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Is there a list of ALL commercially available fonts? Ideally, this list indexed by font name, foundry, font CDN (i.e., Typekit or Google Fonts) and type of license.

With >5K fonts now in circulation, it's gotten very difficult to know what's expected from the use of a given font.

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This might be a good starting point ... "A complete list of commercial, freeware and shareware foundries" –  dodgy_coder Oct 24 '13 at 2:21
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6 Answers 6

The Precision Type Font Reference Guide version 5.0 published in 1995 listed 13,000+ fonts --- even at that time, there were estimated to be over 20,000 designs.

There hasn't been a single comprehensive list of all type designs since shortly after Gutenberg.

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While a good idea on paper (riffing off of @WillAdams answer), there is little practicality or feasibility in compiling such a list, especially since licenses will change over time. Between Adobe and Monotype, there are at least 20k currently in circulation, and then there are the uncounted boutique type foundries pushing out new designs to consider.

Given that scale and scope of fonts available, if you do wish to use a particular font, going to the creator's site and researching the license yourself would be best.

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Also most of the fonts are clones, see Arial, Microsoft's version of Helvitica, Myriad, and Myriad Pro, and so forth. Also a-lot of fonts are just not quality fonts. –  Daniel Jun 18 at 18:46
    
Arial is not “Microsoft's version of Helvitica (sic)”, nor of Helvetica and Myriad is quite a different design. Arial stands in for Helvetica ’cause IBM bid out a clone when they first did their laserprinters, Monotype responded by re-working one of their old designs and it was named Sonora Sans. Much later, Microsoft was sued by Linotype for trademark infringement, so when they needed scalable fonts for Windows 3.1 selected Monotype which still had the design. –  WillAdams Jun 30 at 17:07
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No, there is no master list.

(la la la, a few extra characters to make answer valid...)

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I don't think there can ever be a master list considering fonts are being released every day, but Typedia is trying. Identifont has a pretty decent list too.

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If you have an iOS device, FontBook is a fun app. From their site:

If typography were a religion, this would be the Bible. FontBook is the world’s most comprehensive typographic reference tool, documenting the libraries of over 130 international type foundries who publish the works of more than 1,660 type designers. FontBook App covers nearly 37,000 typefaces from 8,000+ font families.

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It's now been 8 months since I posed the question, and I've spent a lot of time evaluating various answers here (as well as suggestions posed in other places). I'm confident saying that there was a "best" answer here based on an 8 month project. Indeed, on the basis of a vast amount of empirical data collected, there is a right answer here, which is Spiral's, and there are also some wrong answers.

I asked about the existence of a list of all commercially available fonts. Thank you,, Spiral, for pointing out Typedia and Identifont. Over the past 8 months I've programmatically encountered 3,753 different named fonts, found across > 5,200,000 web pages on the public Internet. As it happens, I was able to find all but 7 of these fonts listed on Typedia. These three fonts turned out to be created and owned by individuals who were not making them publicly available.

On the basis of this empirical data, I'm comfortable saying that, for all practical purposes, a comprehensive list of all commercially available fonts does in fact exist in the form of the crowd-sourced Typedia site. The idea that there are significant numbers of unlisted commercially available fonts floating around the Internet, which I myself had previously believed, is now urban legend. If a font designer wants to make a font commercially available, it stands to reason that he will take the small effort required to list it at no charge on sites like Typedia or Ideafont. And if that designer chooses not to, then another individual will see the opportunity to gain social capital by listing it for him.

This is not to say that there is not a vast array of special-purpose or limited edition fonts in existence, but only that these are not "commercially available".

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I don't think this is entirely true. Typedia is great, but by no means any sort of official central repository. Point being, a lot of commercial typefaces are out there that aren't listed in Typedia. A quick look through the foundry listings finds a lot of fonts listed, but many of the foundries have many more listed on their site than are listed on Typedia. So, I'd say Typedia is an 'honorable effort' but by no means exhaustive. –  DA01 Jun 18 at 17:44
    
Also, there's a few foundries that aren't listed on their site at all. –  DA01 Jun 18 at 17:46
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