20 Creative and Unique Typefaces

Jun 14 2009 by Tom Walker | 50 Comments

We live in a world surrounded by Times New Roman, Arial and Helvetica, typefaces so functional that they have long since become boring. It’s a shame that we rarely come into contact with the wealth of endlessly creative typefaces out there, relying instead on the tried and tested. I have scoured the web to bring you 20 of the most creative typefaces available, many of which have been designed by amateur typographers.

Most of them are free to download and use (some for non-commercial purposes only), so please make the most of them. Together, we can push for a more diverse, interesting and ultimately creative typeface landscape.With that in mind, here they are: twenty seriously creative typefaces.

1. Laurent HW

Laurent HW

Characters in this typeface appear as though they have been written in fountain pen onto slightly absorbent paper. This gives the nostalgic impression of a school child’s scrawl in an exercise book.

2. Skinographie

Skinographie

Skinographie is a typeface constructed solely from clothes pegs and skin. Pegs are applied to a human canvas in order to form an alphabet of lowercase letters. It’s certainly not the most attractive typeface in this list, in fact it’s rather disgusting, but never let it be said it’s not creative! While some letters like ‘I’, for example, can easily be recreated at home, others like ‘E’ can only be reproduced on people with high pain thresholds and exceptionally saggy skin. I’m not sure whether it’s possible to create punctuation marks using this method, but the very thought of it brings tears to my eyes.

3. Origram

Origram

Inspired by origami, Origram is a simple, but very effective typeface with an obvious Asian influence. The strokes within each character end at a sharp point, as with folded paper.

4. Adry of Hanabi

Adry of Hanabi

This typeface is very reminiscent of European street art. Most of the characters incorporate a relaxed, spiral motif, which has a certain graffiti-like quality.

5. Ecofont

Ecofont

Most types of ink contain high levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) and heavy metals, which are all environmentally degrading. Typographer Collin Willems has designed a typeface called Ecofont, which he hopes will reduce the amount of ink used in the printing industry and make it more sustainable.

Each Ecofont character contains a row of tiny circles, reducing its ‘weight’ and the amount of ink required to print it. Although Ecofont is not suitable for every application, it’s perfect for ‘throw-away printing’, which comprises the majority of printed output.

6. Sunday Morning Garage Sale

Sunday Morning Garage Sale

This cute typeface, which looks like its been based on a 13-year-old girl’s doodle, is both eye-catching and very fun. Its ‘messiness’ adds to its charm, but does not detract from its legibility.

7. Pyramid

Pyramid

Each letter in this typeface has been designed as a pyramid, viewed from above. Not every character is as legible as it could or should be, but the design is extremely creative nonetheless.

8. Megalopolis Extra

Megalopolis Extra

Designed by French font factory SMeltery, this bold typeface has some extremely creative ligatures. It’s at its best when it’s big and looks particularly striking when used on posters.

9. MOD

MOD

MOD is a font family consisting of variations on a theme of proportional, chunky, block characters. Some of these lack clarity, which is a shame, but the ones made from spilt milk and smoke spirals are highly imaginative.

10. Exus Pilot

Exus Pilot

This typeface is similar to MOD in many ways and is just as attractive. Unlike MOD however, it is a serif font, which really adds clarity and aids legibility.

11. Cube

Cube

Cube is a gorgeous, 3-dimensional typeface, available in a range of vivid colours. It’s crisp, clear-cut and looks as though it’s been shaped from folded cardboard boxes.

12. LDJ Crafty

LDJ Crafty

LDJ Crafty is a fun, hand-drawn typeface that would be perfect for use in media aimed at kids.

13. Plasti Puzzle Font

Plasti Puzzle Font

Plasti Puzzle was designed by Rodier-Kid, an extremely talented Argentinean graphic designer and typographer. Words written in this typeface are immediately intelligible, despite the cartoon-like, bubbly style.

14. Cinderella Decorative

Cinderella Decorative

This beautifully embellished typeface is reminiscent of the illuminated calligraphy of the Middle Ages. Each character could be the first in an antique book of fairytales.

15. Sausage

Sausage

Sausage is an elongated, elegant typeface, which is inventive but comprehensible. The overlaying of ‘sausages’ to build characters creates an intriguing 3D effect.

16. Getting Blocky

Getting Blocky

This highly original typeface looks great, but does suffer somewhat at the hands of its own stylisation. Some letters, particularly ‘R’, ‘N’, and ‘X’, look confusing on their own, although they do tend to work in sentence form.

