— ether creative

Our favourite typefaces and foundries

Our favourite typefaces and foundries

Type selection and typographical treatment is an often overlooked part of modern web design. With a tendency to stick with the mainstream faces we know will just “look good” we often discount some of the treasures that lurk in the collections of some of the lesser know foundries.

So, close that Google Fonts tab, and come with us as we share some of our favourite typefaces and foundries. Plus a bonus gift at the end if you make it all the way through!


So, let's kick things off with some of our favourite foundries. The three below are all small independent shops designing fonts for sale and also offering bespoke font design services.

Pangram Pangram Foundry

Pangram Pangram

The Pangram Pangram Foundry was founded by designer Mathieu Desjardins almost three years ago.

Compared to its peers, it gives free access to quality fonts to everyone for personal use. Licenses are available to purchase for commercial projects. The idea is to allow those who use fonts the most (mostly designers) to play and work with them in their entirety and at the time of a commercial project, let their client/employer purchase the commercial license.

We love the 'Designer Font Starter Pack' which gives access to 16 fonts covering 70 weights – more than enough to experiment with some great fonts on your projects, all for just $20!

Type Type Foundry


TypeType company was founded in 2013 by Ivan Gladkikh, a type designer with over ten years of experience and Alexander Kudryavtsev, an experienced manager. In the past three years, they've released more than 40 font families, and the company has turned into a type foundry with a great team.

Their self-defined mission is "to create and distribute only carefully drawn, thoroughly tested, and perfectly optimized typefaces which are available to a wide range of customers".

One thing we really love about TypeType is their support for trial fonts. All you need to do is email them with a request and they'll send back trial versions of the requested fonts 🤘.

Check out the range of fonts here.

Grilli Type Foundry

Grilli Type

Grilli Type is an independent Swiss type foundry that offers original retail and custom typefaces. They were founded by Noël Leu and Thierry Blancpain in late 2009. Reto Moser joined them as a type designer in 2015. They often collaborate with other designers, artists, and developers like Josh Schaub, Pieter Pelgrims, Refurnished+, XXIX, and David Elsener. Grilli Type is based in Lucerne, Switzerland.

Like TypeType, Grilli also offers free trial fonts (which is super handy for a try-before-you-buy scenario) although you don't need to email anyone to get them. Simply fill out your email address, and they'll send them over. Nice! 😎

Our Favourite Font Families

Now on to the main event, the fonts we've been loving and using this past year. Hopefully you'll see something you like here and fancy giving a go on your next project. If you do, feel free to share with us on Twitter @ethercreative.

TT Travels Type Specimen

TT Travels

TT Travels is a geometric grotesque with wide proportions and peculiar shapes of circles and brackets. TT Travels incorporates two stylistic sets which add completely different characters to the type family. The first set ss01 (aka salt) makes the font more humanistic, thanks to the ductal and smooth design of the characters defining the style.

Best known for the titles on this site!

You can buy directly from Fontspring or MyFonts.

Maison Type Specimen


Maison is a mono-lined grotesque constructed using rigid elements to achieve a minimalist industrial feel in homage to the early twentieth-century modernist design concepts. Originally created as a mono-spaced typeface family—with less optical corrections than its successor Maison Neue—Maison has been further developed to work equally in both mono-spaced and proportional alignments.

Best known for Kenzo and Herbana

You can buy Maison directly from Milieu Grotesque.

Cako Type Specimen


Cako typeface was designed in 2019 in Paris by Jérémy Schneider.
What makes Cako unique is its very graphic shapes of letters and serifs and its numerous stylistic alternates – giving the typeface a great rhythm. Cako has three contrasted weights, black, regular and thin, offering several degrees of impact. The drawing of Cako black is characterized by significant contrasts between thicks and thins, fine details and spiky terminals.

We urge you to take a further look at this face if only to have a look at those gorgeous ampersand variations.

You can buy Cako from VJ Type.

