Alternative to font “x” chart or service?

I have a number of typefaces for which I’d like to find free or open licence alternatives to. Rather than ask a series of “What is the best open license font to substitute for ‘Goudy Catalogue’? ‘Univers’? …?” here or elsewhere on the net it occurs to me that what I’d really like is a typeface/font comparison service similar to Does such a beast exist? If not, what is the next best thing?

Background: We have a number of inherited historical projects using fonts we aren’t licensed for, and we need to bring ourselves into legal compliance. We don’t have the budget to simply purchase all of the fonts used.


As far as I’m aware, no. has a fairly good font recommendation system but they don’t do open source.

Your best bet is to identify categories of fonts that you need (eg, Venetian Oldstyle, 19th Century Grotesque, Scotch Roman, etc) then crawl through sites like Font Squirrel and Google Fonts to find the most complete designs.

The price of open source and freeware is that you have to work a little harder 😉

— Update in response to your update —

No free alternative to a commercial font exists that matches closely enough to simply swap fonts. At least not the legal ones. You have two options:

  1. Bill for your expenses. If these are client projects, work the expense into your fees either up-front with an explanation or over the course of a few projects.

  2. Redesign. For in-house projects or flexible/cheap clients, I would redefine your font specs based on what’s available. Find something close, define styles to roughly match the space requirements, search and replace the fonts, and comb through the docs for any problems that may have arisen.

Source : Link , Question Author : matt wilkie , Answer Author : plainclothes

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