In our quest for the best font tester online, we quickly ran into a dilemma. There are an incredible number of fonts out there. So, if you’re searching for a new font for your next project, it can feel a bit overwhelming. But if you’re looking for an intuitive, well-designed free font test that will allow you to test any font in the world online, it simply doesn’t exist.
So, how do you test fonts in a browser before purchasing them? Once we readjusted our expectations, we found a few font preview options that should satisfy even the most ardent font fans. With the right approach, you can examine practically any font before you incorporate it into your next design. And once you start down this path, you’ll find that the search for the best font tester also becomes a journey of font discovery.
With Google Fonts, you can select from over 1000 font families. Font previews are available for some of the most popular fonts on the web, including Roboto and Open Sans. Every Google Font is completely free, and all of them are licensed for commercial use. This font sampler makes it easy to search for, display, and download a wide variety of font families.
However, Google Fonts does have some drawbacks. Anything you download from Google Fonts won’t automatically show up in your favorite design programs. For that, you need a font manager. In addition, these fonts are free because they’re the ones type foundries have decided they can offer to Google without taking too much of a hit. So, while Google Fonts will give you a great way to discover new type designers and foundries, you might not be able to preview and download every single one of their fonts. Free fonts come with a cost.
While Adobe Fonts isn’t free, this web font tester is included when you subscribe to Adobe Creative Cloud. So, if Photoshop, InDesign, or Illustrator are already part of your creative workflow, you have an easy way to compare fonts online. Try out fonts, search for specific foundries and type designers, or upload a picture and let Adobe scan it for similar typestyles. Sort by serif, sans serif, weight, and many other font properties. Type a word and see it in different fonts, in any text size, then explore each font family to find the perfect font for your next great idea. Once you get enough of a font preview, you can activate the entire family at once or pick and choose specific fonts. Your selected fonts will automatically appear in your Adobe Creative Cloud apps.
The font geniuses at Adobe have made the entire font sampler experience so seamless, it’s no wonder this is the go-to for so many creative professionals around the world. If you want an easy way to test out fonts online before you add them to your projects, this is it.
That’s the good news. Now for a quick reality check.
Occasionally, Adobe retires font families from its subscription library. This is the downside of relying exclusively on Adobe as an all-in-one font tester and font discovery tool. If they remove your favorite fonts from their library, you’ll have to purchase them directly from the foundry to continue using them. Either that, or you can manually replace the fonts they removed with different fonts. While the second option might seem easier, it can lead to production errors as no two fonts are exactly the same.
Another factor to consider anytime you try fonts online, is that not all web fonts will look good in print. In addition, not all licenses for web fonts include permission to use them in print. So, if you use Adobe to compare fonts online, and your ultimate goal is to run a campaign that includes print elements, talk with the type foundry first. It’s always a good idea to make sure you can use fonts in your chosen media.
So, while Adobe Fonts offers an excellent font sampler, you still need to do your homework.
It can be cost-prohibitive to purchase a font at full price when you only need it for a few months. Fortunately, now a new kind of font tester is attracting attention. Fontstand makes it easier to try different fonts online and lease them through a unique payment model.
Fontstand provides a font sampler for close to 2000 font families from a wide range of foundries. With Fontstand, you can compare fonts online and then rent those fonts by the month for 10% of their purchase price. And if you rent them for 12 months, you can keep them forever. With this kind of subscription pricing, it’s easier for creative professionals to try out fonts from up-and-coming type designers, and it’s easier for type designers to get their fonts in front of a much larger audience. While there are several type foundries that offer test fonts for download (like Klim Type Foundry), if you want to preview fonts from many different type foundries at once, Fontstand is a great option.
It’s exciting to see this kind of innovation in font preview and discovery. In the future we might see other platforms like this, ones that offer a totally different menu of fonts with a similar lease-to-own business model. Indeed, how long until we see a font sampler that features BIPOC type designers? If new sites give creatives more options and type designers a larger audience while providing an easy-to-use font sampler, we say the more the merrier.
Comparing fonts is a crucial part of the design process. But once you find the perfect font, how do you make sure it activates every time you open a new project in your favorite design app? Just downloading it to your local machine isn’t enough. And if you live in Adobe Creative Cloud, sorting through every single Adobe font can be a major hassle. What’s the best way to search, compare, and retrieve only the fonts you need without activating the ones you don’t? Discover our font management solutions and find the right fit for you and your team.
Your reward for scrolling all the way to the end is this precious cat. Yes! (Fist bump.)