torrent tracker for browsing fonts, collections?

nkautz's picture

Let me start by noting that I do not condone font piracy. I am a graphic designer and typographer by trade and I have always licensed all fonts in my work. That said, I don't have a problem downloading collections for preview and trial purposes.

I am looking for good trackers for finding fonts and font collections, preferably organized so as to allow browsing fonts as a category, instead of being limited to results of a search.

if one doesn't exist, it damn sure should. who is with me?

please do not turn this thread into a soapbox for copyright and/or intellectual property politics. start a new one if you must.

clauses's picture

Are you **** kidding me? Get lost.

Ray Larabie's picture

Doesn't exist. It's all Rapidshsare/Usenet except for mainstream large collections/trash heaps. Fonts have never been much of a torrent thing.

Bert Vanderveen's picture

Let me start by noting that I do not condone shoplifting. I am a food connaisseur and amateur chef and always pay for the goods I use when cooking. That said, I don’t have a problem opening up cans and packages in the supermarket for preview and trial purposes.

Bert Vanderveen BNO

Bendy's picture

You can preview fonts at

It's not wise to ask people who spend months and years creating fonts where you can download unlicensed fonts, whatever the purpose.

Nick Cooke's picture

People who run torrent sites should be put against a wall and machine-gunned.

Is that too strong? maybe not.

Don McCahill's picture

lol @ bert

Uli's picture

Nick Cooke:

> People who run torrent sites should be put against a wall and machine-gunned.

Do you also machine-gun people who do this

or this

or this

or this

Bendy's picture

Uh oh.

aluminum's picture

Stealing fonts is like raping babies at gun point.'s picture


Could you explain a bit further, because it seems to me that since you're talking about being held at gunpoint: It's something you're forced to do, even though you despise it a lot.

English isn't my primary language, so maybe I don't complete understand your post / metaphor.

@Bert: mooie vergelijking ;) It made me smile, although you would be copying the food before you tasted it.

In general: I agree with Bert, and maybe not as strong as the words Nick chose, but still, I agree with his point.

Nick Cooke's picture

Uli - I couldn't be bothered to read all that - what's your point?

Uli's picture

> Uli - I couldn't be bothered to read all that - what's your point?

Don't bother to ask before you machine-gun.

Shoot first, ask later.

Miss Tiffany's picture

nkautz: As a moderator I have to say that you've picked entirely the wrong site if you wish for information on being able to download fonts illegally. Typophile has always maintained zero tolerance for sharing and/or otherwise illegally distributing fonts. As far as I'm concerned it is a non-topic and should not be discussed here at all.

To the rest of you reading this thread. If any information is shared I will remove your comment without hesitation.

aluminum's picture

@blaze: Sorry, I was just goofing on the subject.

Copyright infringement is nothing like raping babies with or without guns.

For that matter, it's nothing like shoplifting, either.

(Not that I condone downloading licensed fonts via bit torrent either)

rubenDmarkes's picture

Illegally downloading a font IS NOT like stealing food (or anything else, for that matter), people… let's get some perspective, here: it's actually like threatening a prostitute with rape.
Which means that if you do not condone of prostitution, you shouldn't use commercial typefaces at all. That's like going to a prostitute on a daily basis. And as George Costanza once said, why park in a garage when, if you apply yourself, you can get the same thing for free?

Bendy's picture

What a horrible analogy :(

rubenDmarkes's picture

I thought it would distract everyone away from the innocent-bashing. I guess it might work.
We really need to learn how to resolve these issues in a more civilized manner. This throat-jumping knee-jerk reaction is always terrible.
People will come here asking for this and for cheap logos and the works. Get with the times. Get over it. They're not killing whales. They thought it was innocent enough that they could put themselves out here, or maybe they didn't think at all. They never saw these things as we do, from our perspective.
The fact that some of us might think that this or that is really very wrong is no excuse for treating people, especially recent/new members, like this. We need to embrace them. We need them.
We need some default, civilized, educational response. These reactions are constant and, I believe, below us.

rubenDmarkes's picture

Nonetheless, I stand by my analogy. I loved it. xD

nkautz's picture

jesus christ listen to yourselves, i almost forgot how bitchy web forums are. i will take above advice and post where "moderators" do not censor the exchange of information and resources.

