Let’s face it; the default Inkscape install probably doesn’t have all the font combinations you want to use. Adding additional Inkscape fonts is easy to do, especially on Mac or Windows.
Finding fonts you want will take more time than actually installing because there’s a lot to choose from. I pick fonts for 2 reasons. First I look for complementary font combinations that look good together and maintain readability even on mobile devices. Second I pick “stand alone” fonts that work well in designs and graphics.
While there are lots of font websites to choose from I prefer to use free fonts over paid ones. So for me, there are five main sources of free font websites I use: 1) font-palace 2) font1001 3) fontspace 4) fontsquirrel and 5) Googlefonts.
Get Your Font
1. This takes the most time since you have to browse the font listings unless you know exactly what font you’re looking for. Find and down the desired custom font. It’s general downloaded as a zip file that will need to be unzipped prior to use.
I’ve found a popular Google font: Playfair Display that I’m going to use for this example. When you download fonts it pays to determine what “version” you exactly want. For example, the Playfair Display font comes as “regular”, “regular-italic”, “bold”, “bold-italic” and “black”, “black-italic”. Each obviously looks a little different, so if you’re trying to mimic a design or style pay close attention to whether the font is in bold, italic or regular since you’ll need that exact “version” to make it look similar.
(Hint: Usually if I see a font being used on a website or in particular on a design, I’ll use Chrome’s “inspect” feature to determine the font-family. Once I know what the font is, I can find and download it much quicker than if I randomly search.)
Again, depending on what and where you get it you may receive all the “versions” in one zip file. In Google’s case, you generally are downloading a very specific one at a time.
Copy & Paste Into the Fonts Folder
2. Now copy and paste the font file(s) into the ~Library/fonts on Mac. Use the Finder window and the Go > Go to the folder to quickly access the fonts folder. It’s even easier on Windows because you can right-click the font and select the install button. It will place the font into the Windows\fonts directory where it can be used by Inkscape and other applications. The beauty of Inkscape is it detects all your locally installed fonts.
Here’s another hint for Mac Users: Add the font into the Mac app FontBook. I do that because I can easily open Fontbook and quickly see examples of each font. It saves me time by letting me browse thru my locally installed fonts and deciding which font or font pairs I want to use in my designs.
3. Restart Inkscape; you won’t see the newly added fonts until you do. Add some text and check to see your new fonts in the drop list.
Walla! You now have the ability to add any font (free or paid) in the same way and make it available in Inkscape for all your designs.
(Helpful tip: For those MacBook Users: Since I use a MacBook I also add my custom fonts to Mac’s FontBook App.)
It serves a couple of purposes. First I can better see and compare fonts quickly with FontBook before using any other design app. Second any fonts I add to FontBook are generally available to other apps installed on my Mac that use fonts. Plus, certain online editors seem to recognize locally installed fonts in FontBook so my custom fonts can also be used with those editors. Pretty cool.
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