The Best Google Fonts – Serif Edition!

Google Fonts is an awesome service for lots of reasons. (And you know how much we love Google, right?!) 

All Google Fonts are...

  • Free to use – on your website or to download to your desktop!
  • Open source – not owned by a company, and available for any sort of use you can imagine (even personal modifications!) but made available through Google.
  • Super varied – from funky handwritten numbers like Rock Salt to clean sans-serifs like Cabin, the styles span the whole spectrum.
  • Wonderfully numerous – there are currently 707 font families included in Google Fonts (!)

That huge amount of choice is one of the best things about Google Fonts. But it's also one of the most difficult!

There are so many fonts available it can be absolutely overwhelming to sift through them all to find the perfect candidate for your project.

But fear not!

We're big lovers of Google Fonts. And we've spent so much time with them we've definitely got a host of go-to favorites in all categories. We're big fans of sharing the love, so today we present to you....

Google Fonts we love – Serif edition!

This list is a round-up of some of our absolute favorite serif fonts included in Google's lineup. Each is beautifully crafted with true italics (not just obliques!), subtle details, and balanced proportions. Scroll on down for our recommendations for using each one!

Our fave serif Google fonts – free to use! We love these because they're super readable, pleasantly balanced, and have great true italics. Super love. | Hoot Design Co.

Best free serif fonts from Google – Lora! | Hoot Design Co.


Lora's round curves and tall x-height makes it seem friendly, open, and welcoming. Like all of the fonts on this list, Lora has awesome italics with a definite rhythm and smooth flow.

This font is extremely versatile – it's just as at home in paragraph text as it is in titles and headings. Keep in mind that the tall x-height makes Lora seem "bigger" when used in blocks of text than some of the other fonts with more traditional x-heights (like Crimson and Alegreya) on this list.

Playfair Display

Best free serif fonts from Google – Playfair Display! | Hoot Design Co.

I love Playfair Display – especially its great italics! The font's italic version has an energy that's dynamic and just unexpected enough to make it interesting.

As "display" indicates, this font is better for headings and titles than it is for body text. In paragraph form, Playfair is more difficult to read due to its high contrast. But in display headings and one-liners, that high contrast is a benefit rather than drawback! 

Make sure you check out Playfair Display SC, a great small caps member of the Playfair family.

Crimson Text

Best free serif fonts from Google – Crimson! | Hoot Design Co.

Crimson is definitely one of my favorite serifs out there. It's actually one of the fonts we use in the Hoot Design Co. brand. One of the reasons we chose Crimson is because of its superb readability and classic proportions

Crimson is perfect for body paragraphs (designed for text, as the name suggests!) but strong enough to hold its own in a title or heading. This dual use makes it quite versatile. I also love the fact that it has both bold and semi-bold options – each in regular and italic – for a total of 6 versions available through Google Fonts for this family.

I really go for traditional balance and time-tested proportions in a lot of my font choices, and Crimson fits that bill perfectly. Some people may think it's a little plain, but for me its no-frills makeup means it's a solid choice!


Best free serif fonts from Google – Alegreya! | Hoot Design Co.

Alegreya is another choice perfect for body text. In fact, I use it in essays I write for class as a more interesting and upbeat alternative to the dreaded Times New Roman preferred by... lots of professors, unfortunately. Alegreya is warm where TNR is stoic, rhythmic where TNR is deadbeat, and lively where TNR is stiff. You can tell I'm quite biased in this matter! Anyway, it's definitely a go-to serif choice for me.

What makes this family extra great, however, is the fact that the Alegreya family is so expansive: In addition to straight-up Alegreya, the family includes small caps, a sans-serif version, and even a sans-serif small caps – all with multiple weights and true italics for a grand total of 40 total fonts in the Alegreya universe. Win.


The best free fonts on Google fonts, serif edition! This is Bodoni, super great for headlines. Less agreeable for body text, though! | Hoot Design Co.

Bodoni goes way back – like 18th century way back. It's perfect for headlines and titles thanks to its distinctive high-contrast strokes and solid foundations.

However, it's less suited to body text for these exact reasons. The thin parts of Bodoni's high-contrast makeup nearly disappear at small sizes and make it less readable than other serif options. Especially in digital use! But it's still a great choice for refined titles and headlines with a nod to history.

What are some of your favorite Google Fonts? Do you have any special go-tos?

Until next time,