There is a ubiquitous maxim in design that "good typography is invisible". How many of us would wonder what font is being used during the end credits of a movie? Have you ever even wondered how many fonts are in existence? Since I started working at Extensis, I am quickly reconnecting with my long lost love of design and remembering how important typography is to any form of visual art.
So how many fonts are available for a designer to choose from? What Font Is, a free font finder uses a catalogue of 550,000+ fonts which leads me to believe there are at least half a million fonts in existance. A quick search in MyFonts, the largest distributor of commercial fonts, shows them housing over 130,000 fonts which fall into:
Both these platforms most likely don't include custom-licensed fonts, which are custom fonts created specifically for a company or brand and only usable by them.
Whatever the actual number is, one thing is for sure – although typography is centuries old, it continues to evolve and play an important role in many aspects of our daily lives. It’s integral to all forms of communication, whether it’s in a print ad, a web page, an email signature, or even clothing labels. In our increasingly branded world, typography and fonts are crucial for differentiation and expressing creativity.
In this large cacophony world of fonts, how can you find the the best fonts for your creative projects? Where can you go to add more options to your creative toolbox?
Here are some of our favorite ways to find amazing fonts:
Creative Market, Behance, Dribble and Google Fonts, Oh My!
A fun way to get started and be inspired is to see how creatives are experimenting with type. You probably won’t find full-fledged font families this way but you might find yourself addictively scrolling through these candy stores of fonts.
Independent type foundries, often conducted by the type designers themselves, offer some real typographic gems. Hrvoje Grubisic, Design Director at Bornfight, shared a list of 8 fresh independent type foundries to check out.
Some of the highlights include:
Joe Flory, Design Director at FINE Design also put together a list of his favorite 11 modern independent type foundries. Check them all out and be inspired for your next project.
A quick but costlier way to build your font collection is to license an entire library. Monotype has a library of over 10,000 fonts, designed by the world’s most celebrated and gift type designers. Their library includes some of the most famous and widely-used fonts, such as the Helvetica. This is a great option for acquiring high quality typography but it can get pricey for designers just getting started.
Monotype also owns MyFonts.com and Fonts.com, online font stores where you can purchase and download desktop and web font products. Both of our professional font management solutions—Suitcase Fusion and Suitcase TeamSync—include direct connects to MyFonts. Fonts purchased through MyFonts will automatically appear in Suitcase Fusion and Suitcase TeamSync after being downloaded via Skyfonts. Also by Monotype, Mosaic is a good option if you're looking for a cloud-based subscription font platform.
If you are an Adobe Creative Cloud user, you also have access to Adobe Fonts. Get Typewolf's take on his top 40 favorite fonts available on Adobe Fonts.
As with anything in life though, the more you have of something, the need for organization increases. The more fonts you add to your collection, the harder it is to find exactly what you’re looking for when you’re needing it. Wherever you get your fonts, once your collection grows into the thousands, it will become harder to navigate through them with ease. But rest assured, when the time comes for you to level-up and master fonts like a pro, we’re here to help.
Your reward for scrolling all the way to the end is this precious cat. Yes! (Fist bump.)