Why would a designer want to purchase a typeface instead of using free ones?

This isn’t just a nagging question. It’s to help designers (such as myself) to understand the importance of paid for fonts.

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This question is mainly based on my curiosity to why we should pay for fonts (not meaning we should get them for free) when there are a vast number of adequate fonts out there on the interwebs!

I understand that the fonts you have to pay for are (usually) very high quality but I’d rather use a free font from lets say, FontSquirrel that to me, looks just as good as most of the paid for fonts out there, instead of paying £30-50 for just one font family, and sometimes that’s not even all styles (bold, italic, etc), just the original font.

I’m probably being narrow-minded (I hope) and I have never really had the need to buy a font so I was wondering apart from owning the license to use a font or to support the font creator, is there any other reason to actually use purchased fonts?


To scoop up all suggestions in the comments and add my own reasons, here goes:


Paid fonts are higher in quality, on average than free ones. Remember that saying: ‘Pay peanuts, and you get monkeys’? It applies to fonts as well. Paid fonts most probably have more features than free ones, just like most other software. Examples are

  • lowercase;
  • glyphs like €, æ, å, ç, ß, Ł et al;
  • proportional small caps;
  • lowercase numbers;
  • a decent kerning table;
  • ligatures;
  • the availability of many different styles and weights.

Also, as user568458 mentions, there’s probably more experience worked into a paid font than a free one—experience in creating legible and readable type. It will be subtle or even invisble, but the differences are there.


We all make stuff, and some of us even do so for a living. Wouldn’t be great if we could actually make that living? If I see something I really like and want to use it, I’d like the creator to know and I’d like to support them. The easiest way is to buy their product.

Permanency & security

If I buy a license for a font, I can use that font practically forever. I also know that if I lost the font file (say, my computer bricked), I could re-download it from the foundry and play on.

I’m also somewhat surer that the font is legit, that it’s not some kind of rip-off font that is based just a bit too much on an existing, commercial one and is liable to create legal problems because of that. Of course, I’m never 100% sure, but getting an expensive font from one of the big foundries gives a lot more security than a cheap or free one from a backwater site.

Source : Link , Question Author : SaturnsEye , Answer Author : Escendrix

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