With thousands of free fonts available from various sources scattered throughout the web, it’s easy for designers (and non-designers) to build their computer’s font libraries with hundreds and thousands of free fonts with just a few clicks. But is it really worth it to have access to this many?
First off I am not stating that all “free” fonts are immediately poor quality, but a quality typeface is carefully crafted and articulated for a specific purpose and medium. Quality typefaces have consistency between letterforms, can be clearly read, versatile, and have large families – to name a few.
Now I know what you are thinking – most quality faces are much too expensive to buy, especially to purchase frequently. Instead, try saving up once or twice a year to buy a beautifully crafted, versatile typeface and use it to it’s best advantage. You’d be surprised by how much a quality typeface can do for your work. Taking a few quality faces, perfecting them and understanding them will take you further in your career than a library of 10,000 fonts.
For fun, I asked my friends on Twitter, If you could purchase one quality typeface what would it be and why? Below are their responses.
@tomlewek: Mercury Text from Hoefler & Frere Jones. Because it’s rare that I find a serif font so beautiful with a great small caps.
@scottishsimon: Bliss Pro – the care and thought that went into it, and the history behind it. It’s classic and modern at the same time, with a nod to the legibility of roadsigns and The London Underground typography.
@iamkhayyam: Neutraface – The dexterity and punch. All across the board with lovely variations that can fit a myriad of identity and layout needs. However, Avenir is my stand by.. oh wait… and Trade Gothic. Those two are great, but if I could one pick one, again… it’s the House Industries Neutraface.
@LogoMotives: Theorem – Had I answered this question two days ago my response would have been Federal from LettError Type. However, I found a need for the font – actually for a pro bono project – and allowed myself permission to purchase it. Next on my list would be Theorem – from Umbrella Type and sold through Veer. Every once in a while I check out the type selections on Veer’s site and Theorem keeps jumping out at me. It would be a great identity type selection for retail, a restaurant or product packaging. The font would also be complemented by a wide variety of type – serif and sans serif – making it potentially very versatile in all the marketing/advertising collateral for a business.