FREE VERSUS PAY FONTS
THE GOOD, BAD, AND UGLY
Freeware vs. commercial fonts: I am one of the biggest fans of free fonts you'll ever meet. I very much appreciate people doing things just for the love of it, then sharing their joy with us common people.
That said...There are a few freeware font designers who won't disappoint, but for the most part, *If* I were a professional designer, I would use pay fonts more often. Especially if they were a tax write-off (now there's a dangerous thought).
I wouldn't like the surprise of laying out something, then noticing that the spacing is wacky, and having to find something else that fits, or hand-kerning. For small amounts of text this isn't much of an issue, but who wants to kern a whole page.
Warning: I have bought many fonts, and been surprised to find that some of the pay fonts, are of no better quality than the *average* freeware font. Many of them are lacking full character sets and having horrible spacing problems. So I support the try before you buy concept, in theory. Certain companies like Adobe and ITC can usually be relied upon to have good quality.
Note: I have found most commercial font designers will fix problems with their fonts if you point it out. Some will even give an extra font or two for your trouble. One who seemed surprised that anyone would want a full character set, even offered to fill out the international characters just for little ol' me.
As with any group of people that might be lumped together in a heading, the font-maker club contains some really big jerks, but also some really wonderful people.
I am a big fan of MyFonts.com: Their arrangement allows independent fontmakers to make more money for their work, while still having some of the best pricing around.
Q: Who are my favorite commercial font-makers?
A: The ones that also gave us many quality free fonts, like Graham Meade (a recent entry to the commercial group), Nate Piekos of Blambot, Jakob Fischer (aka PizzaDude), Harold Lohner, Nick Curtis, etc.
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