Type Foundries

feldhouse's picture

Hey guys,

I know this has probably been posted a bunch on this site, but I'm needing a refresher and maybe I can give you a few new type foundries to look at as well.

I am looking for those small, nitche market type foundries that have that charm and excellence. Everyone knows about the following:






But I'm looking for more sites like this:





If you guys have any type foundries you know of or just those one off fonts that someone has created and is selling, but is a high-quality font, I'd love to archive it. Thanks for all the help.

Stefan H's picture

Swedish typefaces & Swedish design...


.00's picture

Right off the bottom of my head:



pattyfab's picture

Just to nitpick: myfonts.com, fontshop.com, fonts.com are not foundries - they are vendors that sell fonts from foundries.

It would seem that the wiki entry linked above should give you a nice list to work with...

paul d hunt's picture

here it is again:
and here are the retailers:
Font Retailers

feldhouse's picture

Thanks guys. That list is great and I didn't even know it was there. How stupid do I feel?

I am still looking for those places where you have a one-off font that is being sold but it is absolutely beautiful. The larger "companies" that sell the fonts are good too, but I'm looking for those gems. I'll be scrolling through the list on here and trying to find a few.

Thanks again for all the comments so far.

crossgrove's picture

This might save time:


Beware; it's a 'clever' horizontal-scrolling thing.

Keep in mind there's no standard way type gets sold. Some foundries sell only direct, some use one, or all distributors, some are collectives only, and most prolific type designers have work available from different sources. See Josh Darden and Christian Schwartz; both have fonts available at Village, but not the same ones as on their own sites... My stuff is all available at fonts.com but only because of reseller arrangements. Each design is from a different foundry. It's complicated.

A better idea might be to catalog the gems themselves, and put the availability information second. I agree, there are some gems that don't get as much press as they should.

Dav's picture

The (European) Type Design Directory
> www.typedesign.info
> www.typedesign.eu/directory


mondoB's picture

Use MyFonts and FontShop to survey all the best indie foundries in one spot at a time. Just go into the font categories, set your screen to show the max number of entries, and surf away. Xavier Dupré is the key indie guy in both places right now.

Best designer with his own buy-direct website is

the Prada of type houses is Hoefler-FJ:

and Berthold from Germany has some fabulous families, well-priced:

the best free fonts are from Nick Curtis at

and Larabie fonts at Myfonts

Happy hunting!

feldhouse's picture

Thanks, mondoB. I think the Joshua Darden site is really nice and has some exquisite fonts on there. I will check it out more in depth later tonight.

It is that sort of site that I am looking for.

William Berkson's picture

You will probably find after looking for a while that there are certain founderies or designers whose work you particularly like. I have particularly admired FontBureau--now I'm working on a font for them--and the folks at Village (http://www.vllg.com).

Make sure you check out the Dutch founderies, whose work is always impressive, if expensive: Lucasfonts, Gerard Unger, TEFF, DutchTypeLibrary, Typotheque, Ourfonts.

Oh and don't overlook Jeremy Tankards wonderful stuff (http://www.Typography.net).

raph's picture

Sorry if this takes the thread off-topic somewhat, but I'm also looking around for foundries, to help me release a font I have in the queue. I had a nice email discussion with James Montalbano of terminaldesign, and he recommended setting up shop for myself, but I'm still thinking that I need an outfit that's set up to handle the commerce and deal with the routine day-to-day interactions with customers.

The font I'm hoping to release is a highly faithful digitization of an metal face from the first half of the 20th century. In keeping with the exclusive spirit of the original face, I have decided to price it very high (say $500), so to my mind that rules out options like myfonts. Of course I don't expect to sell many licenses at that price, but that's ok. The goal is to make the face available to those who are passionate about using it.

The foundry from the list above that seems to fit my needs most closely is vllg, but I sent in a query on their webform and it hasn't been returned. I don't know why not, but that's certainly not the experience I want customers to have.

I'm not sure whether I need a foundry per se, or more of a shop. I haven't tried to get in touch with the people from Veer or FontShop, but perhaps that would be a way to take care of the customer service side of things while maintaining my own brand (I like the "despotype" suggestion of Hrant, and may indeed take that up).

If you are the foundry I seek, feel free to get in touch. Any other ideas and suggestions are welcome.

hrant's picture

Yes, Village.

> I have decided to price it very high

Good idea.


mondoB's picture

Your price is too high for any dealer known to me. But apart from that, you need to incorporate, set up a website if only to show your work, and then join as many dealers as possible, starting with FontShop and MyFonts, where everybody surfs. But not if you insist on pricing that high--nobody will take you on, and why should they? The market is now flooded with inventive, quality fonts at affordable prices, though not as affordable as I would like. Fonts should be priced like paperback books, not bone china.

paul d hunt's picture

Fonts should be priced like paperback books, not bone china.

maybe if you only expect to get one good use out of them (like a paperback). definately not if you would want to use them over and over again for a lifetime (like fine china).

