Where to start with HK Grotesk. There are a lot of open source sans serif fonts out there. HK Grotesk is one of the best. Period.

One thing you have to know about me is that, for the most part, I do not like using sans serif typefaces to set body text when I’m pairing typefaces. I think some designers gravitate towards sans serifs thinking that their simplicity makes them somehow “foolproof” in a design system. But I’ve just seen so many sans serif font pairings that miss the mark, most commonly leading to designs that feel soulless or inadvertently juvenile. In other words, I think sans serifs are tricky to pair and it requires a really strong grasp of typography to select the right sans serif typeface that feels just right. Enter HK Grotesk.

HK Grotesk is designed and distributed by Hanken Design Co. According to the designer, HK Grotesk is “an Open Source sans serif typeface inspired by the classic grotesques.” Now, while the description is true, this severely undersells the magic of HK Grotesk. Taking a close look, you will see the fun details in the letterforms such as the shape of “g”, the curls in the “l”, and the angles in the “t”. The details add warmth and quirkiness and balance the geometric precision of the letterforms – all of which result in a versatile, usable typeface that is just right.

I know it is not the most flashy typeface. But there’s a very special place in my heart for the typeface that goes with everything and HK Grotesk is a beautiful, reliable workhorse of a font that I reach for time and time again. HK Grotesk was one of the major inspirations behind Fontmama as finding HK Grotesk reignited my love for open source fonts. And honestly, every time I use it, I can’t believe it’s free. (If you haven’t already noticed, the Fontmama site uses HK Grotesk!)

HK Grotesk comes in a whopping 18 styles and is distributed with SIL Open Font License making it free for personal and commercial use. Go get HK Grotesk now.