Lyon Text Type Specimen

Lyon Text

Lyon Text is a serif typeface designed by German designer Kai Bernau and published through Commercial Type in 2009. It was the first typeface released through Commercial Type from an outside designer. The design of Lyon draws inspiration from the sixteenth-century work of Robert Granjon while still retaining a contemporary look. The typeface famously made its debut in the New York Times Magazine. Lyon Text is available in five weights with matching italics.

Best known for The Atlantic & Books on graphic design

Buy Lyon Text at Commercial Type

Recoleta Type Specimen


Recoleta is a serif typeface designed by Jorge Cisterna and published through Latinotype in 2018. The design fondly recalls the soft, warm serifs popular during the 1970s, such as Cooper, ITC Souvenir, ITC Clearface and Windsor. The family is available in seven weights and also includes a version with alternate characters such as a single-story a.

Best known for Kent Natural Burials & Humaaans

Buy Recoleta at MyFonts

Graphik Type Specimen



Best known for Rational Games and the Letterboxd app.

You can purchase directly from Commercial Type, although this one isn't cheap!

If you're wanting to use the face on the web, a good alternative is to use this modified 'Github Stack', which will use San Francisco on a Mac and on iOS, and Helvetica on Windows.

* {
    font-family: -apple-system,BlinkMacSystemFont,Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif;
Neue Machina Type Specimen

Neue Machina

Neue Machina is a powerful and meticulously crafted typeface boasting monospace/geometric type features as well as apparent and deep ink traps in its heavier weights.
It is inspired by the aesthetics of robotics and machines — a font suited for the future of technology.
It was designed to be versatile, to blend in your designs in its lighter weights or to give them a lot of personality in its heavier ones.

You can buy Neue Machina directly from Pangram Pangram

GT America Type Specimen

GT America

GT America is the missing bridge between 19th century American Gothics and 20th-century European Neo-Grotesk typefaces. It uses the best design features from both traditions in the widths and weights where they function optimally.

Best known for Esquire UK and Haus

You can buy GT America directly from Grilli Type

Kobe Type Specimen


This is the second typeface featured in this list by VJ Type. Can you tell we like what they do?

Kobe typeface was designed in 2018 in Paris by Jérémy Schneider.
Kobe includes rational shapes and optical corrections for optimal reading comfort. Its identity is expressed in various details and unusual shapes. Kobe has 4 stylistic sets with many alternates and ligatures.

You can buy Kobe for the princely sum of 80€ here.


The story behind Inter, taken from Rasmus Andersson's website

Inter started out in late 2016 as an experiment to build a perfectly pixel-fitting font at a specific small size (11px.) The idea was that by crafting a font in a particular way, with a particular coordinate system (Units Per EM), and for a particular target rasterization size (11), it would be possible to get the best of both sharpness and readability.

Rasmus Andersson

You can read more about the project here.

We love Inter for its effortless style and simplicity. It's also a great font to start with if you want to dive into the wonders of variable fonts.

Best known for Figma.

Where to buy? You don't – it's free! Click here to download Inter.

In summary

So, before you reach for something on Google Fonts, why not check out some of the gorgeous faces available from some of the shops mentioned above. Quite often you can get a pretty good deal through MyFonts or even the foundry websites.

We’re living in a golden age of web typography so embrace the obscure, the memorable, the undiscovered and unique fonts available to us all.



We promised you a bonus gift, and here it is; Typewolf. This site is a bloody goldmine! The 'site of the day' section is an excellent excuse to check-in regularly, but the real value is the brilliant work Jeremiah Shoaf has done listing the faces used on each site which are clickable.

Clicking on the font shows a page describing that typeface and highlighting the other sites that use it; which is invaluable for ogling over the different combinations people have picked.

It also shows alternatives, so say you found a font you liked but found out it cost a bomb – find it on Typewolf and see what Jeremiah suggests are similar options. More often than not, there’s a good value alternative in there.

Finally, for anyone not too sure where to start, maybe you’re a developer building something or you’re fresh to web design and want to expand your typographical vocabulary, the guides are a super handy point of reference for picking out some beautiful fonts.

Have any questions about anything we mentioned in this post? Feel free to email us at [email protected].