The web is full of sci-fi fans, so it's no wonder there is great demand for free Serpentine Bold fonts. Most notably used in the hit series Babylon 5, the font is a stylistic eye-catcher.
The Background of Serpentine Bold Fonts
Technically speaking, the font was created by the fontographer Dirk Jensen for the design foundry Visual Graphics Inc. It is reminiscent of another san-serif font called Eurostile, with square-shaped letters. The major difference is more contrast between thick and thin strokes.
Unlike many other fonts that are trying to recreate or emulate a handwritten or calligraphic feel, Serpentine Bold is all about digital and technological flavor, evoking a science-fiction feeling to any of the posters, signs, or banners it is used on. At the same time, it has a curvy seductiveness that makes it a positive vision of the future, where good science triumphs over evil. The font is certainly most associated with the science fiction epic created by J. Michael Strazynski, Babylon 5, but it has been used in many other ways as well.
One place it is not used is in prose. While headers and titles in a document might be spiced up by using this font, it really is only appropriate for signs and banners, not documents. The letters' square shape can also make it difficult to make out the differences in lettering from a distance, and this is something to keep in mind when planning out a marketing campaign. The words which are easy to read on a computer screen or a magazine may not show up so well on a billboard or street sign.
Where to Find Free Serpentine Bold Fonts
Technically speaking, the font is not free. It is best purchased through a company such as Fonts.com. As fonts go it is relatively cheap and the purchase is easy with a credit card, installation supported on multiple platforms, and you also get a full font set - not just the Latin characters, but also special characters in the Latin Extended and Supplement character categories. If you are planning on using the font in a language other than English, this is a very useful thing to have.
If you want to have some other version of the font that is not bold, or is oblique, you will have to purchase a different set - searching for Serpentine Bold Oblique, for example, can find you other companies that will have the font. However, that particular link above goes to a free font site, and there are some things to take into consideration before just clicking the download button.
What's Wrong With Free?
Nothing is inherently bad with people giving away free things on the Internet - in some ways, the web itself is a free gift from Tim Berners-Lee. However, before you can give away something for free, you need to actually own it, and that's where the first argument against downloading free Serpentine Bold fonts comes in: it's just not right to steal Dirk Jensen's work just because you can.However, there are more reasons than that. For one thing, the fonts that are offered on the "free" sites are often simply copies of the original font - and therefore do not include all the extended and supplemental characters, or may not be available in font formats that are easily used by your computer. The art of creating a font is quite complex, and copies will have subtle changes that make it less effective for conveying your message.
Finally, while most "free font" sites are offering the fonts in exchange for you looking at their advertising, some are more malicious. When you download and install a font from a less-than-reputable source, you may be downloading a virus or other malware that will be destructive in some way to your computer.
It's worth it to spend the money, get the good font, and be safe and supported by a proven font source. While the best things in life may be free, the best fonts are worth the money.