"Alternative" fonts?

My boss at the vidstore where I work found out about my graphic design experience (OK, it was on my resume), so I’ve been devoting more and more of time to doing signage for all of his stores. The thing I spend the most time on is making “marquees”: little banners announcing upcoming releases. I do each of these to match as closely the style of the movie’s poster art. Which means I spend a lot of time trying to match fonts.

The site that’s been the most helpful to me is WhatTheFont? It’s pretty astonishing the way it matches fonts from an uploaded jpeg pretty dang instantly. Of course, most of the times I track down a font, it’s not a *free * font. Needless to say, my budget does not include buying a fresh font for every title I’m treating. So I have to dig through my 400+ fonts by eye for something that’s “close enough.”

Does anyone know of any sites that offer suggestions of alternative free fonts for those of us who can’t afford to buy all those “official” fonts?

(NOTE: I’m not looking for illegal sources for official fonts; I’m looking for suggestions of free fonts that are similar to official fonts: I’m looking for a short cut to browsing my 400+ fonts by eye.)

No useful help on sources, but I found back when I had similar need to match existing fonts that a lot of free fonts which were variants on copyrighted “official” fonts bore a “suggestive” name – not meaning ‘erotic’ but ‘this’ll remind you of, wink wink, nudge, nudge.’

For example, somebody’s Zapf Chancery clone was “Chancellor”; one variant on Helvetica was “Swiss” and another “Helvetian”; there were a couple of “Goody” fonts (as opposed to those designed by Mr. Goudy); Playbill was imitated by something I don’t recall that began Play–. Skimming a couple of the larger online collections of “free fonts” for names reminiscent of the ones you don’t want to buy could be well worth your time to do so.

Just the other day I was looking for a free copy of Papyrus. Fontseek.com led me to several sources, both pay and free and I grabbed a free one that was close enough.

Thing was, I had to know the name of the font, which luckily I did. Your site, lissener, looks like the perfect complement to Fontseek.

Oops.

Cool websites, folks. Do you know any for foreign (i.e., non-roman) fonts?

This is my favorite free font site: http://www.dafont.com/

I have seen a bunch of fonts that mimic certain movie and brand fonts. Let us know what you think, good luck!

This is a sample of what I have. If you search for ‘fonts, free’ you’ll get a bucket full.