Free fonts vs paid fonts

Free fonts versus paid fonts

It’s important to get the font right for your graphic design – it can really make or break the look of your site. Many computers offer a host of free typography but sometimes these just aren’t good enough. Often, it’s best if your brand has a unique look that’s completely suited to your company, and often this can’t be found within the standard computer font list.

There are lots of other font alternatives out there though – both free and paid for. But which is the best option? It can be a little overwhelming to choose but we’ve broken down the benefits and disadvantages of both styles so you are informed enough to make the best decision for your brand.

Paid fonts

If your client has the budget, then sometimes it might be best to choose a commercial font to work with. Some of the best websites to check for paid typefaces are Myfonts, Fonts.com and Font Spring.

Purchasing fonts often means your design will be more original. Here are some other benefits:

  • The quality of paid for fonts tend to be higher
  • Often you can purchase a font set which will include the font weights and big glyph sets 
  • If you need the font in multiple languages, buying the font will normally enable you to do this
  • Purchasing fonts often helps you to support the artists who created them
  • By buying the font you know you won’t be restricted by any copyright
  • Often the paid for fonts have been tested across different browsers and therefore you can be guaranteed they work 

But paid for fonts aren’t all rainbows and sunshine. There are some disadvantages. These include:

  • The fact the fonts cost money
  • Payment sometimes depends on the traffic that comes to your site or how much you want to print using the font
  • Finicky terms and conditions – make sure you read the fine print before purchasing any fonts
  • Sometimes spacing and kerning is cheaper with free fonts than with paid ones

Free fonts

If you don’t have the cash to spare for fonts, do not despair as you can get a whole host of fonts for free, which are also good quality. Some popular free font sites include Dafont and Font Squirrel.

If you're just starting out with using unique fonts, free fonts can be the way to go as they will enable you to test the font against the rest of your website’s design. However, in the long term, it might be better to purchase a font for the final website design.

Here are some advantages of free fonts:

  • They don’t cost anything
  • They allow you to test out designs without any cost involved
  • You can easily search font libraries full of fonts without any fees
  • You can use free fonts to get inspiration

There are some disadvantages of using free fonts though. These include:

  • Often only one weight of the font is given away for nothing
  • Sometimes with free fonts you don’t get kerning or multi-language characters
  • Some fonts might have been copied from licensed fonts and this could be dangerous with copyright. You don’t want to fall into the trap of using a font illegally
  • Sometimes you can’t find the right free font to match your brand

And there you have it – the differences between free and paid for fonts. Need to learn more? Is it a font or a typeface? If you want some more help with your branding and design, contact iFactory.

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