Print-on-demand merchandising is a smart side business for content creators and influencers who want to earn extra income. If you’re hoping to succeed in online sales, designing your own apparel is an easy, low-cost way to get started.

The right font can make or break a T-shirt design. The problem is there are thousands of fonts available, many of them free, ranging from traditional to outlandish. How do you choose? This informative guide can help you identify the best fonts so you can make the best choices for your next T-shirt design.

Why Choosing the Right T-Shirt Font Is Important

It’s essential to do your research when picking T-shirt fonts. There are some tried and true best practices you should follow. Having a basic understanding of T-shirt font styles, weights, and designs can make a world of difference.

Mismatched fonts that clash with each other are distracting and detract from your design. While you can certainly combine fonts to add interest, you should learn which font pairs are most effective.

For instance, designers recommend combining serif and sans serif fonts because they harmonize well. “Sans” is the French word for “without.” A serif is a small line attached to the end of a longer vertical or horizontal stroke in a character. Serif fonts are thus inherently more decorative than sans serif fonts, which are unadorned and more minimalist.

The type of font you choose determines your T-shirt’s general style. For instance, eroded fonts are great for grungy designs, and clean serif fonts work well for statement designs. It’s worth noting that fonts with transparencies don’t print well.

Above all, you want your T-shirt design to attract attention while remaining readable.

Popular Fonts for T-Shirts

Obviously, there is no single best T-shirt font. But there are a few go-to shirt fonts designers like to use that may perfectly suit your next T-shirt design.

1. Amira Beauty

If you’re looking for an elegant yet modern font, consider Amira Beauty. Inspired by an Indonesian flower, Amira Beauty is a unique font with curved tails and varying thicknesses in each letter, giving it an eye-catching quality that’s perfect for logo designs, short quotes, and similar projects. Amira Beauty isn’t the most legible font, but some designs can benefit from it.

2. Flycatcher

A whimsical sans serif option, Flycatcher is a hand-drawn font that’s distinctive and quirky. It pairs well with script fonts and is ideal for retro-inspired T-shirt designs with a nostalgic touch. Consider Flycatcher if you want to add vintage styling to any of your apparel designs or if you’re going for an organic or nature-inspired design.

3. Collegiate

Collegiate is a free font that’s perfect for academia-inspired looks. The bold, all-caps font also works well for sports themes. It’s available in multiple weights, allowing you to switch up your design.

4. Jester Regular

Jester Regular is a comic-style font that can add a touch of whimsy to your T-shirt designs. As a serif font, Jester Regular is casual and flowy with quick curves and tails, but it’s still easy to read at a glance.

5. Butler

Butler is a free serif typeface with a modern feel that received a “font of the month” award from Computer Arts Magazine. This font is a contemporary variation on classical serif fonts, making Butler the perfect choice for book titles, posters, and T-shirts. Butler also comes in 14 different weights you can play around with.

6. Le Super Serif

If you’re looking for a fashionable free font with extra flair, Le Super Serif might have all the characteristics you need. This stylish uppercase typeface looks suited to a Parisian storefront but works just as well on T-shirts.

7. Festival

Festival is free for personal use, but budding entrepreneurs can purchase the full version to create T-shirt designs that pop. The hand-drawn brush script has a musically inspired summer vibe with its effortless curves and swashes. Try pairing Festival with an uppercase sans serif font to achieve the right balance of simplicity and elegance.

8. Nomad

Perfectly imperfect, Nomad is a font that’s slightly rough around the edges but is still easy to read. Thanks to its fun, hand-painted style, Nomad has an adventurous flavor that when used as a solid font is ideal for T-shirts and outdoor apparel. Best of all, the font offers plenty of extras, including hand-painted catchwords, custom brushes, ink splatters, and bonus glyphs. Stick with the solid version of the font to ensure your printed T-shirts remain legible.

9. Libre Baskerville

Libre Baskerville is a familiar webfont family that’s optimized for body text, so you may have encountered it in Microsoft Word. Fortunately, Libre Baskerville also works nicely on T-shirt designs requiring a familiar typography, such as quotes and book-inspired logos.

10. Julietta Messie

When you need a beautiful script with an air of luxury, consider Julietta Messie. This brush script font is ideal for stationery and wedding invitations, but savvy T-shirt designers can find ways to incorporate its flowing brushstrokes into logos, signatures, and other elements suited to apparel.

Most of these fonts are for purchase, but sites like Dafont.com and fontsquirrel.com have impressive libraries of free fonts that you can take advantage of. Also, if see a font you like but don’t know its name, WhatTheFont.com has an image search tool that allows you to upload a screenshot and search. The site will provide a list of similar fonts with their names and downloadable links.

Whichever T-shirt font styles you choose for your next design, don’t be afraid to experiment with different pairings and weights. The more you play with typography, the more likely you’ll get a feel for what works best for your line of T-shirts.