Building a "good" font collection

unstructure's picture

I'm a Graphic Design student at MassArt in my sophomore year and I've been going through my font collection and I find it to be very low quality. I have quite a lot of professional fonts and such, but I'm looking for some lesser known quality fonts to add to my collection. There were a few that I thought were nice such as Akkurat & Whitman, but can anyone suggest some others or at least point in the direction of a site that can help?

Also how to most of you build your font collections, since I know I would go broke purchasing all the fonts I would love to have. Do you "trade" with different designers? I know that's probably pretty frowned upon, but I'm just a poor art student so purchasing fonts for $180 is a bit out of my price range. It would be a choice between food and fonts at those prices.

Thanks in advance for any help you guys can give.

Nick Shinn's picture

"Trading" is ripping off. It's endemic for software, and people usually justify it (if they bother) on the grounds that it's just some exploitative multi-national who's the victim, so stick it to the man. But the man has already given you the "professional" fonts you are dissatisfied with, so from here on, if you pirate fonts, you'll be ripping off designer-run foundries that don't make a stellar income off fonts.

Does a graphic designer actually need a font collection? When I was an art director (pre-digital), I would choose a new typeface every time I started work on a new campaign (unless there was already a corporate face). Either way, the type was billed as part of the job.

For a student, what are your expenses for working on a project? I would suggest that purchasing a new font is a reasonable expense (and you can be more canny than spending $180, learn how to stretch your budget and just buy the 3 or four fonts (not typefaces) that will do the job: "economy of means" certainly fits with Games' credo "maximum meaning, minimum means".

I don't know about MassArt, but there may be licensing problems with using your own fonts on college/school computers.

William Berkson's picture

I believe other founderies may have deals for students also.

unstructure's picture

NICK: Thanks I will think about building in buying typefaces per project basis. Most of my budget for school goes into printing, books, and other art supplies since I take many other classes that aren't digital. I'm talking more about building a nice collection of fonts one by one, not a massive 3000 font all in one collection. I also only design on my computer at home and don't work in the labs so that is a non-issue.

WARNER: Thanks will look through that now.

WILLIAM: Already have that, thank you. :-)

armin's picture

Veer also has a student program:

aluminum's picture

I prefer to collect my fonts by hunting them in the wild and then mounting them above my fireplace.

Chris Rugen's picture

I know how you feel, Keegan. At school there were always a few students that had extensive pirated discs with great and less-common fonts.

Now that I'm out a working, mine is slowly building from three sources:

1. Fonts that come with design apps (mainly Adobe) or publications (like Building Letters)

2. Free fonts

3. Fonts per project

I've only ever bought two font families without a specific purpose (and paying client) or as part of something else, and they were pretty cheap ($95 and $75).

antiphrasis's picture


I'm in the same boat as you. I'm slowly building up my font collection... and I think this is a better way too instead of getting thousands of quality fonts illegally and then not having anything to look forward to. You enjoy the fonts more if you don't get new ones too often. You wouldn't want to eat chocolate mousse every day, would you? (I had some really good mousse today, mmm).

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