Ray Larabie's picture

I answered your question in a non bitchy manner.

There's no mass of interested font collectors with a taste for current font releases fonts who use torrents. At least not the public trackers. I think that's why the majority of font torrents are ancient collections of converted junk, graffiti font collections or mainstream big company collections. I'm not saying that to discourage people. Anyone can Google the words font & torrent and see for themselves. The foundry collections, while they sounds exciting and useful, tend to be really outdated. I'm not going to name specific ones but I think they're really only useful to font historians.

I'm not sure why, but the font scene is mostly a Rapidshare (or similar) scene. Usually when I see my own fonts being posted, it's usually a Rapidshare link. Whenever I see my own fonts in torrents, they're usually old versions of my early fonts mixed in with the usual 40,000 or so font grab bag mixed with free fonts . . . I think you know what I'm talking about.

I'm not sure about the Usenet font scene . . . those cats are hard core. But so many Usenet search sites are fake so who knows? From the Usenet search tools it looks as if there are some current font collections being traded but it sounds unlikely. I've seen supposed Usenet collections, supposedly containing fonts of which I had only sold 3 copies. Unlikely.

I don't think it's that way by accident. There's a real lack of availability and a fairly high price point (compared to music, movies, tv) which prevents torrents of new fonts to be released as torrents in the first place. If a font is $50 and sells 25 copies, how likely is it that one of those is going to end up on a tracker? Since, I think, most font buyers are designers, are those designers really going to take the time to post a torrent with single font family? Prolly not.

nitingarg's picture

Its nothing, but we are killing our own business this way.

Ray Larabie's picture

I agree. I don't think it helps just to avoid talking about it. Font designers need to consider verious file sharing networks and the ways it harms/helps. Whether you want to fight file sharing head on, embrace it or focus your work in a different way, making jokes, threatening and trying to scare people off is just dumb.

capthaddock's picture

Nkautz: I apologize if you thought this was a forum on fonts or typography. It's mostly a forum on complaining and licensing and on how to make people pay more for fonts.

Bendy's picture

No, it's not. But if you're asking a forum of professional type designers where you can find their work for free, it's obvious you're going to get a frosty response. Don't they deserve to earn a living as much as anyone else?

Richard Fink's picture

FWIW - I share Ray's sentiments in that "not talking about it" is harmful. nkautz is going to the darknet because he can get something there that he can't get elsewhwere and it's not "free" fonts. (I'm taking him at his word, I have no reason not to.)
It's the ability to experiment with fonts before buying, work with them, pick and choose from a huge selection, whatever.
If not talking about it is rooted in "hey, let's not give anybody any ideas" and "let's not let anybody know there isn't much we can do about it", well, if those are the realities, then who are you really lying to?
Is there some choice other than dealing with it?

Tomi from Suomi's picture


Since you are in a forum filled with type designers, would it not be more appropriate to ask if you could get a sample pdf of specific font with a phrase "what ever you're working on", instead of a working torrent?

I think many, if not all, would be happy to compliment you. Not always immediately, but for my part, I'd be happy to send you a sample with your text for you to try it out. In this way you could get closer to the designer, instead of alienating them.

DrDoc's picture

I agree that these knee-jerk "you're a criminal get out of this forum" reactions to any mention of file sharing helps nobody and only serves to alienate new members of our community. Isn't this thread really about a bigger issue, which is that foundries should work to create a better preview mechanism? Several foundries offer an effective way to preview display fonts (MyFonts, H&FJ, and vllg come to mind), but there is still no really good way to visualize what a typeface will look like for extended text in the context of your document.

Tomi has suggested contacting the designers, and I think that this is a great idea. However, couldn't foundries offer some sort of automated service in which you feed in your point size, leading, column width, etc., and it spits out say 12 column-inches of lorem ipsum as a pdf for you to place in your document? I think that this would be a very useful tool.

