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I'm just reading The Non-Designer's Design Book by Robin Williams and am very impressed how on almost every page, Ms. Williams seems to "pull out" some beautiful typeface which I've never heard of. (I'm not a design professional.) This has got me wondering:

Where do professional designers find their typefaces? Are there books you can buy with nothing but type samples? Are there certain websites which are commonly used by "the pros"?

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See also the question Visual typeface search tool for what we (I presume: or at least, I) would do to look for typefaces, if such a thing existed and worked well... –  user568458 Feb 13 '13 at 19:05

5 Answers 5

up vote 18 down vote accepted

While this is primarily a list of sites, know that browsing a website is not the only way to look for typefaces. Some type foundries still publish specimen catalogs, and some now have mobile apps and Adobe plugins. Many will also have e-mail newsletters to update on new things.

FontShop - A great collection of fonts including all of the FontFont collection. They have a plugin to help you browse while you work and their now-digital FontBook is a really extensive thing.

Emigre - One of the pioneers of digital typography, but they've continued to make quality type. You might recognize Mrs Eaves from the WordPress logo. You can also get their catalogs for just a couple of bucks.

House Industries - Prolific, cool, unique. They have some great fonts. They distribute their well-designed catalogs for free. They also run a website called Photo-Lettering where you can buy typeset headlines at a low flat price if you don't want to pay the full price for a font you'll only use once.

Sudtipos - Their stuff is available on MyFonts, but sometimes it's nice to browse straight from the foundry. They tend to make really high-quality, script-y, hand-lettered-looking stuff.

Hoefler & Frere Jones

Chank - Mostly quirky display faces.

Process Type

Font Bros - Specializing in Retro faces

Lost Type Co-Op - a foundry releasing on a 'pay-what-you-want' pricing model. One of the few places to get a really nice set of curated faces for very little money (free, if you want). The drawback, however, is their stuff tends to be over-used.

Adobe - one of the grandfathers of the type foundries.

Okay Type Foundry



Fontsquirrel - great free webfont packages with the actual different vector versions. Also has a tool to generate webfonts from your own ttf fonts.

Google Webfonts - massive selection of CDN hosted fonts that you can also download for desktop use

Typekit - commercial webfont provider

I encourage others to edit this post and add additional links if something has been missed. But please try and refrain from specific, opinion-based, typeface recommendations. This should be a list if where a user can find typefaces, not what specific fonts you feel are better than others.

I don't think there's any typeface "commonly used by professionals." Every designer has their own preferred typefaces. And many designers simply use what's on their system and rarely, if ever, purchase additional fonts unless they are forced to.

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Just FYI, Letterheadfonts has a rocky history. Some info: –  DA01 Feb 13 '13 at 18:51
And MyFonts is a great place these days. They sell type from many, many foundries and their newsletter is a great way to see what's new out there. –  DA01 Feb 13 '13 at 18:52
@DA01 Sorry, that post at Typophile is completely contrary to my experience. I notice that's a 2007 post. Perhaps they've changed things. I download and install fonts from the same way I do from There's absolutely no difference and I've purchased dozens of fonts from both sites. –  Scott Feb 13 '13 at 18:58
I'll just chip in and mention - it has all of the FontFonts plus other stuff. –  Brendan Feb 13 '13 at 19:39
Possibly :) I just remember 99% of what's there from more than 15 years ago :) Not that old type is bad type. And House does shoot for a "dated" aspect in many fonts. My point was, check that since once a decade and you've seen all they have to offer. –  Scott Feb 15 '13 at 14:50

Not exactly an answer on "where to go to find fonts", Scott has mentioned the best places to do that, but in my experience it's great to also start from history.

A good book on typography (one of my favorites and excellent if you are new to the subject is Just my Type by Simon Garfield) can give you a solid foundation on how typefaces have been developing since they were first created / used.

Every font choice has a reason behind it, it tells a story or at transmits something. This is what opened my eyes to the amazing art of typography, so I guess I'm a font-history advocate :)

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You can find free resource from this website and choose by category you prefer, hope it helps!

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Professional designers don't go to dafont all that often. I wouldn't exactly call dafont's offerings 'quality' most of the time. –  DA01 Feb 14 '13 at 17:25
There are a few diamonds in the rough though! –  Matt Rockwell Feb 15 '13 at 14:28
define the very least, dafont offers a cornucopia of reference/inspiration material. [the rest of this comment was edited because it received flags as offensive] –  albert May 1 '14 at 6:45

For good quality fonts you might want to search for Font Foundry on whatever your favorite search engine is and then look at some of the current foundries around. One nice one is Lost Type Foundry. Generally a font foundry is going to be much higher quality then a lot of the other sites that just have thousands of fonts from anyone that got their hands on the required software.

Another suggestion is to look up articles on top fonts on sites like Smashing Magazine or Six Revisions.

I'm not familiar with any books that just have fonts but there are font CDs, most notably is Adobe Fontfolio which I believe is now in version 11.

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If you are a business or if you have a legal department; using free fonts is a good way to open your company to a lawsuit since open source basically makes you liable for anyone who ripped it off.

Just go with a professional grade library like

I wouldn't take a free computer off the street from someone if my company needed a cheaper way to run

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Do you have any source for this rather huge claim of liability? –  KMSTR Sep 28 at 15:19

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