If you have a Silhouette machine, you are always thinking to yourself what you should make next.
But although Silhouette Studio offers a lot of tools you need to come up with your own creative designs, the number of fonts available leaves a lot to be desired. Especially if you never installed new fonts on your computer.
Of course, you can buy one of the many fonts from the Silhouette Design Store. But you’ll have to pay up to a whopping $24 per font.
Fortunately, most of the popular fonts in the Silhouette cost around $3. But why pay if you can use some free fonts as well?!
So let’s take a look at where you can download free fonts and how to use them inside Silhouette Studio.
What fonts does Silhouette use?
When using the Silhouette studio software, you have access to two types of fonts.
The first type is the fonts that you buy through the Silhouette Design Store. These will be automatically added to your Silhouette Studio Library when you buy them and you can use them right away.
The second type of fonts that you can use are the fonts already installed on your computer. Which means you can use almost any font that is freely available on the internet.
The only conditions are that the font is in either a true type font (.ttf files) or an open type font (.otf files) and currently installed on your computer.
Once you meet these conditions, the font should available for use inside your Silhouette Studio.
Where can I get free fonts for Silhouette?
There is almost a countless number of websites from which you can download free fonts nowadays. And you might want to browse around a bit to find what you are really looking for.
Here are 6 of my favorite websites to find fonts:
- The Hungry Jpeg: this website operates like an online marketplace that offers many different design tools, including fonts. They have a combination of free and paid fonts. And often you can even use the free fonts for commercial purposes. Since they update the site on a pretty regular basis with new goodies, you might want to come back to it every now and then.
- Creative Market: this is another marketplace that offers weekly free fonts. Unfortunately, the free fonts are normally for personal use. Since all the old free fonts are turned into paid items at the end of the week again, visiting once a week definitely pays off.
- Mighty Deal: if you visit this website you will be able to steep discounts on a variety of products including fonts. But there is also a “Free Deals” section with fonts that are temporarily for free.
- Dafont: this might be one of the most popular places to find good Silhouette Cameo fonts. There are a lot of designers sharing their favorite fonts. It is set up similar to a forum, which means anyone can upload fonts. So to prevent downloading malicious software, only choose fonts that already received lots of download and good reviews.
- Fontspace: this one is similar to Dafont in that it is also a forum where creators to share their own fonts. Since it has a huge collection of free fonts they might have exactly what you need. But always exercise some caution before downloading.
- My Design Deals: unlike the other websites, this one focuses on selling bundles of items that designers might need. If you sign up for their email list, you will receive their “Designer Toolbox” which often includes a few free fonts (although the content constantly changes).
Of course, you are free to try out some other websites as well. But make sure to stay away from anything from any site that doesn’t look trustworthy.
Like any file on the internet, fonts can also contain viruses or malware. So only download free fonts from reputable websites.
Personal use VS Commercial use
Before you download a free font for your Silhouette and use it in all your crafts, you have to check if the font is for personal use or commercial use.
If it’s only for personal use, you can only use it to decorate or personalize products that you are going to use yourself. So making your own pantry labels, decorating your favorite blanket, or making a wall decal for your own living room are all fine.
However, if you are planning to sell products, you will need to get a font for commercial use. So if you are running a small vinyl T-shirt business or if you are selling personalized tumblers, you can only use a font if you acquired a commercial license.
You’ll probably notice that most free fonts are only for personal use and that you have to pay if you want to use them commercially.
However, that doesn’t mean that all paid fonts automatically allow commercial use. Even with paid fonts, you normally have to pay extra if you want to upgrade to a commercial license.
How to add fonts to Silhouette Studio?
Once you have downloaded a font that you like, you’ll have to install it on your computer before it will appear in Silhouette Studio.
Fortunately, the installation process for most fonts is very simple:
- Close Silhouette Studio, you don’t want it to run in the background
- Locate the download folder of the font you selected
- (If necessary, unzip the folder the font came in)
- Double click on the font to start the installation process
- Open Silhouette Studio and check if the new font appeared in the font menu
Sometimes the font installs under a different name than the original file name. Try to go through the list of fonts available in Silhouette Studio and see if any new ones appeared since installing.
If you still can’t find it, try to restart your computer once. Sometimes a simple restart can do wonders for your computer.
What are the best fonts for Silhouette?
Once you start browsing the web, you realize how many cool fonts there are to choose from.
But it’s important to realize that not every font that look good on a screen will look good after you cut it out with your Silhouette machine.
You can easily imagine that letter that are very skinny are more difficult to cut and heat transfer reliably compared to bold letters.
Here are three things to keep in mind when choosing a new font for your Silhouette:
- Solid Fonts: if the fonts are solid they are easier to print and cut for your Silhouette machine, so they are normally preferred over other fonts.
- Complete Fonts: most font packages come with all the lower and uppercase letters. But many of the free ones don’t contain any other characters such as apostrophe, comma, hashtag, etc.
- Accessibility: some of the fancier fonts can include swirls or swashes that are coded separately from the letters themselves. Sometimes these special letters are only available in special design programs such as Photoshop. To use them inside the Silhouette Studio software, the font needs to be 100% accessible or PUA encoded.
Sometimes while looking around, you might find a few new font terms you never heard of. After all, typography jargon can be quite tricky for beginners to wrap their head around.
- Glyphs: these are not the Egyptian characters you might think off. Glyph is a general term used to denote special variations of alphabet characters. For example, you can have a standard letter and a glyph of the same letter with swirly decoration you can often see in calligraphy. Not every glyph can be used in Silhouette Studio, so you should get fonts that are 100% accessible or PUA encoded.
- Ligature: this means that 2 or more letters are joined to form a single glyph
- PUA Encoded: without going into any technical details, this font term refers to the way the font is coded. Normally special characters and glyphs can only be used in specific design software. But if your font is PUA encoded you will be able to use it in Silhouette Studio as well.
- .OTF: is an abbreviation for Open Type Font and is a standard file format of fonts used with the Silhouette Cameo
- .TFF: is an abbreviation for True Type Font, this is the second common file format your downloaded fonts will be in. Only install either the .OTF or the .TFF file and not both.
- Serif: this is a category of fonts that use short lines or strokes at the end of letters for decoration and the guide the reader’s eye.
- Sans Serif: literally means “without line” and is the opposite of serif. Sans Serif fonts normally look simple and clean.