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I’ve previously brought up a need—at least one that I perceive—for simple, inexpensive student font licensing. I have been thinking about it again, and something that always sticks out is that students who license a font are often only going to use the font once. Sometimes this is because the student does not even want to use the font and is only doing so at the insistence of a professor. Students at some schools may be pushed to use new fonts for every project. Or a project may just be a wild one-off that demands a font that is not inexpensive, even at student prices, but will not be useful again while the student is in school. Whatever the reason, it can be hard for students, especially students on a tight budget, to justify buying a discounted but still expensive font that will only be used once—especially in design schools where pirate fonts are everywhere.
What I propose is very low-cost single use font licenses for students. Under this system, a student would be able to license individual fonts—even out of families that are not sold individually—at a tiny fraction, say five to ten percent, of the regular price, but these fonts will only be used in one student project. The fonts on offer would not be limited to display fonts, which are already inexpensive, and can often be substituted by a free derivative/knockoff appropriate for student work. These would be the same expensive, high-quality text, signage, and information fonts that sell for a lot more than students might be able to afford.
While such a system is unlikely to make much money for anyone, it would get students used to paying for high-quality fonts. I don’t know what that’s worth to designers, but it seems like a better option than negotiating discounts on an individual basis, not offering a discount, or just expecting students to resort to piracy.