17. Akashi

Akashi

This cool typeface looks great on flyers for club night and other events. Each minimalist character has a rounded structure, while some end in a point, like Origram.

18. Contemporary

Contemporary

Contemporary is modern, lightweight and oozes style. The overlapping of characters is highly effective in this instance, although I personally think it would look more fluid if the ‘A’ and ‘V’ were less slanted.

19. Renaissance

Renaissance

Like Cinderella Decorative, this ornamental typeface owes much to illuminated calligraphy. Its detailed characters are interspersed with wildlife and angelic figures.

20. Dora

Dora

Dora is an example of how easy it is to make your own typeface. Michael Slevin simply scanned his friend Dora’s handwriting into a computer and made some minor adjustments. It looks slightly sketchy, but this could be his first step on the road to typographic greatness.

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About the Author

Tom Walker is an internet and design addict who writes for a leading provider of HP laser toner based in the UK. If you’d like to connect with him, you can follow him on Twitter.

50 Comments

Goobi

June 14th, 2009

Particularly liked the eco-font concept.

*And hate the skin mutilation typeface crap. Disgusting.

treby

June 14th, 2009

Omg!i love the dora font it is perfect for what i am looking for (:

Tele

June 14th, 2009

Nice typefaces! So creative!

Toby

June 14th, 2009

What a joke! I mean, you’re not serius aren’t you?

tabiji

June 14th, 2009

They’re ugly.

me

June 14th, 2009

immediately intelligible?

Miyuki

June 14th, 2009

Well, if you take any typography class, you will understand why Helvetica, Times New Roman, and other “boring” fonts persist–they are legible and practical for non-digital media. While I agree that such fonts have become old hat, one does not need to swing so far to the other side that fonts used are not practical. Try some typefaces that retain legibility while feeling new and fresh and fun. Some examples are Existence (can’t be set too small), HVD Comic Serif, and Maiandra. For something you could set a lot of text in and have easy to read, Caslon is a beautiful serif font, as is Chapparal Pro.

fazai38

June 14th, 2009

beautiful!!… love the Exus Pilot.

Thanks for collecting the list.

w1sh

June 14th, 2009

Wholeheartedly agree with Miyuki. These fonts suck.

Phaoloo

June 14th, 2009

Some are great, some are bad but I like this post

Barbara

June 15th, 2009

Very nice collection. I like Cinderella Decorative and Renaissance a lot. Can’t wait to do something creative with them :)

daa

June 15th, 2009

come on!! Pyramid and MOD can’t be readen! how can you write a legible word with those caracters? on the other hand, Dora, garage sale, and so many others, are beautyful!

accessko

June 15th, 2009

Hi,

Thank you for the list. I like the Contemporary and Akashi.
But what the hell is nr 2? It’s not the most attractive typeface I have ever seen. That’s gotta hurt!

Crowd

June 15th, 2009

I found only 4 actually usable (altrough quite limited)

Chris McCorkle

June 15th, 2009

Some of these I’ve seen elsewhere. The title of the post was ‘creative and unique,’ so I didn’t expect to see any usable fonts here.

Guillaume Pelletier

June 15th, 2009

Most of these fonts seem to have been picked by a 12 year old child… Some could be useful for creative graphic work, I guess, but it’s not the best collection. I tend to agree with Miyuki above.

Tabatha

June 15th, 2009

The skinographie is gross, and I can’t saee any real use for it. Like the ecofont and exus, though. Grage sale is neat, too.

Grimgoth

June 15th, 2009

Where can i download Cinderella Decorative and Renaissance font?

Liuk

June 16th, 2009

Quite original most of them! (Although I must confess skinographie results quite disgusting). I like MOD’s style, maybe try to practice with a similar idea. Thanks!!!
;)

Farid Hadi

June 16th, 2009

I liked Origami and Contempory. However, when it comes to Contempory, I do agree with you about the “A” and “V” being too slanted. According to me it would have been much better if they weren’t slanted at all, like the rest of the characters. I’m not too sure about the overlapping either but I guess changing the line-height should solve that if it’s undesired.
Thanks for the links.

Barbara

June 16th, 2009

@Grimgoth: You have to sign up for membership before you can download these fonts.

Bodoni Bold

June 16th, 2009

I always thought that fonts should be readable!
Most of these could be considered “modern art”, but as a means to convey information, no way!