Village's picture

The cost of typeface licensing is meant to fund both the development of that typeface and the development of future typefaces. Like novels or albums, typefaces take months or years to create, and there is no guarantee that a typeface will sell enough to subsidise its creation. But a successful typeface will fund the design of other types, as well as (hopefully) paying rent, and in our case, server hosting, merchant bank fees, advertising, promotion...

Some foundries and distributors believe in quantity over quality: release enough stuff and some of it is bound to sell. Others, including Village, believe that quality is more important than quantity, and we know that our clientele continues to visit us due to the quality of the offerings from our small group.

With many apologies for the blatant self-promotion.

    Note to Raph Levien: I just tried emailing you via the link from your website, and got a Mailerdaemon bounce. Please contact me directly: chester[at]vllg.com. Thanks.
Nick Shinn's picture

Nice one Paul.

I would also add that while the bestselling books (Potter, Da Vinci Code) are recent works, the best selling fonts are old. Peyton Place, a work of similar vintage to Helvetica, ain't read much no more. If users stopped buying the old stuff, and if certain parties stopped bundling free fonts, then perhaps there would be a mass market for new fonts which would enable indie foundries to sell in sufficient quantity to lower their prices.

So, enjoy your classics and your bundled beauties, but please don't winge about font prices.

Anyway, the price of most bestselling fonts at Myfonts is $12 - $25, which is actually quite comparable to paperbacks.

raph's picture

Chester: thanks for the quick response, and check your inbox. My email address is <firstname>.<lastname>@gmail.com, in case others want to contact me.

mondoB: I own many paperback books (although not as many as I used to - I donated about a thousand science fiction paperbacks to the library when I moved), and a select few prized, rare editions. If what you're trying to say is that all books should be cheap paperback editions because that suffices to get the words across, then allow me to respectfully disagree.

I think when you see the font and the history behind it, you will understand the logic behind my thinking. Perhaps nobody will take me up on it, but I suspect that there will be a few people who will appreciate what the font means and will pay for the privilege of being able to use it themselves.

mondoB's picture

My other concern about setting your initial price that high is that you will remain unknown and your fonts unused--is that the best payoff for your development efforts? Perfect example: Rialto, a three-font family that represents the finest Renaissance interpretation on the market today, comes from European designers with no website yet, and costs 580 euros via snail mail, so of course its progress in the marketplace is obstructed and slowed. With lower prices and better consumer access, they can compete with, say, Josh Darden, who offers Corundum, 12 fonts for $189, a really distinguished effort, among others on his site.

Regular half price sales, like DSType is now offering, are a great boon to us freelancers who work in, say, nonprofit, and need the sort of break that companies and agencies don't need.

raph's picture

Thanks for your concern, but I think it all depends on the font. Some of my designs I'm giving away because of their value to the free software community, others I'll very likely sell at paperback prices, and this particular one strongly wishes to preserve its exclusivity.

In any case, I would imagine that a discount would be offered for nonprofits, as is common for less corporate foundries. If someone has a really, really good reason for using the type, then a way will be found to make that possible.

mondoB's picture

Love your Century Catalogue...will it offer old-style figures loaded in alternative fonts, or thru OpenType glyph options? How about the other fonts in that family? Century Oldstyle, as you know, was not usually available with bold italic, something I always missed while using it steadily.

Can you give us just a carefully guarded peek at the one for which you want to charge higher?

.00's picture


I encourage you to do this on your own, no reseller will understand your high-price strategy, and that font does deserve to be a luxury item.

I'll say it again, it is up to all type designers to be fundamentally involved in managing their intellectual property. It is your future, and part of your retirement. Handing over that management to a long list of resellers begins the long slide to losing it all.

Hell, the business side of type design is the really interesting part. After you sell a couple of enterprise licenses for some real money that you keep for yourself, you'll see how enjoyable it can really be.

hrant's picture

> no reseller will understand your high-price strategy

How can you be so sure? And what about DTL?

Plus James, I'm sure you can understand that some people:
1) are not good at selling.
2) find typeface design (especially at the forefront of text faces) much more interesting than selling type.

Yes, having and spending money is nominally great, but different people derive pleasure from a different complement of things. And one specific indication here is that Raph makes fonts to give away while you don't. We're all different, and that's the single best thing (it's not DTP or the Mac) about the current type business: you're not inescapably locked in with some large corporation - you can (hopefully) choose the scheme that suits your character.


.00's picture

I can be sure, because the strategy I was referring to was something I communicated directly to Ralph.

One does not need to be good at selling to be fundamentally involved in managing their intellectual property.

One does not sell type. One sells licensing.

I prefer to confine my charitable contributions to financial support of reputable NGOs. I'd rather not add to the destruction of my industry by devaluing its products through give-aways.

hrant's picture

Raph has communicated his strategy here as well, and I don't see anything about it that could make you so sure that nobody would be interested. Plus apparently you haven't convinced him, so you're doing something wrong. And then there's still the DTL case. On top of that Village has expressed potential interest right here...

> One does not need to be good at selling to be fundamentally
> involved in managing their intellectual property.

But one does need to be good at selling to do part
of what a font house would [try to] do for you.

> I prefer to ...

