Choosing from Plenty

A Monday morning 7:30 am contemplation about fonts: I think, for the past two or three years, we (finally) see a shift towards choosing a fitting typeface from all offers out there, and not just the fonts we have already licensed previously. The latter was the prevailing situation in analog type days and whenever we had to work with typesetting studios or printers before PDFs. But it was also common in digital desktop publishing for a long time that you would use what you have rather than getting a new typeface for every job (because, amortization, familiarity, etc.).

My stance has changed when I started working more with fonts on the web, or more specifically, renting them from services. No point in licensing those in advance and then using them for everything for years (you can do that with self-hosting webfonts and one-time licenses though). Similar with all the rentable desktop fonts available now. Think what you want about the trend towards renting — incremental licensing vs. one-off licensing — but I’d be happy if we see more variety and more fittingly chosen typefaces this way. Of course, font renting models are not guaranteeing the perfect type decisions, maybe they even promote clumsy choices by people who don’t yet have a good grasp of how-to. But at least they don’t foster the lazy use of much seen staples because of cost, when the cost relates to time, and not just the number of typefaces.

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