commercial font starter pack?

kennymcnett's picture

I'm fresh out of college and starting out into the freelance design world. Is there some resource for getting some sort of essential typeface starter pack? I'm looking for solid typefaces for multiple occasions, something that might act as a base for my type library. Of course, I'm on a limited budget, but I'm realizing that the free font sites out there don't offer the sort of "nuts and bolts" essential typefaces I need.

Any thoughts? How can I get my type library essentials without breaking my [tiny] bank?


Stephen Coles's picture

There are many options from $150.00-$30,000.00, ranging in quality and quantity. What is your budget?

BradB's picture

I think Adobe CS comes with a few fonts, but I'm not sure.

Some people recommend establishing about ten good workhorse fonts for everyday use. You could start by picking two or three from each category, choosing a "formal" and "informal" typeface from each of these categories: sans-serif, serif, display, script.

You most certainly will want robust type families, so look for families with lots of weights. It'll cost more up front, but you'll be glad you did.

Or you can try these sites to get started: -

Miguel Sousa's picture

(One of the links above is broken. Here's the live one:)

poms's picture

I would say, buy from project to project.
My first family i bought was Frutiger in 2001, why – because of a project where Frutiger was the corporate type.

With Adobe Creative Suite CS 1 you get Myriad Pro, Minion Pro, Garamond Pro and Jenson Pro, as far as i remember.

kennymcnett's picture

True, some fonts came with my CS2, but I'd like to be able to step outside of those just a fraction. That's a great link to adobe's collections, thanks! Their "opentype basics" seems like a good starting place with a breadth of choice.

Is there a better option out there? Maybe somebody knows of a similar sort of font pack in the same price range ($100-$200)?

Thanks again.

Miss Tiffany's picture

For that amount you would be better served licensing a really good family of typefaces. In addition you could license something more along the lines of a display family and allow the Adobe fonts to work in conjunction.

aluminum's picture

I started a page on the Wiki a while back for this topic, though nothing much has been added:

I'll add the Adobe link to it...

smarks's picture

I'll second the recommendation for Adobe Type Basics, OpenType Edition. There's a lot of overlap with the fonts that came with CS2, but you still get a few additional complete families. For instance, Basics includes the Palatino Std 1 package, but Basics is the same price as Palatino Std 1: $99. Go figure. With Basics you get more families and also a smattering of display and novelty fonts.

Another somewhat cheesy route to take is to find a used copy of Corel Draw or the Corel graphics suite. Corel bundles, or at least used to bundle, some version of the complete Bitstream font catalog. This contains about 1,200 fonts, including many digitized versions of classic text fonts such as Plantin, Bembo, Sabon, Granjon, a couple Garamonds, Univers, Electra, Caledonia, Melior, Frutiger, Cheltenham, a few Bookmans, a few Bodonis, etc.

The Bitstream catalog is a much better collection than the "1,000 font for $5" CDs which are just freeware fonts pressed onto a CD. However, compared to top-notch Adobe fonts, these old Bitstream fonts aren't quite as nice since they often do not include small caps or old-style figures. I think the bundle included both Type1 and TrueType versions of each font. You can still use these fonts on a Mac if you have a font manager. (I use FontAgent Pro.) I don't know about Windows.

Or you can buy the current CorelDRAW Graphics Suite X3 which apparently has an upgraded type catalog -- it offers 1,000 OpenType fonts. I don't have any experience with this though. See

It's US$379. Heck, maybe you should consider buying the software just for the font collection.

jupiterboy's picture

Look at what CS2 has that is really good, and build out from there.

You might consider Storm, as the price is really good and you get Walbaum, Baskerville, and Jannon.

Foutain also has a nice deal.

Don McCahill's picture

Can you still buy from your college store? If so, the Adobe typefaces for Education package is a great deal. You have to be a student to get this one, though.

kennymcnett's picture

Thanks for your help, everybody. I really appreciate it. Sounds like a good idea to set up a few workhorse fonts and branch out from there. CS2 comes with a few and I've picked up a couple of others I've liked along the way. I'm looking into the packages you've suggested as well; I think they'll help me out. Also, that Corel Draw trick is a nice catch I might explore.

Thanks again!

Jason Walcott's picture

Might I also suggest checking out Unifonts. They have some really gorgeous stuff over there and they offer a starter pack for a reasonable price. You can check them out here:

And of course, you can't go wrong with Jukebox fonts over at Veer! ;^)

**Shameless Plug Alert!**
**Shameless Plug Alert!**

Best of luck to you in your budding career!!

Stephen Coles's picture

Thanks for introducing me to Unifonts, Jason. Some interesting stuff in there. Are they new? Their About section mentions no names. Why so secretive? Wish their samples were a bit larger. They strike me as coming from the film type world (the letter styles and tight spacing), not quite yet comfortable in their WWW skin.

aluminum's picture

Anyone have a definitive list of the bundled fonts with Corel Draw and CS2?

Jason...interesting link. Anyone else want to weigh in on Unifonts before I add it to the wiki? A lot of the typefaces in the packs seem to lean a bit more towards the novelty realm.

Jason Walcott's picture

Stephen-I am sounds like fewer people know about Unifonts than I had thought. Honestly I can't even remember how I found them, but I have known about them for several years now so they are not new. Some of their typefaces are geared more toward display, but from what I can tell they are all original...I don't think any of them came from old photolettering. There type designs are somewhat unique. They have some nice serif and sans-serif faces that can offer someone a fresher alternative to the standard workhorses. The catalog is worth having. It's pretty straight forward in it's layout, but the samples are easier to see than on the website.

Jason Walcott's picture

Their type designs are somewhat unique. Sorry!

metalfoot's picture

Cheaper again than Corel Draw is Wordperfect X3 which also comes with the 1000 OT fonts; though these seem to be little changed from the TT collection found in previous versions of WP. Although, if you're a student, CorelDraw is ridiculously cheap, like $100.

blank's picture

Here's a list of the Corel draw fonts. It's a pretty killer deal for newbie designers.

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