Once a month I'll inevitably get an email from Paypal saying that "a nice dafont visitor" threw a couple bucks my way. Almost always $5. It's awesome and absolutely unnecessary (because everything I have on dafont is 100% free or open source). It's also inspiring. I ultimately end up visiting DaFont and get lost in the variety and quantity of typefaces. So that's what this blog post is about. Buckle up, I'm handpicking some recent favorites that you can use for anything. Yes I downloaded, installed, and used these all 24 of these fonts to make the graphics below👇
A lot of these are attention getting display faces that might work best with only a word or two. SOME of them could work for far more than that, but the easiest way for me to quickly make this fun was to imagine that each of these badass dafonts represent signage for a food court restaurant. You know, all of a sudden you're in the wing of a mall where a few dozen places are vying for your attention/money, and because you're in a mall (or in this case DaFont) you're like "why the hell not?" Here we go, in order of how I found them...
Uppercase only, but that probably works in this font's favor. If this was an actual restaurant it'd probably cost a lot and be a tiny portion. But it'd be delicious, obviously.
Lowercase only, and some of the script connections don't work great, but it's definitely usable! And who doesn't love a smoothie place?!
It's got that weathered look which, in my opinion, screams bar food, or something. Pairs well with a beer, I'm sure. Lowercase and uppercase are the same, which is fine, really.
Not gonna lie, some of these letters are a bit of a stretch in terms of readability (the E, for instance, which is the most commonly used letter in the English language). But this one is super fun, memorable, and perfect in small quantities (unlike milkshakes which are perfect in any quantity).
A nice and round, pseudo-script font. Beautifully clean uppercase and lowercase letters. I'd love some alternates, here, but hey, it's free.
This is one of my favorites from this DaFont adventure. I love it. Soft with some nice chunks. So friendly, anything you type in it is just happy.
And now for something completely different. Monospace, no curves, cold as h*ck. But, sturdy and reliable.
I don't make or use script fonts like this. And they're everywhere. And they're all giving off the same Pinterest vibe for me. But this one is kind of nice and clean.
This is a pretty solid brush painted font. At first glance I thought it was House Slant (which I also love) but nah, this is something different and also beautiful.
Ok this is the first on the list from Vladimir Nikolic who apparently has 773 DaFonts. I can't even. What? A lot of them are complex like this and kind of mind-bending.
See what I mean? Another from Vladimir. I set each of these letters individually and rotated them slightly which – if this was my font – I would alter permanently. This font is so fun and unpredictable that having a sharp/hard baseline feels jarring.
12 Loded Diaper
I mean, I didn't even have to give this food court stop a different name. The font name works fine. It's the most DaFont of these DaFonts, if you know what I mean. But it absolutely has a place here.
I didn't expect to find a freebie from The Northern Block here, but it turns out they have a bunch of great stuff on DaFont. Cool. This is a lovely normal thing.
The name is rough, and it looks like each weekly free font on Creative Market, but you know what? It works. Also, I want Noodlebar to be a thing where I live. Maybe that's what I should start next.
I'm not sure why I felt like bacon worked with this blackletter, but that's what happened. Each of these "restaurants" kind of became a word association/first impression sort of design without being too obvious. But yeah, bacon.
I'm getting ready to see this on Soundcloud album art, for sure. When I first saw it I thought it was ripped from Future Fonts or Velvetyne, and maybe it WAS, but I don't think so. It certainly wouldn't be out of place at either website. Cool.
I can't remember the last time I sat in a coffee shop (because: pandemic). But when I did, I usually had a laptop. That's why cafes exist, right? Anyway, this has a typewriter vibe, but it is proportionally spaced, and inconsistently weighted. Those are all fun things, I'm just sayin.
Vlad! Friend! You're back! I mean, this thing is detailed. Shrink it down enough and it's almost solid. But I bet it would print out real nice. Also, I'm almost always craving Thai food.
19 Donut Icons
No name is necessary when you've got DONUTS. This font has no letters, just tons of different donuts. I deem it essential in your graphic design toolbox.
20 Bat Fight
Talk about a hidden gem. I'm not sure the legality here, but you might be safe to use it for anything. I'm just copying/pasting the description because it is so cool: Bat Fight is a collection of 72 Bat Fight words used in the hit 60s TV show Batman, hand traced from the screen using the iPad Pro. I'm not sure what food KAPOW! would have, but it'd probably be hot and painful.
A seriously swishy cursive brush font. It has some nice contrast and is pretty welcoming. I do love the angle that it is leaning, too.
This one is interesting because it is handmade, but also very square. I don't think you see those two things together very often. If it had alternates I'd be using it for something, for sure.
Bravo Mr Nikolic, you've contributed 4 fonts to this list! Turkish comes in a few different styles, and they're all cool. But this one seemed to work the best. Still, it might be hard to read, even at a large size. Worth the risk, IMHO.
Thought I'd leave out a sushi place? No way. Why this font? I can't really say, honestly. It's the last one on the list, which might mean something. This was my stopping point. Still, it has some very nice curves and is conveniently wide.
Did I get lazy with some of these layouts/lockups? Sure. But I kept everything black on white and let the font do the talking with only rotating/scaling text. I might have kerned a pair or two, ok? But I didn't outline anything or make adjustments. These fonts are cool, I promise.
Why am I doing this? I'm thrilled that two of my ETC typefaces just hit Google Fonts, and GF is better than ever, to be honest. 1000+ typefaces there, and literally hundreds of them are ridiculously high quality, full featured, AND open source. It's wild. But, it was FUN making this. I had FUN browsing DaFont. Which is why I got into all of this over 15 years ago to begin with. I don't always browse Google Fonts for fun, I browse it because I need something reliable. DaFont is the exact opposite for that, for me. I'm there for entertainment and maybe something a little wild. That said, this made for a great exercise. Feel like you're in a rut? Find something fun on DaFont and design something with it.
Future typography students of mine, this might be an assignment some day, we'll see. Like what you see? Tell me on Twitter: @typeler 👋