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Web Fonts Cheat Sheet: Free Google Fonts Alternatives to Futura and the Like

Are you tight on budget and can't afford to purchase pricey typefaces for your website? Check out the free Google alternatives we have reviewed in this post.

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web font alternatives

We know that trying to find the perfect web font for your website can get quite challenging. Especially when you’re tight on budget and buying commonly used typefaces like Proxima Nova or Futura is not an option. Luckily, there are decent free typefaces that actually match up pretty nicely.

Google Fonts — A Perfect Replacement for Futura and Other Commercial Fonts

Google fonts is a catalog of free-to-use typefaces that anyone can add to their site. It places typography ‘front and center.’ The collection has been carefully curated by designers, open-source community, and engineers. It’s available for exploring in over 135 languages.

Among the Google fonts, you can find a free alternative to almost every premium typeface, such as Futura font or similar. The fonts available in the catalog also increase web page speed. This is achieved thanks to cross-site caching. Just load a font once and it will be accessible to any website that uses Google fonts.

To help you save loads of time, we’ve put together a quick guide to popular premium fonts and their best Google font substitutes. Enjoy!

Best 14 Google Font Alternatives for Popular Fonts

Here’s a full list of the web fonts we explored:

  1. Helvetica >>> Open Sans 
  2. Helvetica >>> Arimo
  3. Helvetica >>> Work Sans
  4. Frutiger >>> Hind
  5. Futura >>> Nunito
  6. Futura>>> Kumbh Sans
  7. Futura>>> Questrial
  8. Baskerville >>> Libre Baskerville
  9. Proxima Nova >>> Montserrat
  10. Adobe Caslon >>> Lusitana
  11. Neo Sans >>> Armata
  12. FF Meta Web Pro >>> Source Sans Pro
  13. FF DIN >>> Roboto
  14. Poster Bodoni >>> Abril Fatface

Open Sans as a Free Alternative to Helvetica Font

Helvetica is a Sans Serif font, with a quite old history dating back to the year 1961, available for up to 80 languages. Open Sans is a free font alternative from Google that you can use instead of Helvetica. It was designed by Steve Matteson and contains about 900 characters, including Cyrillic and Greek.

Another option you might consider as a replacement for Helvetica is Bebas Neue Google font. It was designed by Ryoichi Tsunekawa and is the best fit for captions and headlines.

Arimo – Another Helvetica Alternative Google Font

Created by Steve Matteson, this modern Helvetica Google font alternative is great as far as on-screen readability goes and allows developers to solve cross-platform document portability problems. Characters in Arimo are just a bit taller than those in Helvetica web font. This sans serif typeface comes in 4 weights and includes italics.

Work Sans – a Popular Helvetica Google Font Alternative

Yet another of the Google fonts similar to Helvetica. Conceived and brought to life by Wei Huang from Australia, this sans-serif typeface is all the rage in the web design community at the moment. 9 weights plus italics are available for Work Sans users. You can also use WS as a variable font.

Hind as an Open-Source Substitute for Frutiger

Frutiger is a Sans Serif typeface designed by Adrian Frutiger in 1968. Originally intended for airport signage, it’s now widely used in booklets and magazines. Hind is a free alternative font from Google similar to Frutiger. This free typeface created by Manushi Parikh supports Latin and Devanagari scripts.

Nunito — A Google Font Close to Futura

Designed by Paul Renner, Futura has an ancient form and is the full-fledged prototype of the 20th century Geometric Sans Serif. Nunito is a Google font similar to Futura. It’s a Sans Serif typeface available in 2 versions.

Kumbh Sans – Another of the Google Fonts Similar to Futura

This Futura Google fonts alternative is a perfect fit for use in cutting-edge mobile and web apps as well as a decent substitution for Futura font in headings. The most distincitve feature of this typeface is its clear geometry. It originally offered 3 weights, but around a year ago (June 2021) was changed to a variable font.

Questrial – One-Weight Alternative to Futura Font

This Futura font Google alternative comes in only one weight and shines in headlines and body text on websites. The typeface also features tablular figures as numbers, which makes its particularly suitable for use in forms and tables. You will also notice that Questrial is a wider font in comparison with its premium counterpart.

Libre Baskerville as a Free Replacement for Baskerville

Monotype Baskerville was designed by John Baskerville. It includes 12 styles along with package family options. Libre Baskerville is a Google font similar to Baskerville. It’s a web font intended for use in body text.

Proxima Nova and Its Alternative Google Font Montserrat

Proxima Nova is a premium typeface created by Mark Simonson in 2005. It is supposed to bring closer together such fonts as Akzidenz Grotesk and Futura. One of the Proxima Nova alternative Google fonts is Montserrat. Julieta Ulanovsky designed this family to ‘rescue the beauty of urban typography that emerged in the first half of the twentieth century.’

Lusitana — a Google Font Similar to Adobe Caslon

Adobe Caslon was designed by Carol Twombly in 1990 based on the legacy of William Caslon. It can be applied to text from 6 pt to 15-point. For larger font sizes from 18 point or higher, Big Caslon font is used. It was created by Matthew Carter in 1994.

If you are looking for free fonts like Gaslon, Lusitana is probably the best option. Designed by Ana Paula Megda, this typeface is best suited for long texts in small print.

Armata to Replace Neo Sans for Free

Neo Sans is the brainchild of Sebastian Lester, a designer from Britain. It’s a universal, futuristic typeface. Neo Sans has a corresponding Google font — Armata. Designed by Viktoriya Grabowska, Armata is a Sans Serif typeface that can be found in texts of almost all sizes.

Free Source Sans Pro Instead of FF Meta Web Pro

The FF Meta is a Sans Serif typeface created by Erik Spiekermann. It’s normally used in signage and a wide range of product labeling. If you need a free font alternative from Google that’s similar to FF Meta, consider Source Sans Pro. This Sans Serif typeface designed by Paul D. Hunt is a great choice for user interfaces.

Roboto as an Alternative Google Font for FF DIN

FF DIN is a best-selling typeface created by Dutch type designer Albert-Jan Pool, and includes almost 60 styles. Roboto is a Google alternative that can replace the DIN font. Designed by Christian Robertson, Roboto has mostly geometric forms.

Premium Poster Bodoni VS Free Abril Fatface

Poster Bodoni is the creation of Chauncey Griffith. This typeface has traits of the fonts used in ads from the beginning to the 50’s of the past century. The free Google font Abril Fatface can adequately replace Poster Bodoni. It includes 18 styles for a variety of use cases.

We hope this quick reference helps save you hours of searching, comparing, and struggling. If you have any font suggestions or comments, we’re all ears! We love hearing from you!

Best Frontend Development ASAP

Happy designing!

Last updated: July 13, 2022

Dmitriy Maschenko

Dmitriy is the Head of a division at PSD2HTML, an experienced web developer, and a prolific author of in-depth technology and business-related posts. He is always eager to share his years-long expertise with everyone who wants to succeed in the web development field.