Reasons Why I Purchase Commercial Fonts
For me, fonts/typefaces are the most important part of what I do, the most crucial ingredient. The fonts from structure, they are the framework, they set the mood and they go along way to speak the message. Without the right font, logos in particular, designs can crash, limp along or just vanish without a trace.
Choose the right font and the design will light up brightly, it will speak confidently and convey the intended message and usually a lot more.
Within a logo design, the font creates the personality, the only decision you have to make is whether the personality is strong and confident, or weak and shy.
The Free Font Conundrum
When starting out, locating fonts can be tricky. They cost money, and some fonts are incredibly costly to buy. Thankfully there is an ever growing library of free fonts, fonts for every possible occasion. But be warned. They are free for a reason. They are not something you should rely on indefinitely for many reasons.
The main one is the quality issue. There are huge differences within the way free fonts are constructed, some worse than others. However, there is a tendency for newer free fonts to be of a much higher quality if you source them from reputable foundries.
The other issue is that being free, they are widely used. For me, a logo needs to be as unique as possible given the brief and the circumstances. Using a readily available free font can instantly turn your logo into just another logo used with 'that' free font, and they are usually easily recognizable as free fonts. This can leave your logo with a bitter taste in the mouth.
Use these free fonts wisely. Try not to rely on them for quality work. Your client is paying you money to provide them with a unique identity, don't cheapen the logo by always using free fonts.
This is not to say you shouldn't NEVER use them. Im just asking you to just put a little more thought into each project. For sure, I still use some free fonts for some projects. Often, there is a perfectly suitable font that I can use.
Build up your font library slowly
From the beginning, when I first started earning money, buying fonts with the proceeds was my first priority. I realised how important good solid font choices can be to the success of your project and even you as a designer. With every new paid job, I would buy a new font. Usually from one of the many very cool, yet very reasonably priced font foundrys, like www.t26.com I still buy many fonts from here, they have a great selection and the prices are very reasonable. I tried to anticipate what style of font would be most useful for me, given previous designs.
It's a great feeling to be able to use a new commercial font, that you have paid for yourself. It's addictive. It's not like the gut wrenching feeling of having to buy new software, buying fonts is so much more personal. And they are a soild investment.
The trick is to keep this mentally of investing in new logos after a completion of a new job. Before time, you will have a decent selection of useful and commercial fonts at your disposal. Initially, buy fonts that are going to be useful, not overlay eccentric or unique, fonts that are adaptable. Buying the font family means you will have a number of weights to mix and match on other logo designs.
You owe it to your client to supply them the best you can do. If you are getting paid 'good money', then you have no real excuse to cheat them out of a good quality font.
If a new project comes in that is high profile and well paid, the first thing I will do is look for new commercial fonts. Even if I have a suitable one in my library, I will I owe it to them to provide them with something 'special'. To use a font I for one have never used before. This does give you a great sense of positive 'karma'.
JoomlaBamboo Font Choice
An example of this in practice, one of my recent logos, 'Joomlabamboo' needed a font that summed up bamboo without being cliché. My search took me all over, and I spent ages looking through font lists, until I saw 'Dipose'. This is from one of my other favourite font foundries, called TypeTrust. Gorgeous selection of very reasonably priced fonts.
To me it was a perfect fit. I purchased this font immediately and used it on my first logo draft. The result is what you see below. There were a number of fonts I could have used from my library, but I felt this logo warranted something special.
Dispose perfectly sums up the feeling and emotion of 'bamboo', its hard to explain, but it's a gut feeling I guess. It just works.
I will be writing about the logo design process for JoomlaBamboo very soon.
As I said previously, fonts are a solid investment and should not be regarded as a neccessary evil. The only evil aspect can be the very high price of some fonts from some foundrys. There is a new font I am desperate to own, it's so freakn gorgeous, but the entire family costs well over £1000. The trick here will be to buy just a few weights for around £50 each and see how useful the font can be, rather than look at the whole family as a whole.
But you are paying for quality and uniqueness. In time, once you are well established, have a solid portfolio behind you, have regular projects, you will find yourself spending more and more on fonts.
Trust me. You will.
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