Phil E. Drifter

June 16th, 2009

These fonts suck.

Shane

June 16th, 2009

The least helpful list of fonts I’ve come across. Otherwise I love sixrevisions!

Mary

June 16th, 2009

Thank you! I can’t thank you enough!

Gray

June 17th, 2009

love the Cude and Contemporary typefaces… too dope..!

om ipit

June 18th, 2009

this is a great post.
i love typo, n i love Skinographie (unique)

Ralls

June 18th, 2009

Fine for advertising or simple artistic expression but totally useless for communication

Harsh Agrawal

June 19th, 2009

Love the second one..

Amanda

June 19th, 2009

Hi,

Thank you for the list. I like the Contemporary and Akashi.

Saddam Azad

June 19th, 2009

Contemporary is a fab font. Thanks for a great list.

PelFusion

June 20th, 2009

hmmmmmm Origram is nice

Nat

June 24th, 2009

These are nice. Thanks for sharing.

John

June 24th, 2009

I love the Garage Sale font. I have only one complaint. How can I make a sign for my small business without single and double quote marks? As in…

Try our “Hot Dog’s”

Greg

June 28th, 2009

Some people shouldn’t be given computers.
The greats from the old type foundries would be rolling in their graves. Pathetic.

Ashley Adams

June 29th, 2009

I sometimes tend to miss the point in such posts. Sure, they are amusing and perhaps interesting too. But are they of any real use? Can they make any serious contribution to real world graphics requirements? Tell me, how would you use something like ‘Skinographie’?

Phaoloo

July 3rd, 2009

Great typographic!

lucy

July 5th, 2009

itz cool and the pyramid fonts is very attractive…

Pawbla

July 9th, 2009

I personally find most of them hideous.
Contemporary is the only one that *may* not be as horrible as the rest :B.

ze

July 14th, 2009

In Skinographie font, I think the ‘r’ was made with someone’s butt… o_O

Naruto

July 24th, 2009

the skinographie was gross it made me wanta puke

Rob

August 29th, 2009

Everyone complaining about these are morons, as if the people who created them intended for them to be used in the printing of a novel! Read the title again… “Creative & Unique Typefaces” which is exactly what they are. And if you can’t see how any of these could be used or what one would do with them, then you are a terrible designer with no artistic ability whatsoever.

Enno

November 14th, 2009

Yeah … but in the introduction the fonts are positioned against Helvetica and Co (and the author probably by that meant also fonts like Frutiger or Univers which in my eyes stand above any criticism). This is clearly comparing apples with pears. I found this page when looking for a ‘sustainable typeface’ because I had heard about the ink saving font (so it did the job for me). However: all the other fonts are nice toys but not what one can use on day-to-day basis – say in corporate design. And the ink saving font is actually a joke too …

Nothing really useful on this page, but nice to look at.

E

Rich R

November 27th, 2009

Awesome list of resources! Thank you for sharing.

I would just like to add one more set of typography resources and that is the forum of http://www.pilo.me

It is a private typography forum with an unbelievable amount of free fonts, premium fonts and exclusive typefaces. I think it was voted the best typography forum of 2009. If you are a font lover/addict, check it out. Like I said though, it is either private or invite only. I have never seen a typography site like it with all it has to offer. Anyhow, check it out, pilo.me

Anyhow, great article, I definitely will be referring to these time to time.

Maiana

December 4th, 2009

Iguess…you did it on porpouse, put in the begining the Skinographie…it’s disgusting!but some of the others are really fashionable and trendy, Thanks.

shoaib

December 9th, 2009

love all the fonts,but hate the skinographie it really is annoying.

Detmas

June 29th, 2011

Wonderful post and very creative typefaces however, Skinographie ie #2 is still not clear to me. It looks disgusting like you said but I still wanted to make a deduction from it. Anyway Good job.

Theraisa K

October 22nd, 2011

There’s a lot of creative fonts in here. Don’t think I’d use many of them in client projects, but they might be fun to play around with for personal/side projects with a limited audience viewing :)

Dean Marshall

November 4th, 2011

I know I’m late to the party having just stumbled upon this article but I had to comment. I just had to say that I’d find most of these fonts unusable. Following the principle of “don’t make me think” as espoused by Steve Krug, I think a font that requires two seconds per character to decipher has a very limited use case.

They may be ‘creative’, they may be ‘unique’ but are they readable??

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