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How to Buy Fonts – The Ultimate Guide

This guide will show you how to grow your own unique and joyful font collection with exquisite fonts and low costs.



Many people are confused by an unsure feeling about the value and the complexity of buying fonts. What’s this thing with licensing? How much should a font cost and what is its actuall value? This sort of things can confuse into thinking that they possibly stick to poorly designed free fonts instead of buying valuable fonts that can improve design  and workflows so much. Sound familiar? Then find here the ultimate guide for you on how to shop fonts:


First of all: Look out for fonts from professionals.

If you suffer from missing letters and diacritics, bad spacing and kerning or inconsequences in concept and design with your free fonts, you should stop downloading from free font sites and clearly focus on fonts made by professionals to ensure a certain quality. Nevermind if this is a font foundry or the next independent type designer. If they have successfully released a bunch of fonts, then they have surely evolved a certain experience in creating and designing type. Also check their social media profiles and read reviews of their fans. If they are happy, this might be a good point to start your research.


The Licensing

Ah! Licensing! You probably heard something about it. License texts are long, non-understandable and exhausting? I agree in every point. That’s why you should watch out for simple licensing. Some designers provide a bullet list, what you may do and what not. Such a thing is clearly a good thing to have. Another good thing might be a worry-free guarantee like the vendor Fontspring provides. They prove the licenses of their fonts for you. If its simple and usual, the fonts will get a “worry-free” badge. If they don’t – no badge.


Why do I need a license?

Many people think that if you have the font file then they would own the font. But thats a misleading understanding. Fonts are considered software and that means you may have a ton of font files but when you pay for a typeface, you actually get permission to use it for certain things such as installation on a computer. Hard to understand? Yes, but I am sure that you will master it. Just throw away the imagination, that you will buy some physical letters. You buy software licenses and because software is only made of numbers like 1 and 0, you’re buying a permission to use it.

Do you think that’s stupid? It’s actually an advantage compared to other graphic supply licenses, like photographs and illustrations because instead of using them for a fixed number of projects, you get a permission to install them on your computer (desktop license) and use it for all the projects you are creating on this machine – all your life long. That’s awesome, right?


The Pricing

You may have heard people saying that buying fonts is expensive. Well, that might be true. But also it isn’t. This mostly depends on how much you want to buy a certain font. But if you look around you will find that there are a number of ways to get fonts at a reasonable price.


Step 1: Market Places

Many designers are running huge launch discounts nowadays or are giving away single styles for free. All you have to do is to visit the online marketplaces, sign up for their newsletters, and get your library grown up with quality fonts at a certainly lower price. Check out places like Fontspring and MyFonts but also the very charming market place called Creative Market.


Step 2: Demo-Fonts

Are you still worried that you could waste your money because you might not like the font once you bought it? Then look for Demo-Versions of your favourite typeface. Possible resources are, for example Fontspring or can be found on free font sites. I told you to not download from free font sites? Yes, but now you have learned about licensing, buying fonts and about your favourite designers and fonts. You know what you want right now. You also may ask your designer directly if he or she provides demo versions.

Once you encountered the option of Demo-Fonts you’ve got a lot of sample fonts in your library to design and to test with. When you reach the point where you turn your project into a profitable source, this is the moment when you can finally purchase the font you are using. And because you are only buy certain styles that you need for a project, this investment will be returned by your project on time.


Step 3: Renting Fonts

Still not sure? Then here’s a third option I can give you: Sign up for a font subscription. Like on music or movie industry, there is a trend towards subscription services. There are already a few services popping up during the past years like Rent-A-Font, Fontown or Adobe Fonts. Which one you choose is probably a personal decision, whether you want to follow the main stream or not. The prices are valuable and you will pay a certain fee per used hour. That way, you can use the entire library offered and pay only a few cents to check the fonts on your design. You can still buy the fonts if you need them regularly.


What to do next?

Well, that was a lot of information to remember. But now you’ve learned a lot about shopping fonts and you can always come back to this site to read it again.

Finally I summarize the steps to a successful and satisfying font purchase in short:


  • Check out marketplaces for free styles and great discounts
  • Check on your favourite fonts or designers if they reached a certain level of quality.
  • Check out on simple licensing. If you are not sure about it, ask your designer.
  • Watch out for demo fonts to test them
  • Check and test fonts on a subscription based service
  • Buy the font you fell in love with and enjoy your quality tools that helps you to create your beautiful design work.


On the way to purchasing, you should stop by at the designer’s personal website and have a look, if you can buy the font of your heart right there. You could do something good for the designer because he or she did not have to pay any fees to the marketplaces.

Well, that’s it. You are now prepared to master the way to grow your own unique and exquisite font library with fonts you love. It will be so much more pleasure to work with them.

If you found this post inspiring, you can take your very first step by subscribing to my newsletter at the bottom right of this site. Receive news about latest discounts and giveaways, as I occasionaly give away styles for free, too.

Happy fontjoy!

Anita Jürgeleit – Type Designer By Passion