Font Friday

Fraunces (free font)

The soft serif typeface Fraunces on a mobile phone in a headline, body text, a pull quote and the labels of a button and navigation.

Serif typeface

by Phaedra Charles and Flavia Zimbardi at Undercase Type

Over 100 styles (instances)

6 weights from Thin to Black, in three optical sizes (9, 72, 144 pt), sharp, soft, and supersoft, all with matching italics.

Variable Font

4 axes (weight, optical size, soft, wonk)

License for web/app usage

Free

Best for

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

Specialty

The wonk axis, of course!

My thoughts on Fraunces

Fraunces is a display, soft-serif typeface inspired by early 20th century typefaces such as Windsor, Souvenir, and most famously the Cooper Series (watch this great video about it). It is available on Google Fonts and its range is just incredible! It’s a perfect, calm to expressive typeface for body text and headings, depending on the style you choose. For smaller sizes below 14 px it’s a bit critical and almost too delicate.

I just love the beautiful microsite that shows Fraunces in all of its facets.

These kinds of fonts have a comeback. The designers Phaedra and Flavia call them wonky fonts, and on this delighting microsite they show so many beautiful samples, that you should definitely check it out. The soft, imperfect and approachable touch of Fraunces continues a trend towards more humanity and warmth, away from the omnipresent geometrical sans-serifs of the last decade. Among others, Recoletta (pretty popular in the last years), and Mailchimp’s custom display typeface Means, prove that. What do you think of it? Leave it in the comments, blow!

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7 Comments

  1. I love the comeback of these soft, quirky and retro typefaces! I am not a big fan of the brutalist, grotesk trends as they feel less personal to me. Sure, a good and functional grotesk such as Helvetica is practical and sufficient but what story or feeling does it display? I am a sucker for storytelling through typography so I am really digging the Fraunces! And maybe I also love it because we used Cooper Black for our wedding invitation recently, haha!!

    1. It’s beautiful, right? Yes, Cooper Black! Cooper is super ubiquitous as well once you realize it, but it has much more character for sure than Hellvetica. I think Fraunce takes a lovely contemporary approach to that 🙂

    2. And ofcourse it’s great that such a quirky font is now able to be variable, so cool!

  2. I really like it! Especially the ‘sharp’ variant that counterbalances the softness of ‘soft’ and ‘supersoft’. It’s definitely been a trend in tech and digital product companies nowadays as its friendliness and fun suit perfectly the ‘cute’ and ‘friendly’ user interfaces(soft colors, big-figure illustrations, you know what I mean, just open Dribbble haha) that dominate the industry. I am a bit worried about it’s starting to get overused by designers but I think we all deserve some fun after 2020!

    1. Absolutely, Victor! I like the sharp style as well, which will be great for body text! And it definitely will be overused 😉

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