Fonts - Who Buys Fonts?

Did you know that there are hundreds of thousands of different fonts available. At some level, every font created since the Windows 95 era is still usable. And there are new fonts created every day. As you might expect, many of the new fonts end up look a lot like existing fonts.

Fonts unlike most software are not complex to code. So unlike the huge teams that create video games a single person can create a font family and market it. So fonts are long lasting, relatively easy to make. Given thousands of high quality fonts available, often for free, who buys fonts? One answer is graphic designers on expense accounts. As company purchases go, a few hundred for a new font is a small purchase. Most designers working for agencies can easily justify multiple font purchases and do. It lets them tell customers that they are giving them something new and special.

Designers who use Adobe products get access to over 20k fonts as part of their monthly subscription. Those fonts are limited mostly to use in Adobe apps and will go away if you don’t continue subscribing. Designers using Adobe software are also the designers most likely to buy custom or new fonts.

Outside the pricey Adobe Cloud subscriptions or even more pricey individual font purchases there are also thousands of free fonts available that are licensed for commercial use. It is just possible that for every name brand font in the Adobe collection there is one very much like it available for free. For example, Google has a collection of free nicely designed fonts at Or you can just download 10,000 fonts Licensed for personal and commercial for just $19.95. at If you search on the web for "free fonts" you will find pages of offerings.

Why would there be so many free fonts available? Who makes them and why?  attempts to to explain.

"Fonts are a rare highlight in software design—stable, with well-defined uses, highly-compatible software stacks, and long-lived. Unsurprisingly, a back-catalogue of tens or hundreds of thousands of digital fonts out there, many nigh-indistinguishable from the next in both form and function.

Why, then do they all cost so much, and who is paying for them all, and even going around commissioning more fonts?

The casualness of the highly marked-up prices & the language around commissioned fonts strongly points to designers spending client money, largely for the sake of novelty & boredom, functioning as a cross-subsidy from large corporations to the art of typography. The surplus of fonts then benefits everyone else—as long as they can sort through all the choices!"


Author: Clif Graves