FontLab Student Pricing?

Hi guys!!

So I'm a graphic design student and a huge fan of type, and for some time, I've been wanting to splurge and buy FontLab. I'm doing a directed study course on type design next semester, so I felt it was time. Thus, I went on the website to find the student pricing.... and found that the only option was for a year license. Honestly, I can't justify paying $119 for what basically amounts to a rental!!

So, I thought I'd ask you guys- do you know anywhere that offers the full FontLab academic pricing for STUDENTS? All the websites I've looked at, only offer the academic pricing for colleges and faculty.

I have a personal policy of never pirating software- however, I can't help but feel, if there isn't a student pricing option out there, that FontLab is encouraging it! Honestly- what student can afford FontLab at full price?!

Jens Kutilek's picture

Does it have to be FontLab? (50% off with no time limit) (1 year free student licence)

dberlow's picture

Fontlab now also offers a new improved TypeTool, I'm told which is < $100US.

sergepaulus's picture

For my students I use TypeTool (30 euros for academic version). No vectorisation, no class kerning but anything else...

altsan's picture

Not quite 'anything' else... no hinting/instructions either (other than auto-hinting, and some minor control over per-character Type 1 stem hints), no optical sizing or scaling transformations, no other OT features like stylistic alternates. But it is excellent value for money, and you can upgrade to the full FontLab later for a roughly equivalent discount.

I still use TT for almost everything. I've decided it's about time to get FL but I, too, wanted to wait and see if there was some kind of academic pricing (I'm planning on going in for grad school soon).

I admit I don't understand this 'rental' concept. Shouldn't paying installments at least get you a discount on the eventual purchase? But I can't find any indication of that on FL's website. I mean, if I pay over $200 to use FontLab for two years as a student, and then decide to buy the whole thing later, does that previously-paid amount count for nothing? Because otherwise I'll end up paying a lot more than I would if I'd just bought it at the start...

joonal's picture

Fontlab used to offer a 45% discount for students but they changed the license policy earlier this year for some reason. Being unaware of this upcoming change I had just purchased the software with discount four days before they made the announcement...

twardoch's picture


you say "Honestly, I can't justify paying $119 for what basically amounts to a rental!". Most educational licenses are like that (not just FontLab's). A "student license" typically means that you can use the software as long as you're a student. When you graduate, you should upgrade to a full commercial license.


At Fontlab Ltd., we changed our student pricing policy for several reasons. There are many more font editing and type design applications on the market today than there were a few years ago. If you're studying to become a type designer, you may likely need several applications, e.g. FontLab Studio, RoboFont, Metrics Machine and Glyphs. Therefore, we felt that a much lower entry price for students for our applications would allow them to use their budget more reasonably. On the other hand, if you don't study a full type design course but rather need a font editor for a type design class within a graphic design course, you'll most likely need the application for less than a year. Also, we found that quite a few students purchased a student license and continued to use it after they finished studying without upgrading to the full license.

That's we switched to a model for annual licensing. So Fontlab Ltd. currently offers one-year student licenses at US$119 for FontLab Studio 5, US$79 for Fontographer 5 and US$23 for TypeTool 3.

After your one year licensing period expires, you can renew your license for another year. Also, at any time you can upgrade to the full license by *just paying the difference*. If you keep paying for the annual licenses, after 5.5 years your license will be converted into a full license anyway. Therefore, you'll *never pay more than the full price*. (I now realize that this is not really clearly stated in the information on our web page, so we'll add this clarification.)

Previously, a student license for FontLab Studio used to cost US$357. Now the same price gets you a three-year license. So the new model certainly has advantages and disadvantages: if you study shorter than for three years, the new model clearly is better; if you study longer than for three years, then indeed the older model was better. However, we felt that the advantages of the new model outweighs the disadvantages, especially since it offers a very attractive "entry pricing". If you just want some simple font-related work done for a semester project, then $23 for a one-year TypeTool license really is very affordable.

Hope this helps!

Best regards,
Adam Twardoch
Fontlab Ltd.

altsan's picture

Thank you for the explanation. The website was indeed not very clear before, so the clarification is much appreciated. It does in fact seem like a sensible policy, now the ambiguity is ironed out.

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