Ask Nubby #1: The Best Typography Resources

Question:
What are your favorite sources for fonts? I’m a total font junkie who’s always on the hunt for new ones to add to my collection.

There are so many resources for typography these days! Should you pay or go the free route? Do the free sites offer the same quality?



Great for a quick project or for those who are on a budget, these sites will give you instant gratification, but free isn’t always better. Sometimes, you can inadvertently make your computer sick in the process.

I’ve found some gems that I use constantly, but the quality can vary widely. Sometimes characters are missing (even numerals and basic punctuation), inconsistent kerning is common and alternate weights may not be available.

1. Dafont is my favorite free site; there’s an endless supply of guilty pleasures including extensive Dingbats and Holiday sections, but don’t go too crazy with the decorative options or you’ll resemble a secretary on a rampage!

2. Most of Smashing Magazine’s 40 Excellent Free Fonts for Professional Design are really nice but Anivers is my favorite.

3. If you can get past the jarring layout, Font Foundry has some great options.

4. Outlaw Design Blog’s 63 Must-Have Grunge Fonts are perfect for all your smudgy, messy needs!



These sites charge for their wares because their options are painstakingly crafted, are of a professional grade (no pesky viruses) and can contain glyphs into the hundreds.

According to Thinking with Type:

Tens of thousands of digital typefaces are available for use on desktop computers. Most of them are junk.

In other words, typography is like most other things in this world. Often, you get what you pay for.

1. Veer offers an amazing selection of hip, neatly categorized typography. I’ve purchased a handful of typefaces from Veer and once paid for, the they can be downloaded instantly. They also offer a student discout program that allows you to save 30% on typefaces and their innovative catalogs can now be downloaded as PDFs.

2. Typography.com is a foundry specializing in a selection of classy, refined options that are easy on the eyes and timeless.

3. House Industries is loaded with rad typefaces, but if you can’t afford their wares, score their (free) catalog here. Their Neutra typeface looks especially tasty:





1. Affair: Retro and classic, I could imagine using this on hand printed invitations.

2. Archer: Specially designed for Martha Stewart Living, their exclusive license has ended and the endless variations included make it super versatile.

3. Pilo: Super retro and perfect for your next rollerskating party!





1. I Love Typography is the gold standard of typography blogs (and their layout is beautiful):

2. Why not create your very own typeface with Fontstruct?

3. A brief overview of typewriter typefaces! So sooo cool.

4. The Elements of Typographic Style by Robert Bringhurst: often called the ‘Typographer’s Bible,’ this book is thick, wordy, poetic, beautifully laid out. Heavy reading; no image-laden pages here! I keep my trusty copy close by:

5. A Bold Use of Blackletter.

6. Marian Bantjes does some of the best hand-drawn typography around (she’s responsible for the iconic Saks Fifth Avenue “Want It!” campaign):

7. Typographica is a journal of typography featuring news, observations, and open commentary on fonts and typographic design.

8. They’re Not Fonts! is a spirited discussion (over five years of comments!) about the author’s take on fonts vs. typefaces over at AIGA.



In closing, I Love Typography reminds you:

Good typefaces are designed for a good purpose, but not even the very best types are suited to every situation. A new typeface is something like a newborn baby (though it doesn’t throw-up on you): don’t drop it, squeeze it too hard, hold it upside-down; in other words, don’t abuse it, treat it respectfully, carefully.

Also! Please send all typography-laden objects my way! Do your part to feed my addiction:





Do you have any favorite typography-related resources you’d like to share?
I’d like to build up a collection of useful links in the comments!




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