Sans-serif, sans serif, or gothic fonts are fonts that lack "serifs" at the end of strokes. While serif is still used primarily for print, sans-serif is the most widely used font on the web due to its ability to render on screens with lower resolutions.
When it comes to website design and branding, choosing a font that works across all media is essential. Sans-serif fonts are great fonts that work well with a variety of businesses including digital agencies, photographers, B2B, B2C, real estate agents, law firms, CPAs accountants, and more. This type of font is professional, creative, and legible, which makes them great fonts to use when it comes to creating a website.
Montserrat, Pixel Brew's primary font tops the list at #1 for our all-time favorite sans-serif fonts.
The font was created by Ulieta Ulanovsky, the owner and lead designer at ZkySky. The font pays homage to the street signs and posters found in the neighborhood of Montserrat in Buenos Aires, Argentina. According to Julieta,
There are other revivals, but those do not stay close to the originals. The letters that inspired this project have work, dedication, care, color, contrast, light and life, day and night! These are the types that make the city look so beautiful.
At a formal level, I do not neglect aspects of type design that are functional and contemporary. Montserrat is a geometric style of type that has subtle optical adjustments. The result is a sans serif family with multiple versions and multiple possibilities, both in the editorial and corporate realm.
Montserrat is a perfect font for headers (H1, H2, and H3) because of its simple, geometric capital letters. The font has a very large x-height, but has a lot more character than other sans-serif fonts such as Arial or Helvetica. It pairs well with many other sans-serif fonts including, Varela, Varela Round, Lato, Open Sans, and Source Sans Pro, and pairs nicely with some serif fonts including, PT Serif, Georgia, Playfair Display, and Lora.
Download Montserrat Here
2.) Brandon Grotesque
Brandon Grotesque is a beautiful, geometric sans-serif font designed by Hannes von Döhren of HVD Fonts during 2009 and 2010. This font was created to reflect the simplistic, geometric fonts of the 1920s and 1930s. Unlike Montserrat and many other sans-serif fonts, Brandon Grotesque has a very low x-height, which gives it a wonderful character and unique look that can be used across a variety of websites.
Brandon Grotesque is perfect for headers and displays and it works well in logo design and branding application as well. For paragraph font, we recommend Brandon Text, which was also designed by von Döhren in 2014. Brandon Grotesque is a great font for interior designers, architects, photographers, and creative agencies. It pairs well with Brandon Text, Didot, Merriweather, Adobe Caslon, and Open Sans.
Download Brandon Grotesque Here
Lato, Pixel Brew's secondary font is one of our overall favorite fonts and has one of the broadest applications of any font on this list.
Lato was designed in the summer of 2010 by Warsaw-based designer Łukasz Dziedzic ("Lato" means “Summer” in Polish). It was originally designed for one of Łukasz's corporate clients, but after the client went a different route for their branding, Lato became free for public use. It remains one of the most "corporate" fonts available as it has a perfect balance between its letters, has a strong structure, and a warm open feel.
Male and female, serious but friendly. With the feeling of the Summer
Lato can be used as a body font or for headers and displays. Due to Lato's strong and tight structure, we usually increase the spacing between letters to something like:
We think this improves the fonts readability, but this application is not necessary. Lato pairs well with Montserrat, Roboto, Open Sans, Playfair Display, Proxima Nova, Ubuntu, Raleway, and Noto Sans.
Download Lato Here
4.) Proxima Nova
Proxima Nova (2005) bridges the gap between typefaces like Futura and Akzidenz Grotesk. The result is a hybrid that combines modern proportions with a geometric appearance. I originally released it in 1994 as Proxima Sans (now discontinued). I expanded the original six fonts (three weights with italics) into a full-featured and versatile family of 48 fonts (eight weights in three widths with italics).
Proxima Nova is one of our favorite sans-serif fonts for headers and displays, especially at the heavier font weights (700, 800, 900). It has a phenomenal set of capital letters and can be used across a wide variety of websites. We think this font is great for real estate web design, law firms, creative industries, or any other "corporate" design for that matter.
Proxima Nova pairs well with Lato, Open Sans, Brandon Grotesque, Source Sans Pro, Museo Sans, and Montserrat.
Download Proxima Nova Here
5.) Open Sans
While only making #5 on this list, Open Sans is by far our favorite sans-serif font to use for body text and paragraphs. The combination of its upright stress, open forms, and a neutral, yet friendly appearance makes Open Sans one of, if not the most, legible web fonts available today. It is also an excellent choice for mobile applications and in print design.
