The following is a paid review. Please note: my time is being paid for but my opinions are my own.
Urban Fonts is a fairly new free font download site that aims to make finding free fonts (and dingbats) a little less painful.
Using this site is definitely a much-improved experience compared with the usual pop-up ridden, ad splattered free font sites.
The site is cleanly designed and has a number of helpful features to make it easier for you to find the right free font.
And of course, if you can't find one they provide you with the option to (shock, horror) actually purchase a font, although this is done via affiliate links to Fonts.com.
It's easy to browse fonts and to quickly see if one is going to work for you. Mouse over a font preview and the whole alphabet is displayed in that typeface.
Urban Fonts has a large collection of fonts (they claim 8,000) and they seem to have all the usual suspects — which also means they have a lot of crap that you have to wade through (much like any other free font site).
Although they have a top 100 list of fonts, the 8th most popular font is a Walt Disney rip-off, so I don't know how useful this list is going to be to the serious font-seeker.
It would be useful to be able to view the most popular fonts in each category rather than have a single, global list. I'm sure there are other filtering options that could be implemented to make it easier to hone in on the decent fonts.
Another problem for a cash-strapped web designer who might want to use a font for a commercial project is that while most fonts are freeware, shareware and linkware fonts are also included.
However, there is no way of knowing the license until you have downloaded the font and can view the readme file accompanying it. It would be useful to be able to filter fonts by license.
The home page, while attractive to look at, is not as useful as it could be.
I really don't understand why the 'Top Searches' tag cloud has been given such prominence when it seems to have very little use, especially as the font browser by font type has been well implemented.
Likewise, the 'Featured Fonts' on the home page (at the time of writing) are going to be of little or no use to most designers.
But I'm really nit-picking as the site does its core job well (i.e. present fonts clearly and cleanly) and it's easy on the eye to boot. One for your bookmarks.
Posted on: February 7, 2007 | 4 Comments