Google Fonts’ online catalogue contains a dizzying array of libre (open source) web typefaces that you can use, making it hard to choose the suitable typeface for your website, Google Docs, Google Slides, or Google Sheets.
Here is my personal pick of the 4 best fonts in Google Fonts, to help you to make choosing the right font easier.
Playfair Display is, as its name suggests, a display font, which means it is intended for large heading sizes.
Playfair is a transitional design… In the late 18th century, broad nib quills were replaced by pointed steel pens as the popular writing tool of the day… It became to print letterforms of high contrast and delicate hairlines that were increasingly detached from the written letterforms.— Google Fonts
And Playfair Display is influenced by this period, featuring high contrast strokes (making the typeface lean slightly towards the Modern genre), and elegant ball terminals (see the picture below). My favourite glyph is probably the pilcrow (the large character that looks like a reversed “P” — ¶). Playfair Display is very unique, its forms something that I’ve never seen before.
2. Fira sans
Fira sans is designed by Carrois Apostrophe, a German type foundry in collaboration with Erik Spiekermann. It supports Cyrillic, and is a functional sans serif design which has a whopping number of styles. Plus, it has a large x-height and contains low-contrast glyphs, making it one of my go-to choices when setting lengthy paragraphs of text.
Do check out Fira Sans Condensed and Fira Mono too!
Looking at old posters and signs in the traditional Montserrat neighbourhood of Buenos Aires, the principal designer of this typeface, Julieta Ulanovsky, was inspired. Thus, she decided to embark on this project and create this colourful typeface. I would recommend this typeface when you want to create a poster headline with just the right amount of flair to it.
The type family spans Thin 100 to Black 900, with italics included, making this superfamily a worthy look at. The original Monsterrat typeface can be paired with it as body type.
Pacifico is a script typeface, and, as its name suggests, is supposed to convey a Hawaiian vibe to it. With its thick brushstrokes, boldness is the main feature of its letterforms. It comes with multiple stylistic alternates to mimic casual handwriting. Pacifico is also capable of supporting Cyrillic too.
Lora is a graceful design, and has subtle yet elegant calligraphic brush strokes. Together with its large x-height (the height of lowercase letters), Lora is a great choice for body text. I love it so much, in fact, that this website’s body text is set in it!
*July update: Not anymore, ha ha. The bold weightisn’t very good so I’ve changed it to Work Sans. Let’s see how long Work Sans can last!
Another serif design, but with a twist. Piazolla has sharp angled letterforms in contrast with smooth strokes that stand in stark contrast. I wouldn’t recommend it for body copy as the contrast can get a bit high in some characters. But this might go unnoticable when printed on cheap paper as the ink will overbleed. I can’t be sure though. I like the heavier weights; nice, fat, and sophisticated.