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August 08, 2005



Unfortunately, there isn't a master font list, or anything like that. Although there are some bigger font design houses, and Adobe does have some fonts (I believe) that come with Adobe Type Manager, the only real constant font lists are the ones that are built into Operating systems. Per the norm, Microsoft dictates the standards. By packaging certain fonts into the Windows OS, they become the norm.

Also, fonts dont really come with Photoshop, but rather fonts from your machine are just pulled into Photoshop the same way that they are pulled into Word, or Outlook, or any other place that can render them.

There are gazillions of free fonts out there, and even the commercial ones can be had for free (or renamed knock-offs), if you look in the right places.

If you need to identify a font, I suggest Identifont, or WhatTheFont...not perfect, but can help you identify fonts when in a pinch.



Thanks for the link!

"The amount of cash that companies pay for newly designed fonts is astounding."

Well, I don't know about that. Josh's latest Freight family was seven years in the making. Can you imagine spending seven years of your life on something? That's an awful lot of time. Freight isn't a custom font so it's not quite the same comparison, but a lot of work goes into it if it's a *good font*: custom or retail.

I sure hope Andrew isn't suggesting piracy with this tidbit:

"even the commercial ones can be had for free (or renamed knock-offs), if you look in the right places."

I guess that hits close to home. :(

Peter Caputa

I can imagine spending that much time (or close to it) to build something. I can't imagine paying someone to do it, though. That's why it is astounding to me. I am not saying that it isn't deserved. Just saying, I don't value fonts enough to spend more than few bucks on them. Of course, I am not the editor of Vogue (or some other high fashion magazine), either.


Sooz...this is in no way slighting the work of Josh or other designers...but I guess I have a hard time seeing the value in some of the high priced, commercial, and custom fonts. Unless you are a major company with some big bucks to drop on a font to use in a primarily font based logo, it is a hard sell. Shelling out $200-$1000 on a font is difficult to justify when there are millions of alternatives (some knockoffs, and some just similar) that can be had for free. Often times, the differences in the leaning and kearning and stems and ascenders are so slight, and can be so easily tweaked in Photoshop or Illustrator, that again...hard sell on the super pricy custom fonts.

I have a lot of respect for those that can create, and for artists in general. But I also have an acute understanding of how supply and demand can have a pull on the market for fonts and anything else. I just dont see the font business as a very lucrative one long term. There are too many similar, and cheaper alternatives.


I think some of your comments are generalities, alas. For example, Freight currently has 60 families associates with it. That's a *lot* of fonts for the money. (It's available in individual sets and then as a complete family, too.)

As far as endorsing piracy because a font can be expensive: personally, if I can't afford something, I don't buy it. Also, there is a difference between custom and retail. Most people/companies would never have a need for a custom font.

I'm not trying to get into any sort of argument I just hate to see missinformation spread.

Peter Caputa


I apologize if I have belittled what Joshua does by comparing it to my lowly font needs. Obviously, Josh is at the top of his game. I guess if someone compared WhizSpark to a home grown rinky dinky RSVP gathering tool, I'd be a bit upset too. But, maybe I'd just realize that what I am selling is overkill for them at this stage in the game. And that they aren't my customers. I hope some day I could afford to spend cash on a cool font. That just isn't today.

Anyways, the site looks great. And I am still fascinated by the business.



Sooz, Saying that I am "endorsing piracy" is a wee bit of as stretch here. Let's be real and not get off track. My point is simple, and doesn't "endorse piracy because a font is expensive". I am saying that there may be differences between something that Josh (for example) creates, and something that a local student creates, that are so undetectable to the general public, that it is extraordinarily difficult to justify the cost associated with a custom font.

Pointing out that there are knockoffs as well as similar, cheaper, alternatives, doesn't make me Johnny Piracy Advocate, it makes me 97% of the general population, and a designer who has a hard enough time turning a profit as it is, nevermind shelling out boku bucks for a font I don't need.

Fonts arent like photos, or writing, or logos, where copyright and privacy are very cut and dry. A freebie font which is similar to a commercial font is not necessarily pirated, unless it is marketed using the same name as the commercial font and/or represented as being something that it is not.

Finding a Futura alternative, instead of using Futura is kind of like going for the CVS brand deoderant instead of the Right-Guard. You can't tell the difference, both are legit, and one is just a flat-out better value.

To sum it up in one simple line. Commercial fonts are over-priced.


For what it's worth Andrew, you're still mixing up information. A custom font is not the same as a retail font. Students do not generally do custom work. Sorry I can't be more clear about this. I've still got a lot to learn about the industry, too.

Peter Caputa

Whoa you two.

I think we can all agree on a few things.

1. Font design is an industry. They generrally create CUSTOM fonts for big time publishers that pay a decent amount of money for them. The money is justified based on the time put into it.

2. For the work Andrew and I do, we can usually use a standard *free* Retail font.

3. Although ripoff fonts are available, Andrew doesn't advocate their use.

4. Joshua's work is impressive.

I didn't mean to set off WWIII here.

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