Font Friday

Figtree (free font)

A friendly, soft, and casual geometric sans-serif that can be a decent free alternative to Proxima Nova, suited for a range of applications.

Sans-serif typeface

designed by Erik D. Kennedy
available on Google Fonts

Variable font

1 axis: weight

7 instances (styles)

7 weights: Thin to Black

Licenses for print/web/app:

Free

Best for

  • Headings (display text)
  • Long reading text (body text)
  • User Interfaces (functional text)

Specialty

A friendly, soft, and casual geometric sans-serif that can be a decent free alternative to Proxima Nova, suited for a range of applications.

My thoughts on Figtree

Figtree is a free geometric sans-serif typeface designed by someone I’m really very grateful to, Erik D. Kennedy. Erik is known for his extensive UI design articles, and I learned a lot from him when I started with iOS Design. So I was fairly surprised that he created a typeface. Figtree has curved simple shapes, with a monolinear stroke, that makes it seem very friendly approachable.

Figtree large and light
All caps are alright, that rimes, I know, so I obviously had to do it.
Neat numerals as well giving it ⅓ or 123,450 times out of 10!

The genre of geometric sans-serif typefaces is very, very crowded. So what does Figtree contribute to that? At first, it does not really appear that original to me. It immediately reminds me of Proxima Nova. Both typefaces are very similar, when it comes to their proportions, and letter shapes (like the curved t). But Proxima Nova is a bit narrower, has more open apertures, is a bit more elegant and less stiff, due to its slight stroke contrast.

Comparing Figtree with a similar typeface called Proxima Nova. Figtree has slightly closed apertures, is monolinear, and wider
Comparing it here.
Proxima Nova more open, slightly contrasting and narrower
Both typefaces share a lot of similarities, these are some differences

So, is Figtree a Proxima Nova clone? I hate it, when these allegations come up, since all typefaces are inspired by others, and it is definitely not a dull copy. It falls in the same category, but Figtree has sturdier strokes, and a more casual vibe to it. As so many times with type, it’s the details. And let’s put it that way: it could be a good free alternative to Proxima Nova, with a cheeky angle.

Comparing the lower case letter a of the typefaces Figtree and Inter. Figtree: The a is a bit too dark at the bottom left which makes it uneven in smaller sizes. Inter: With this typeface, it is optically corrected avoiding dark spots in smaller sizes.

One tiny optical problem I see with the typeface is the lower case a. It becomes too dark and dense at the bottom right where the bowl meets the stem. Also, the letter leans a bit too much toward the left, which is more obvious in the context of a word (see “Comparing” above). Once I’ve seen it, I can’t unsee it. But hey, that’s me, and it should not be something that stops you from choosing Figtree for a project. It works well for a variety of applications. It soon will be very popular for its friendly aesthetic, so use it before everyone else does 😜.


Thanks to Ashley again, who shared it with me. Do you have a font recommendation? Tell me in the comments below!

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3 Comments

  1. “if everyone looks nice, nobody looks interesting”… this font is a good option in a certain cases, it looks nice and sweet. Thanks for share your thoughts about Figtree! 👌

  2. The moment I read FIGTREE’s text, I had a picture in my mind https://bit.ly/3Anw5Kf your wife ties a bow on your neck. It’s that tight, appropriate, fond type.
    I love quirky, but sometimes we need kind ordinaries!
    Definitely, one not to overlook.

    Say no Proxima Nova😫

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