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Does anyone know any other fonts similar to Helvetica Neue (free for commercial use)?

I'm working on a big website project where 'Helvetica Neue' is used heavily. I need a font that looks almost the same, is free for personal and commercial use, and looks good even when used with copytext (e.g. fontsize for copytext = 11px, for headlines = 16px).

Also there should be a condensed-font style included (if possible).

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Have you checked this question? graphicdesign.stackexchange.com/questions/602/… –  Yisela Jan 29 '13 at 3:03

8 Answers 8

up vote 44 down vote accepted

I still think that for web, the best free option out there is Liberation Sans. It renders perfectly with @font-face.

enter image description here

But you can get Helvetica Neue for web from Fonts.com for web use for a fair price too. I would probably use font-family:"Helvetica Neue, Helvetica, Liberation Sans, Arial, sans-serif"; so those pcs with the font installed can see it, and those who don't have it can see a replacement.

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Personally I like Open Sans a lot, which is available in many weights and is available on Google Fonts: google.com/fonts/specimen/Open+Sans –  Tim S. Apr 27 '14 at 21:31
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According to the Wikipedia entry on Liberation fonts, "...documents embedding these fonts do not automatically fall under the GNU GPL, but will still likely cause problems with commercial software." I'm not a lawyer, but it seems that if you use Liberarion fonts in a software product, you may be obligated to apply a GPL license to that product, which may not be what you want. Again, stressing that I'm no expert in licensing, but I had to give up using Liberation on one project because of concerns over licensing. –  Questioner May 19 '14 at 5:06
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Yes, I've used Liberation Sans and TeXGyreHeros (mentioned in Capiedge's answer). Note that Google's web font "Arimo" is identical to Liberation Sans: graphicdesign.stackexchange.com/a/9054/9127 –  Gavin R. Putland May 25 '14 at 13:04

Roboto is a good neo-grotesque sans that can replace Helvetica. Commissioned by Google and released for free. Used as Android's answer to iOS' Helvetica (Neue).

More about Roboto's similarity to Helvetica here. It's slightly more humanised I think. I wouldn't overstate its similarity, but I would say it's a good free alternative.

I also agree with Yisela's recommendation of Liberation Sans, which is also a good font albeit available in fewer weights.

Edit: Google re-designed Roboto in July 2014, see comment below.

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Roboto on Google webfonts here: google.com/fonts#UsePlace:use/Collection:Roboto –  Simon East Mar 13 '14 at 7:08
    
Note: Google in their infinite wisdom have decided to totally redesign Roboto as of July 2014 - among other things it no longer has the Helvetica-like "R", and other letters like the "g" and "e", "k" and "K" have a different design. As of now the version on Google web fonts is still the old version but that is unlikely to remain the case. –  thomasrutter Jul 8 '14 at 23:45

MgOpen Moderna is pretty close:

enter image description here

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All very suspicious to me. Here is that same word in Adobe Helvetica for comparison. Seems dodgy to me. –  thomasrutter Apr 17 '14 at 4:19
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smashingmagazine.com/2007/10/19/… there is a link to a greek website here for it. –  BrianC Apr 17 '14 at 15:53
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You can download it as a debian package here: ftp.us.debian.org/debian/pool/main/f/fonts-mgopen/… You can open the package (and embedded tar) using 7zip. –  Jeff Johnson Jun 3 '14 at 12:39

Tex-Gyre-Heros is for me the best one. Enjoy it!

Tex-Gyre-Heros

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That font is actually derived from a URW++ font. It's still mentioned in the copyrights. –  Andrew Leach Apr 28 '14 at 16:12
    
@AndrewLeach what's that mean as far as copyrights are concerned? Haven't heard of that abbreviation before. –  Vincent Apr 28 '14 at 16:59
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URW++ is a font foundry. This font is a derivative work, and probably unlicensed for free distribution. URW++ fonts are very expensive. –  Andrew Leach Apr 28 '14 at 17:35
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You can find an abstract of the lincese in this link fontsquirrel.com/license/TeX-Gyre-Heros Reading it, I have not seen any restriction to say that this is a free font. Don't you think? –  Capiedge Apr 29 '14 at 17:03
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@AndrewLeach it's good to be on the lookout for that, as there are a lot of questionable 'free fonts' out there. That said, FontSquirrel, I feel, is one of the more legitimate sources for free typefaces. Also, URW++ has released or helped release typefaces to Open Source projects. An example is their version of Garamond: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garamond#URW.2B.2B_Garamond_No._8 –  DA01 Jul 23 '14 at 4:32

The closest I've found so far is "Raleway" on Google Fonts (http://www.google.com/fonts). I usually use the light 300, 200 or 100. Not exact, but as close as I can find at the the moment.

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For Uppercase, Oswald seems good option available at Google Fonts http://www.google.com/fonts/specimen/Oswald

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For a Helvetica Neue Condensed, you can have a look at the webfont Archivo Narrow:

https://www.google.com/fonts/specimen/Archivo+Narrow

Archivo Condensed Webfont Google

For the Helvetica Neue Black version, this version of Archivo Black is not bad either:

https://www.google.com/fonts/specimen/Archivo+Black

Archivo Black Webfonts Google

For the other Helvetica Neue like the standard one, other answers have been posted and they're pretty good.

If you want to only stick to the Google WebFonts, Droid Sans, Open Sans and Roboto are not perfect but could work.

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