Looking for a nice, condensed, but readable font


I'm working on designing some badges and am looking for a nice, condensed, but readable font.

I usually use Helvetica-Condensed, but for this project I need type that is smaller than 9pt. Helvetica has the disadvantages of very closed letters, very static, similar forms, and very tight spacing.

Does anyone have any recommendations for a free font I could use?

Also, maybe your favorite condensed fonts that look good at 7pt, 8pt and 9pt.


8/22/2014 12:06:00 AM

That's a relatively tall order.

Free fonts (at least the kinds you'd find on a site like Dafont) are often characterized by not having condensed or expanded variants and not doing extensive hinting work for smaller sizes.

That said, here are a few suggestions:

  1. Calibri is not free, but it is relatively freely available, more narrow than your typical sans, and looks good on the screen. Might be worth a shot.
  2. Roboto Condensed is Google/Android's ripoff of Helvetica, but it's a decent ripoff and it's made for the screen, particularly mobile screens.
  3. Open Sans Condensed isn't bad, but it doesn't have a normal weight.
  4. Go to Google Fonts and either search for "condensed" or use the "Width" filter to get some different widths. Plug 'em in and see how they work for you!
8/21/2014 4:56:00 PM