the Italian rationalist movement. The notions of structure and space are seen in how Tomaz has played with the positioning of the characteristic elements of letter.
Noir is simple and to the point – just like its name. Designed by Matthias Guggisberg, its geometric structure and sans serif form are functional and easy to read.
Related article: How different fonts speak to you
Font Fabric’s Glober is inspired by classic grotesque typefaces. It has its own unique style expressed through softened geometric forms that are light and elegant. Plus check out that lowercase ‘g’ – that’s a piece of design all it’s own.
Related article: 9 terrific font pairs for you to try
Designed by Christopher J. Lee, Canter is an all-caps, condensed typeface that works well as a display type for titles, headlines, and posters.
Related article: 100 free fonts you should be using
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