But on the original topic, the type community cannot become like the RIAA and unilaterally condemn any mention of file-sharing. I recognize that the analogy to the recording industry is problematic, since the musicians lose much less from having their music downloaded, and type designers don't sell merchandise and play concerts. There's a reason that I have very little problem with downloading music but won't illegally download fonts or aid anyone in doing so. But the type community needs to avoid being seen as a curmudgeonly bunch of old coots who can't get with the times. Type designers need to figure out how to work the current climate to their advantage; just look at Jos Buivenga.

That's an awful lot of words just to say "don't shout down anyone who mentions file sharing, regardless of intentions," but ultimately I feel that we can benefit fro the conversations that these kinds of threads start.

Cristobal Henestrosa's picture

> couldn't foundries offer some sort of automated service in which you feed in your point size, leading, column width, etc., and it spits out say 12 column-inches of lorem ipsum as a pdf for you to place in your document?

Like this?:

DrDoc's picture

Yes, quite a bit like that. I didn't know a foundry was offering a tool that was actually useful for previewing text fonts. It would be nice to be able to adjust the leading, though, and the justification, and to have the ability to measure the column width in picas and points. I'm glad that a foundry is offering a tool that lets you look at more than one line of text, though, and with that level of variability.

apankrat's picture

>> I am a graphic designer and typographer by trade and I have always licensed all fonts in my work. That said, I don't have a problem downloading collections for preview and trial purposes.

> Get lost.

That's not a way to treat paying customers. That's a way to loose them.

russellm's picture


A thing that seems to to be quite elusive is that when someone steals– (downloads without paying for) a font, or some other software, nothing is actually taken. The font is still there. Someone steals a couple of cans or packages from a super market, and they are gone & the merchant is out of pocket. You can say stealing is stealing, but when someone steals something that can be infinitely replicated, it needs to be treated it a little differently than a can of corn.

Theunis de Jong's picture

Um. Russell, can you post your credit card number? That's a copy, non? And I'm sure your insurance covers it, so you loose nothing, and you'll make me a happy man in the progress.

Paul Cutler's picture

>DrDoc - There's a reason that I have very little problem with downloading music but won't illegally download fonts or aid anyone in doing so.

And that reason is musicians have been forced (are able) to make all their money off of concerts and merchandise? Brilliant. Probably in addition to that you mythologize sticking to "the man", like Warner Brothers or one of the other evil companies. Why not stick it to Linotype then?

The most money I ever made off of music was when The Red Hot Chili Peppers covered one of my songs. It's called royalties. Which you only get when records are SOLD.

The power of justification is amazing. You can't have it both ways Dr. Robin Hood.


russellm's picture

actual things are not virtual things, and vice versa. If I were to give you access to my money, then, well… you'd have access to my money and unfortunately, THAT is not infinitely replicate-able, but if it were, believe me, I'd be happy to do so.

If you want to convince people they need to pay for the virtual things we make, don't start by pissing them off.

funk_king's picture

wouldn't it be great if some of those free font websites that are actually ad driven would share their revenue with the typographers who post their work there. sure there's a wide range of quality, but it's also very democratic - and at least the designer would be compensated to some degree. wouldn't it be great if someone would create something like this? thereby showing that it can be done and that perhaps we as a community would support it by posting our work there and making it unavailable elsewhere, until those other sites did the same - share the revenue generated by the ads that appear on their site? sounds easy enough. this is the new reality of digital freedom. the old business models used when transfer sheets were the norm in typography need to change just like typography has. the way already exists to provide "free" fonts and make money doing it.

and a greater threat is the whole copyright law as it relates to type design. we should be just as concerned (if not more so) about the ability of corporations and others to steal ideas from the average joe typographer because U.S. copyright doesn't protect type designs per se.

apankrat's picture

A couple more thoughts on the subject.

There are effectively three types of people interested in fonts:

(a) those who do not realize that fonts require licensing
(b) those who know that they should be licensed and use them without licensing
(c) those who know that they should be licensed and do in fact license them

(a) are potential customers
(b) are not paying out of principle
(c) are paying customers

Now, let's see what does going after the torrent sites do. First of all, who ends up searching for a pirated copy of the font ? Those who have just been to the font retailer and could not download a copy without paying. I.e. people who know about the licensing requirements, the group (b) or (c). Or those from (a) who were shocked by a sticker price and did not find a way to justify it.

