In his famous 1908 essay, ‘Ornament and Crime,’ modern architect Adolf Loos wrote: “The evolution of culture marches with the elimination of ornament from useful objects.” This pronouncement banished many of the frilly, decorative fonts of centuries past from the realm of High Design. Fast forward to the present day: Web 3.0 is awash in enough sleek sans serif and classic roman typefaces to make designers long for the typographic indulgences of yesteryear.
Harness the power of the antique and make your graphics pop with one of these vintage-inspired fonts, which have returned to the spotlight both in print and online. From the Wild West and Victoriana to the Avant Garde and Calligraphy, there are plenty of styles to choose from. Fonts have been grouped informally, with contemporary interpretations alongside (almost) original prototypes. All are available free for personal use, but please make sure to read the license agreements carefully.