When it comes to web fonts, designers have many options to choose from. Google Fonts library has over 600 font families, however, many of those are unversatile and unsuitable for body copy. I have chosen the selected fonts based on quality, legibility, versatility, and number of available styles and weights.
These are the 10 best sans-serif web fonts:
1. Open Sans
Open Sans was designed by Steve Matteson and comes in 10 different styles, from light to extra bold. The font itself is very simple, professional, and clean, yet it’s very exciting. It has many subtle characteristics such as the capital J with a descender that goes beyond the baseline. Open Sans looks beautiful in small and larger sizes, but the extra bold variation is pure perfection.
There is also an Open Sans Condensed version that comes in 3 styles. Personally, I feel like it is a bit too condensed so it’s not very legible at small sizes, but still does the job in most cases.
Roboto was designed by Christian Robertson and is the official font family of the Android operating system. Roboto comes in 12 styles with weights ranging from thin to ultra-bold. The font is very modern and essentially combines the best aspects of classic fonts such as Helvetica, Arial, and Univers. Regular Roboto font feels slightly condensed so it allows more characters per line.
There are two other excellent variations of Roboto, including Roboto Condensed which has 6 styles and Roboto Slab with 4 styles.
Lato is perhaps the most unique and interesting sans-serif font on this list. It was designed by Łukasz Dziedzic and includes 10 styles. It goes from thin all the way to ultra-bold. The letters in Lato have some unique curves which can only be seen in larger sizes. That’s not to say that Lato doesn’t work well in smaller sizes, it’s just that it loses many interesting properties when done so.
4. PT Sans
PT Sans was designed by ParaType and it comes in 4 styles, normal and bold and italic versions of each. Although it seems like 4 styles are just not enough, they are perfectly fine for most people. Of course if you’re a designer, you’ll cringe at the thought of only 4 styles and just 2 weights. Helvetica Neue has made us a bit spoiled in that regard. PT Sans has some funky characteristics such as the capital Q’s tail, which sits outside the letter and it makes the letter look more dynamic.
Designed by Paul D. Hunt, Source Sans Pro is the ultimate corporate-style sans-serif web font. It comes in a whopping 12 different styles with weights from extra-light all the way to ultra-bold. The font itself is not the most exciting one on this list, but it is probably the most professional. It works in pretty much every situation and it keeps legibility with every size.
Exo is a contemporary geometric font family designed by Natanael Gama. It was initially funded through a kickstarter project, and shortly afterwards, released for free to the world. Exo has 18 styles, so you shouldn’t run into issues with not having the perfect weight. The only issue with Exo is that it tends to be a little hard to read when small, and that’s partially because it has many curves and shapes in its letterforms.
7. Exo 2
Exo 2 is essentially the next version of the original Exo font. Very similar to the original, but it is a lot more legible at smaller sizes. So if you are planning on using the font in the body copy, Exo 2 is definitely a better solution. Exo 2 achieves the improved legibility by removing many of the fine intricacies which exist in the original Exo.
Designed by Dalton Maag for use in the Ubuntu operating system, Ubuntu is a humanist-style font that’s popular for being very rounded and quirky. The curves in most characters meet the stem directly at the end so there’s no sign of any serif or ear. Ubuntu has 8 styles with weights from light to bold.
If you’re looking for a condensed or monospaced font, there is also Ubuntu Condensed and Ubuntu Mono.
9. Istok Web
Istok Web was designed by Andrey V. Panov and includes only normal, bold, and italic version of each weight. So if you’re looking for many different weights, this font is not for you, however, if you’re looking for a less serious, yet professional typeface, then I’d recomment trying Istok Web. This font looks great large or small and keeps legibility well.
Nobile is another font that comes in only 2 weights and 4 styles, but it is in this list because it is a spectacular font. It was designed by Vernon Adams and has a pretty tall x-height so it reads incredibly well at small sizes.