(b) is not paying, but (c) does. Why is (c) looking at pirated copies ? I think the answer is damn obvious - they want to evaluate the font in detail before committing. They are in a sense compensating for the shortcomings or the inadequacy of previewing systems at the font retailer's site.

This in turn means that taking down the torrent'ed copy eliminates the font from the consideration by such customers. It effectively translates into lost sales.


If the goal is to entice people not to use torrents, then the only effective way to address this problem is to provide some form of return policy or to offer selected weights free of charge. Based on how well Jos's Museo is doing, latter is working.

Former is not something that I've ever seen in the wild, but, again, twist your brains a bit and consider who would be using this option - this would hardly be pirates, wouldn't it ? Every single "return" will come from honest, paying customers that will in the end be grateful for the flexibility; and that in itself will establish a great deal of goodwill and make them more likely to return for another purchase.

In other words - do not worry about the piracy.

Focus on simplifying the experience of those who are willing to pay instead of going after those who won't pay regardless.

Ray Larabie's picture

I throw music/font analogies around like something in a something. Here's something that I think differentiates font/music piracy. It's not a morality thing, it's a money thing.

When a song is pirated, it's not likely to be broadcast. It goes into an MP3 player. The lost income is a lost sale.

When a font is pirated, it may be used for something the public will see, in a sense, broadcast. A blog heading, decal, logo, game etc. This exposure causes a kind of erosion of style. The more people see it, the less novel it becomes. You can certainly see that with free fonts: they quickly become uncool from overexposure.

For recording artists, it's been argued that exposing people to music who normally wouldn't but it creates fan bases . . . agree or not, you've heard that side of the music piracy argument before. I think there's some truth in it. I don't think it means music piracy is a great boon for recording artists (2000 vs 2010) but more of a big downside with a tiny little upside.

For font makers, there's not much of a positive side to piracy. The increased exposure lowers the value of a font. There's little prestige in being included in a torrent, especially since the collections are generally trashy. According to apakrat, being included in a font torrent junk pile can potentially increase sales but I think it's pretty far fetched. But I agree about not worrying about it. You can't stop it anyway.

Free font styles fueling pay font sales: I think that's a myth. The effect on sales is very subtle. If it worked, I'd keep doing it but generally a free version seems to have no effect on sales of the rest of the family whatsoever. I've been including free commercial use font styles since 2001. If it had a noticeable positive effect on sales, I'd be including free styles with every family.

Maybe Museo does so well because it's awesome.

Paul Cutler's picture

There's also not much of an upside for songwriters, which in the above stated case I was. If records don't sell you don't get royalties, pretty simple. Producers often have points on an album, same story. Touring for most bands is a losing money scenario, unless you are REALLY big.

So what's the big difference? The music industry has been hurt and so has the font industry. I have no solution to propose, other than maintaining my own morality.


Sye's picture

since we are comparing to the music industry, Sony BMG opened a site in Australia - - which offers 100% DRM free music at the highest MP3 compression (320kbits) with artwork all downloaded in a neat .zip file that can be shared on as many music players / computers you want. i believe they have taken this approach because they realise that music will be shared/pirated regardless, and this way they at least get the revenue of people like me who want the ease of downloading anytime, but also want to do the right thing, ie feel guilty when illegally downloading.

another thing to consider, how many of you would copy a friends cd to your computer without even thinking about it? i know just about all my friends do it and they are mostly honest people. for some reason, the fact that the cd was purchased at some point is enough for them to not think that sharing the cd amongst friends could be bad.

i see the same with fonts. most of the designers i know who use illegal fonts have acquired them from other designer friends or from studios where they worked. 6 years ago at my first design job my design manager said i could copy the linotype gold disc to take home, that it was a perk of working there, so being young, i did, only years later did i realise it was stealing as deleted the fonts.

now i'm happy to say that both my music and font collections are legal and honest, but that has been a deliberate choice on my part.

i agree with others that education is still needed so that people know fonts need licensing, also that some people never will pay for fonts and also that making it easier for designers to test fonts will help. I know for me, the online testing is vital before i purchase.

