There are soooooo many amazing fonts out there, many available for free. Once you know how to install the fonts, it’s easy to spend an entire evening downloading cool fonts. But soon your computer slows down trying to deal with all the extra fonts and it’s impossible to find the font you want because that list is so long! And how do you remember what the Sunflower font looks like? And what are glyphs and how do I see them? And…so many questions! This page explores lots of the frequently asked questions about fonts.
What are fonts?
Fonts change the look of text. Fonts can make your text seem serious, fancy, happy, silly, or flirty. Fonts are a lot of fun to use! For the most part, fonts are stored in files that are readily available online to download (for free or for a fee). After you download fonts, they are installed on your computer/device and can be used by many programs/apps.
Design Space uses two types of fonts: Cricut fonts and system fonts.
- Cricut fonts are those that work only within Design Space. A few are free to use. Many require a fee, either a one-time purchase to use forever or are part of a subscription that you can use only while paying for the subscription.
- System fonts are those on your computer. To use them in your projects, they must be installed on your system while you are designing or making the project. If you collect a lot of fonts, you’ll want to find a way to keep track of which fonts you use so you don’t delete ones you’d like to use again.
Fonts are readily available online. There are lots of sites to find them. They’re easy to download and collect, though sometimes finding just the right one is hard, since there are thousands of them!
Where do I find fonts?
- Dafont has tons of fonts that are categorized into over 50 categories, like script, groovy, handwritten, holiday, etc. I like ability to preview the fonts using your own phrase. Most of the fonts are free for personal use; many are a nominal cost for commercial use. https://www.dafont.com/
- 1001 Free Fonts has far, far more than 1001 fonts. Similar to Dafont, it has lots of font categories and allows you to preview using your own phrase. https://www.1001freefonts.com/ Note: Watch for similarly named sites that are filled with malware.
- Font Bundles is a site that sells inexpensive fonts, particularly in bundles, or in a subscription to the site. They also have quite a few free fonts available. Sign up for their emails and they’ll tell you about their bundles and their freebies. Fair warning, there is some fun stuff there! A commercial license is included. There is a sister site, DesignBundles, had free files for crafting. https://fontbundles.net/free-fonts
- Creative Fabrica is a site like Font Bundles that sells individual fonts (and graphics), bundles of them, and subscriptions. Commercial licenses are included. They also have an email list to tell you when the freebies come out. Sometimes the freebies are only available for a week or so, other hang around a lot longer so there are quite a few to choose from. https://www.creativefabrica.com/freebies/
- The Hungry JPEG is another wonderful site with weekly freebies and a commercial license. https://thehungryjpeg.com/freebie-of-the-week
How do I install fonts?
For Windows, there are several ways:
- Use the Font Settings system app.
Type “fonts” into the Windows search bar and select Font Settings. Drag and drop your file to the designated box on the screen, shown in the screenshot. The file must be unzipped!
To preview the font, including with text in a size that you specify, click on the font. On that preview display, there is a button to uninstall, if you need to.
- In the File Explorer window, double-click on an unzipped font file (extensions are usually .otf and .ttf). This will open the font in a display window. At the top are two buttons, one to print it, the other to install it. Click on the Install button. In the screenshot, the arrow shows the file I double-clicked to bring up the font display window with the print and install buttons.
- The two methods above are easier for most users. However, if you are capable with File Explorer, all you need to do is copy the files to the system folder, C:\Windows\Fonts. Accessing that directory in File Explorer adds some abilities to view, organize, and delete fonts.
What do I do with all these fonts?
Once they are installed, you can definitely delete the files (as long as you’re not deleting them in the \Windows\Fonts folder).
HOWEVER…at some point, you will want to install it on a new, upgraded computer. Or your hard drive will die. Or you were previewing it and the toddler or dog’s nose touched “delete” on your touch screen. Stuff happens.
The best way to protect yourself is to keep copies of these files on a separate drive. This is especially true if you purchase fonts from places that might not allow you unlimited downloads (or if you forget your password to that site, or site ceases to exist). Find a place to put them. Some options are:
- Cloud storage. There are plenty of free services like Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive, Google Drive, and the Apple cloud service. Fonts don’t take up a lot of space — you can store thousands of font files in a gigabyte of data — so it won’t blow your free storage limit.
- External hard drive. You should have one of these and use it to back up your hard drive. In addition, you can keep folders of your fonts and graphics files there, too.
- A jump drive or SD card. For under $10, you can get a USB thumb/jump drive or an SD card with 32GB of storage — FAR more than you’ll need to store just fonts. You can probably store quite a few graphics files, too. Clearly label your drive that it’s a backup and keep it stored away from spouses or kids who will borrow it because they need to transfer something just this once.
You can keep another copy in a folder on your hard drive (I’d recommend in your Documents folder, not in your downloads folder). Just be sure to copy this every so often to your backup that isn’t on your hard drive.
How do I see what the fonts look like?
A website called Wordmark.it lets you type in a phrase and view the phrase in all of your installed fonts. Shown below is the old version; there is a newer version that has more options and even a pro version (as of March, 2021, it’s$24/year, does not auto renew). This is a very worthwhile website!