While Open Sans is excellent for body text, and paragraphs, it is not as great of a choice for headers or displays. When using Open Sans for body text (400 weight), make sure to contrast with your font and your background very apparent as Open Sans has a lighter feel at this weight than most fonts on this list. We recommend not going above
#222 on a white background and not going below
#eee on a dark or black background.
Open Sans can be used for almost any type of website where a sans-serif is desired for paragraph and body text. It pairs excellently with Montserrat, Lato, Roboto, Raleway, Poppins, Josefin Sans, Nunito, Merriweather, Didot, and a variety of other fonts.
Download Open Sans Here
Futura is a wonderfully designed grotesque typeface designed by Paul Renner and released in 1927! The font has simple geometric shapes with perfectly round circles, squares, and triangles. The structure is sturdy but has an open feel that makes for use across a wide variety of web design and graphic design compositions.
Futura is used in popular brands such as Volkswagen, IKEA, Crayola, Royal Dutch Shell, and Hewlett-Packard. It pairs well with a variety of sans-serif and serif fonts including Playfair Display, Proxima Nova, Book Antiqua, Lato, Helvetica, Open Sans, and Trade Gothic.
Download Futura Here
Adrian Frutiger designed Avenir in 1988, after years of having an interest in sans serif typefaces. He said that he was inspired to design a linear sans-serif font with reverence to Futura and Erbar. Avenir, meaning "future" in French, suggests the font is designed to be much like Futura, however, Avenir is not a pure geometric font like many on this list. It has thicker vertical strokes than horizontal strokes, a more oval-shaped "o", and shortened ascenders.
Overall, this font is harmonious and legible and can be used for both headers and displays as well as body text. We recommend using the medium weight for body text, and either the heavy or black weight for headers and displays.
Avenir pairs well with many serif fonts including Didot, Georgia, Century School, Minion, and Baskerville, and pairs nicely with other sans-serif fonts including Helvetica and Helvetica Neue.
Download Avenir Here
Gotham, a wonderful alternative to Montserrat, is a geometric sans-serif font that is one of the most widely used web fonts used today. Gotham font was designed by American type designer Tobias Frere-Jones in 2000 and was inspired by architectural signage used in New York City and Chicago during the mid 20th century.
Gotham is perfect for headers and displays and can be used in a variety of web designs including informal websites, travel websites, websites that utilize a variety of illustrations, or websites that have an overall playful feel. We suggest pairing Gotham with fonts like Open Sans, Mercury, Roboto, Futura, and Times New Roman. Gotham is also an excellent choice for book covers, flyers, posters, displays, and signage.
Download Gotham Here
9.) Noto Sans
When text is rendered by a computer, sometimes there will be characters in the text that can not be displayed, because no font that supports them is available to the computer. When this occurs, small boxes are shown to represent the characters. We call those small boxes “tofu,” and we want to remove tofu from the Web. This is how the Noto font families got their name.
Noto Sans, a web font designed by Google was created in order to provide all web users a font that would render and display in everything language. Noto Sans covers over 30 scripts and will eventually cover Unicode characters as well. Noto Sans was derived from Droid Sans, Android's popular sans-serif font, and just like Droid Sans, Noto Sans has a sister font as well, Noto Serif.
Noto Sans is great for body text and paragraphs and is very similar to Open Sans in the sense that it is geometrical and very easy to read. Overall, Noto Sans pairs well with its sister font, Noto Serif, Montserrat, Roboto, Source Sans Pro, and Inconsolata.
Download Noto Sans Here
10.) Neuzeit Grotesk
Neuzeit Grotesk is a beautiful sans-serif font designed by URW++, the successor of the company URW (Unternehmensberatung Rubow Weber — from the founders’ names), in Hamburg, Germany. It is a geometric sans-serif font and is similar to Avenir and Avenir Next.
This font is great for use in displays, headers, and body text and pairs well with Playfair Display, Butler, Bebas Neue, Paytone One, and SS Standard. We think this font has a wide application in web design but works exceptionally for photographers, online portfolios, fashion designers, travel agencies, and creative digital agencies.
Download Neuzeit Grotesk Here
In conclusion, give these fonts a try in your next web design project, view how they will look on mobile screens, and let us know what you think of our list. If you have any questions about web fonts, use to download and incorporate them into your project, or which ones to use, send us a message, and we will share any knowledge we can.