Sye's picture

may i add, that i have on a few occasions just straight up asked a type designer/foundry for a weight of a font to test, and some of them have given the weight or two to use, i then usually purchase them. either way, the type designer knows i have their fonts and can contact me anytime if there is a problem.

i have even had one type designer send me copies of fonts and only ask for payment when i actually use the font. rare i know, but it has happened to me.

moral of the story, just be up front and honest with the supplier, they then have the right to say yes or no to your request, but at least it's all in the open.

Richard Fink's picture

A general question: what kind of users tend to use fonts without paying for them?

Is it professionals of one kind or another who are trying to save money? Is it amateurs who are doing posters or signs? Or T-shirts. Are they lone eagles - free lancers - or people who work for design houses of one sort or another?

I know very little about this. So I'm just asking.
Obviously someone who takes and uses and then does not pay is not a customer.
But sometimes knowing who your customers *are not* can be a fruitful analysis.
Why are they not paying? Just crooked? Poor? What?

Seriously.... what are their profiles. What's the motivation.

Tomi from Suomi's picture

For me, as a book designer, I get a lot of fonts with multilingual prints with just black plate for each language. I use the fonts, and then package them with other files for possible re-prints or corrections. After the job they are just in storage.

As a type designer, this is sort of built-in thing to do.

But I've worked in advertising, and there thigs are so very different: an old co-worker started his own agency, and called me to work on a type they had already cleared with the client to be used as a logo and house type.

That type was something I had done for a publishing company some years ago. I went there and explained to them that this font family was made for exclusive use of that publisher, and I could not see how that could have ended as a logo of a lunch diner.

My friend said that he just copied ALL fonts from the company he left, and liked my font for the job. He never even considered that the name of the font was the name of the publishing company.

In the end I made some design changes to the font, and everybody were happy.

But here you see how fonts are appreciated.

Cristobal Henestrosa's picture

IMO, people don’t even notice they are doing something bad. Or they know, but they don’t care because it’s very unlikely to get caught. And some other people think that designing typefaces is not a big deal, so they feel the prices are too high: they pirate fonts because for them the prices are abusive in the first place.


That said, I can think of a possible motivation: to get the job.

Let’s say that a publisher wants to do a book in Quadraat, a not so expensive typeface (because that’s the way the collection is or whatever other reason). He asks two freelances: the first one can do the job for $1000 + $204 for the four basic styles of FF Quadraat OT. The second one is pirating the fonts, so he can do the job for just $1000 (BTW, he has not only the four basic styles, but the whole family). Who will get the job? In my experience, the publisher will not care about licenses, he only wants his book the way he likes it. The “good” freelance can license Quadraat this time with his own money and keep it for him (investment), but tomorrow he is going to need another one and the next week a new one that most likely he will never use again… You get the picture.

In an ideal world, in these cases you should charge your client for the font licenses. In the real world, since not everyone is playing fairly, trying to do that may mean not to get any job at all.

(Did I say that nobody has asked me to do a book in two years or so? But it’s ok, since I’ve been forced to do type design.)

Bendy's picture

I can see the reasons people use pirated fonts (either not wanting to pay or not knowing about licensing), so my question is why people would share fonts in the first place. If you spend money licensing fonts, you know they are not free. Why would you then share them with others? It's not like it benefits you to share stuff you've spent money on.