Which is fine, and I might even agree with you.
But my point is that neither one of us is Raph.


raph's picture

James: thanks for jumping into this thread, as well as the deeper email discussion.

If it is true that no reseller will understand the pricing strategy, then that problem solves itself. However, I want to at least explore the possibilities. If there is a reseller that understands quality, and is not too greedy about ownership of the copyright, then I can imagine that being a good match for me. If not, then I will most likely follow your example, and no doubt be in touch with you to compare notes on what mistakes to avoid, etc.

James: why is it that you don't work through Veer and FontShop? Is it simply because you feel that you can do the marketing just as well and don't want to give up that cut of the total revenue, or is it a deeper issue?

I feel that the issue of giving away fonts is far from the original thread. I'm happy to have that discussion, but let's start a new thread for it, ok? One thing I will say briefly here is that the free font movement, such as it exists, is not about designers making charitable contributions of their work, but about participating in something new. For me, that new thing has as much to do with mathematics software (see Ghilbert) as graphics design.

Chester: I still haven't gotten an email from you. I don't mean to bug you, but could you send just a ping?

Si_Daniels's picture


The best thing you could do for the Open Source Fonts effort would be to price your commercial offerings as high as possible (per your original post). What hampers the OSS community in this area is that the participants are considered a bunch of amateurs. By not selling your commercial stuff on the cheap you're working against that perception.

You know I'm talking sense. :-)

Cheers, Si

PS. "and Berthold from Germany", ah Germany, that little known Chicago suburb.

TBiddy's picture

Now, that this thread has been hijacked :) Raph— keep doing what you're doing. It makes perfect sense to me. It displays a point that I've tried to make on Typophile a time or two and got completely shot down. Different products have different price-points. There's Mercedes, and then there's also Volkswagen. Why should type be any different?

Si_Daniels's picture

>There’s Mercedes, and then there’s also Volkswagen. Why should type be any different?

why should someone as talented as Raph, capable of creating a Ferrari be knocking out Yugos?

TBiddy's picture

why should someone as talented as Raph, capable of creating a Ferarri be knocking out Yugos?

Because sometimes you just need to get from "point A" to "point B." Other times, you need to ride in style. :)

crossgrove's picture

But Simon, every typeface doesn't take the same amount of development time or effort. It's not a simple as high or low quality. There are fonts of uniformly high quality with varying levels of complexity in both design and production. So there ought to be a range of prices in retail offerings. But I do agree with your point about pricing and the perception of open source fonts. There again, the quality in both design and production should be high, even if they will be distributed freely.

TBiddy's picture

There are also a good number of foundries putting out quality work that offer high quality free faces. My point wasn't that you should drop out a bunch of crap...my point was that everyone doesn't need a 6-disc player in their car. Just like everyone doesn't need light, extra-light, semibold, small caps and medium with every font family.

.00's picture

Raph, (sorry for the l)

I prefer not to use resellers for many reasons, part economic, part historical, part emotional. Myfonts has the most modern royalty agreeemnt out there, the rest are stuck in an old manufacturing/publishing model. I don't care to participate in any of them at the present time. I do feel that the royalty rates that most distributors pay has contributed to the decline in font revenues for most type designers over the last 10 years.

hrant's picture

> why should someone as talented as Raph, capable
> of creating a Ferarri be knocking out Yugos?

So poor people can get around too?


Nick Shinn's picture

the decline in font revenues for most type designers over the last 10 years.

But not if you self publish. And the last 10 years have been Internet years, which has made that possible. Of course, there has been no survey of type designer income -- perhaps that's sopmething the TDC should do. Looking at the proliferation of online foundries, I would say that more and more people are making a living from retail font sales, and many of us are doing better than we were. I would also say that the typical 50/50 manufacturer retailer split is traditional for all kinds of retail businesses, pre-dating the Internet.

Speaking of Yugos, Luc de Groot drives a Trabant.

dezcom's picture

Is Luc's Trabant cooler than my 1990 Sentra? :-)


hrant's picture

I actually got a ride in it once, with his sister Irene (sp?) and Evert Bloemsma. There was a boombox in the back making up for no radio. I think it would have been less memorable in a Ferrari.


Nick Shinn's picture

Chris, trade in the Sentra for a Datsun Sunny.

crossgrove's picture

Geez you guys I don't have a car. Simon, why don't you use a food analogy next time? :)

Nick Shinn's picture

Sorry Carl...

Chris, trade in the Nissan for this. (You may need a few extra dollars as well.)

dezcom's picture

I think Carl has it right Nick, I'll trade my Sentra in for a Lamb Souvlaki and a glass of Retsina :-)


PS: Someone stole my radio out of it years ago so I may look up Luc to get that boombox :-)
(Why they stole my funky old radio instead of the Mercedes parked next to me, I'll never know.)

dan_reynolds's picture

I guess that it's easy to quickly and discretly sell an old radio on the black market than it is a Mercedes?

dezcom's picture

You reminded me of this photo from your site:


TBiddy's picture

Simon, why don’t you use a food analogy next time? :)

Actually, Carl— I think it was my fault. :)

Si_Daniels's picture

I went for the bait ;-)

Cheers, Si

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