Put your best font forwards!

Serif fonts are used in branding to display a more traditional and classical tone for communications. They are very heavily used in newsprint, books and magazines, and as such, an audience is very used to seeing them.

Read this article in order to find out the best serif fonts for you to be using in 2023, for any creative or commercial purpose. You might want to get Google Fonts open in a new tab, so you can follow along and see for yourself!

Better serif than sorry!

A serif font is an additional taper added to a letter, most representative of the strokes in handwritten text. Some really common serif fonts include Baskerville, Courier New, Garamond and Times New Roman – to name a few. Brands that want to be seen as refined and reliable will use serif fonts in their communications.

Read on to see our list of the 10 best free serif fonts to use in 2023!

Merriweather is a serif font ideal for screen use


Merriweather was designed by Sorkin Type to be a text face that is pleasant to read on screens. It features a very large height, slightly condensed letterforms, mild diagonal stress and sturdy serifs It is an impactful font that demands the reader’s attention.

Download Merriweather here.

Lora is a classic yet modern serif font with a softer look than some slab fonts


Lora is a well-balanced contemporary serif with roots in calligraphy. It is a text typeface with moderate contrast well suited for body text. Lora is optimised for screen appearance, and works equally well in print. The overall typographic voice of Lora perfectly conveys the mood of a modern-day story, or an art essay.

Download Lora here.

Arvo is a very versatile serif font


The font Arvo designed by Anton Koovit is slightly monolinear, but has a tiny bit of contrast (which increases the legibility a little in Mac OS X). In the Finnish language, Arvo means ‘number’, ‘value’ or ‘worth’. This font is ideal for use in titles, subtitles, menus and footers.

Download Arvo here.

Unna is a softer serif font ideal for body text or subtitles


Unna has a soft look that is expressed through delicate serifs and strong stems, accentuating the typical neoclassical vertical texture. The type designer, Jorge de Buen, was inspired to name this design after the surname of his mother.

Download Unna here.

PT Serif is a Cyrillic-inspired font

PT Serif

PT Serif is the second pan-Cyrillic font family developed for the project “Public Types of the Russian Federation.” The first family of the project, PT Sans, was released in 2009. The project is dedicated to the 300 year anniversary of the civil type invented by Peter the Great in 1708–1710. PT Serif includes both Latin and Cyrillic characters.

Download PT Serif here.

Mozilla's Zilla Slab, a useful serif font

Zilla Slab

Zilla Slab is Mozilla’s core typeface, used for the Mozilla wordmark, headlines and throughout their designs. A contemporary slab serif, based on Tesla Slab (both by the Typotheque foundry), it is constructed with smooth curves and true italics, which gives text an unexpectedly sophisticated industrial look and a friendly approachability in all weights.

Download Zilla Slab here.

Neuton, a good serif font, especially for smaller type


Neuton is a clean, dark, Dutch-inspired serif font designed by Brian Zick. It has a large height, short extenders, and a compact width for better screen use and economy of space. It has a large x-height (the height of the lowercase ‘x’ in a typeface), making it legible in smaller sizes.

Download Neuton here.

Libre Baskerville is a serif font ideal for body text.

Libre Baskerville

Libre Baskerville is a web font optimized for body text. It is based on the American Type Founder’s Baskerville from 1941, but it has a taller x-height, wider counters and a little less contrast, that allow it to work well for reading on-screen.

Download Libre Baskerville here.

Playfair Display, a great serif typeface for using in titles

Playfair Display

While it is not a revival of any particular design, it takes influence from the designs of John Baskerville and from ‘Scotch Roman’ designs. Being a Display (large size) style of typeface in the transitional genre, functionally and stylistically it can accompany body text.

Download Playfair Display here.

Bitter, a great serif typeface


A ‘contemporary’ slab serif typeface for text, Bitter is specially designed for comfortably reading on any computer or device. It combines the large x-heights and legibility of the humanistic tradition with subtle characteristics in the characters that inject a certain rhythm to flowing texts.

Download Bitter here.

Type to go!

Well, there you have it. Remember to double-check that the fonts you’ve chosen are able to be accessed from the Google Font Library, meaning that they have an Open Font License and are able to be used for commercial purposes.

Want more? Check out our list of the best free sans serif fonts, or dig into the history of typography.