Cristobal Henestrosa's picture

I see these options:

a) You license the typeface, but a very close friend of you wants it too. Why don’t give it to him? Tomorrow he can do the same for you. Buy one, get two (or three, or four).
b) The company licenses the typeface, the employee not. He copies it from the company computer to his personal computer. He shares it with a very close friend (see a). The cycle starts again.
c) You license the typeface. You need that some other people (prepress service, an employee) gets the font in order to complete the job. You give it to them. They don’t erase the files after the job is done. They share it with a very close friend (see a), or someone in the prepress service copies the file into his personal computer (see b). The cycle starts again.
d) If I got the typeface from a, b or c, I didn’t pay for it. Why not upload it? Not my lost! This way everyone can use this lovely typeface, and tomorrow I will get some other typefaces that somebody else will upload, and at the end everybody will have an awesome collection available at every moment. And free! It is great, isn’t it? Well, yes, that’s like stealing, but nobody gets hurt, the big foundries are rich anyway and the type designers… well, they need to get another job or change the way they distribute their typefaces because in this globalised world everything is changing and the information should be free and I don’t have the money to pay for it but I really need that typeface and blah, blah, blah.

But we still doing typefaces…

Cristobal Henestrosa's picture

Oh, I forgot: if you get the typeface from d), you’ll probably feel free to give it to your best friend when he needs it (see a) or use it when your client refuses to pay the license to make your job (see c).

opwann's picture

I'd like to think that even those who download and use pirated fonts would actually rather be paying for them. Most designers know - even amateurs - that a well designed typeface can take months, even years to create.

Unfortunately, many up and coming designers are too poor to buy the typefaces they would really like to be experimenting with. As a result, they will resort to torrents and other file sharing methods to get the fonts they want to use.

I'd argue that most of these same people, once they've become more established in the design world, will purchase all the fonts they use.

VBM's picture

You guys don't have a clue as to who the font pirates really are. Let me break it down for you. Roughly 6% are actually in the design industry. Mostly coming from 3rd world piss holes like Bolivia or Zimbabwe, and make less than a peso a project. The major bulk are those who download a font, stress on 'A' as in 1, to decorate their Myspace pages with. The last group comprises of about 22%, of the true Font Pirates who collect typefaces like Chuck Davis collects Beanie Babies. These people admire type but only use them in avatars or signatures for their favorite warez forum, or any forum for that matter. And then there's me, less than 1% of the above 22% that also releases just to piss Fontographers off.

Though there may be some examples as above, there is no grand conspiracy of corporate greed to use your work without compensation. That's just your wishful thinking. A large portion of the faces are bought by pirates for the sole purpose of sharing among other pirates. Only about a quarter are actually extracted from files. And then those end up at a torrent tracker for the Myspace kiddies. The pay is usually distributed among many people. You get 100 people paying $5 for a $500 font its all win/win for everyone.

You can buy that starving artits bullshit if you want to. Fact is, you're all just tools. Make us these fonts, make them good, and if you no longer make them then you no longer matter. Someone else will gladly pick up where you left off. Many of you don't spend months making fonts. Like Richard Kegler, you just scan public domain books and artwork and copyright the digitizations- claiming the glyph designs as your own original works. A day to run scans through scanfont, a day or 2 to adjust the kerning. Maybe another day to poorly re-create the nonexistent characters like the elipses or tilde. Or you could be like Nick Curtis and crap out 3 to 5 sub-par-yet-original typefaces every month.

As for the original poster, all you need to do is Google top 10 torrent trackers. Then search for the font names, then foundry, then designer. You will find a lot of crap. Mostly Lino/mono/itc anti-p2p groups releasing dafont font packages to show you what you can get for free. Ugly fonts, like from Ray Larabie et al( BTW Ray, overexposure? You wish you could create a font half as famous as Helvetica). Don't listen to Nick Cooke either, I torrented his recent additions the other day. Just don't search for 'Fonts'.

Bendy's picture

Where did you get your figures from?

>And then there's me, less than 1% of the above 22% that also releases just to piss Fontographers off


VBM's picture

>Where did you get your figures from?

By associating with a vast majority of colleagues over the past several years. Forums, tracker comments, newsgroups. People talk in community environments. The font piracy community is very small. It ALL comes from the same ~2000 people. And its not about the Weiden Kennedy guy sharing Stainless to his inept designer friend in Norway so he can make extra money.

Don't take my post too hard. Consider it an informative PSA to the Fontographer community. Not all of you are going to make millions sueing a company like NBC for a $100 font.

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