Many typefaces in your favorite car badges, gauges and advertisements are instantly recognizable. Now if you want know what those word-designs are actually called and how to download them, we’ve got you covered.
I have yet to find a single source cataloging every automotive typeface on Earth but I did find myself pretty deep down a rabbit hole looking for one in particular, so I thought I’d share the tools I collected to help lock down the car font, or typeface, you might be hunting for. I also learned that a typeface is a family of fonts, and a font is a specific execution in terms of the letters’ size and weight.
In this context, the two are basically interchangeable since we’re just talking about how to get the letter-style you see on the trunk lid of your car onto your computer. So with that out of the way, here are some useful sources:
Font Meme has 25 fonts from logos of automakers and tire companies. They look authentic, though most are not free if you want to download one. Here’s what’s on the site:
- Alfa Romeo
- Aston Martin
- Land Rover
Fonts In Use has an automotive list that’s organized a little differently- it lists the typeface, then provides context and examples of where you might recognize it from.
If you’re not as concerned with authenticity, F Fonts has a great batch of automaker typefaces that are slightly cartoonish versions of very recognizable writing styles. These are like the Grand Theft Auto knockoff versions of the real thing—an astute observer will know what they’re supposed to be straight away. On the plus side, most seem to be free to download.
Fontspace has more abstract automotive inspired typefaces. These are more like C-list celebrities- you’ll feel like you’ve seen them, but you might not be sure where-in. They’d be great for making a car show poster or just having fun with in Photoshop.
1001 Fonts has a mix of dead-ringer knockoff badge fonts and others that just feel vaguely car-relevant. But, again, there appear to be a lot of free options.
And of course if you’re looking for the lettering used on Porsche trunk lids and gauges from the late ‘90s to the recent past, Comic Sans is probably already on your computer. Just kidding, but, come on.
Anyway, I’ve prerun some free fonts from all of these sites on my Mac and haven’t had any apparent malware or running issues. But as with any free-to-download thing, use at your own risk. Take extra care if you’re planning to use one for commercial purposes, as usage rights vary.
Other than that, these fonts are pretty easy to pop into your computer and once you’ve done that they should show up along with the rest of your writing options!