Having an arsenal of quality fonts is essential for web and graphic designers. In this post, we’ll feature the best free serif fonts you’ll want to add to your toolbox. Browse through these featured fonts and click on any of the thumbnails to be led to the font source for download.
Serif fonts are easy to read in print or on-screen. They’re highly versatile and can be used for large sections of small text (like body copy) or short sections of large text (like headlines). They can be paired with sans serifs and other font types.
Free Serif Fonts from Google Fonts
We’ll start by looking at some options from Google Fonts. One of the reasons we love Google Fonts is that these fonts and typefaces can be used for commercial purposes, which often isn’t the case with freebies. There are a few different licenses used, so we recommend always checking the license details before using a font.
Additionally, Google Fonts can be used in websites and apps, as well as other types of graphic design, so they’re extremely versatile.
Playfair Display is a beautiful font with a lot to offer. It works well for headlines and body copy, and the italic versions are especially elegant. It comes in six weights, from regular to black, plus italic versions of each.
Merriweather is an excellent choice for body copy that’s easily readable. It works in any size. The package includes four weights (light, regular, bold, and black), plus italic variations of each.
Lora is another versatile serif font for body copy, headlines, titles, and more. It comes in four weights (regular, medium, semibold, and bold), plus italics.
Noto Serif is part of the larger Noto font family. There are also variations for many different languages. Noto Serif comes in regular and bold, plus italic variations. The bold weight is especially well-suited for headlines.
Vollkorn is a beautiful font with a distinct look. It comes in six weights, from regular to black. Italic variations are also provided for each weight.
Bree Serif isn’t the most versatile font on this list, but it’s certainly useful in the right situation. It comes in only one weight and is a rather bold or heavy font. It’s not the best serif for body copy, but Bree Serif works very well for headlines and titles.
Fanwood also comes in only one weight, but an italic variation is included. The lack of any bold or heavy weights limits Fanwood’s versatility, but it’s still a beautiful font that’s highly readable.
This elegant serif typeface is highly versatile and useful for many purposes. It comes in five weights, from regular to extra bold. Italic versions are also provided for each weight.
Source Serif Pro comes in six weights from Extra Light to Black, plus italics. It can be especially useful if you’re looking for a thin font, since very few of the options on this list include thin variations. Both the extra light and light weights of Source Serif Pro can meet your needs for a thin font.
Crimson Text comes in three weights: regular, semibold, and bold. Italic variations are also provided. The bold weight of Crimson Text is an excellent choice for titles and headers.
Popular Free Serif Fonts
While Google Fonts offers an excellent selection of free serif fonts, there are more choices out there. Here, we’ll showcase some beautiful options available in other places. Be sure to check the license details as they vary from one font to the next.
Calluna is a beautiful font family with a total of eight styles. Calluna Regular is free to download from Fontspring, but the other weights and styles must be purchased. The regular version is worth downloading though because it can be used for headlines or body text.
Afta Serif is available at FontSquirrel, and it comes in regular and italics. This one is better suited for headlines than smaller body copy.
Ethos is a large font family that includes a total of 36 styles. The regular and italic variations are available for free download, but the other styles must be purchased. This elegant font comes with OpenType features like ligatures, small caps, fractions, and more.
Sling has three weights: light, normal, and bold (no italics). However, it’s a thick font, so the light weight feels more like regular, and the normal weight feels bold. Sling works for headlines and other situations where a heavy font is needed.
Bodoni stands out from other fonts on this list thanks to contrasting thick and thin sections of the characters or letterforms. It comes in regular and bold, plus italics. It’s perfect for headlines, branding, signage, product packaging, and much more.
Sina Nova is a professional font family with 12 styles. Sina Nova Regular can be downloaded and used for free. If you like it, you can buy the other styles to round out the font family.
Mermaid is a fun, bold serif that’s free for personal use. The most noteworthy feature is the inclusion of swash caps, as seen in the image above. Swash caps are perfect for adding a decorative touch that makes your text stand out.
Abril Fatface is an excellent choice for titles, headlines, or anywhere you need a bold font to create standout text. It comes in only one weight, and there’s no italic version. Despite the lack of versatility, Abril Fatface is definitely worth adding to your arsenal because it’s perfect in the right situation.
Nolluca is a unique all-caps serif. It comes in one weight, so it’s not the most versatile. However, it’s useful for headlines, social media images, posters, and other projects that call for a unique display font. Please note that Nolluca is free only for personal use.
Chanticleer Roman comes in regular and bold weights (no italics). It can be used for small body copy, as well as headlines.
Cabrito Didone is a huge family with a total of 42 fonts, but only the regular variation is free. This font has a unique style that you’ll appreciate.
Premium Serif Fonts
Although we’re focusing on free fonts for this article, there are also plenty of premium serif fonts worth considering. Premium fonts come with licensing for commercial use, so you can use them in client projects with confidence. Many premium fonts also include extras like OpenType features, multi-lingual support, and webfont versions. Here are a few options.
Addington is a gorgeous, versatile serif font family. It comes in seven weights, from light to extra bold, plus italic versions of each. Use it for body copy, headlines, branding, merchandise, packaging, and more. Addington comes with OpenType features and multi-language support.
Drallen is an elegant modern serif font perfect for branding and logos, social media graphics, brochures, flyers, magazines, and more. It works well for fashion and other industries that require an upscale feel. Drallen includes a nice collection of ligatures to give your text a customized look. You’ll also get a web font version.
Perfectly NIneties is a beautiful serif font family with a subtle vintage or nostalgic feel. It comes in five weights, from regular to black, plus italic versions. You’ll use this font over and over for everything from body copy to headlines. It works well for posters, book covers, branding, packaging, and more.
Waverly is an elegant serif with a feminine style. Use it for branding, social media images, t-shirts, quotes, and more. It works well for projects related to fashion and other industries that need a luxurious font.
Glowgirl is an elegant single-weight font that works well for editorial design, magazines, stationery, branding, social media, and more. The download also includes a webfont version.
Final Thoughts on Free Serif Fonts
Serifs are among the most commonly used font types, so you’ll want plenty of options in your collection of fonts. Thankfully, there are some outstanding free serif fonts that you can download and use for no cost. We’ve featured the best ones here. All you need to do is determine which one is right for your project.