How much to spend on fonts per year

Don McCahill's picture

This one is for the graphic designers in the crowd, as opposed to the type designers (who would have a totally different answer, I think).

How much money should an independent graphic designer, working alone or in a small group (two or three), budget each year for font purchases? Five percent? For a solo act doing $100,000 a year gross, that is $5000. That should be enough to keep the library current.

What do others think or do?

paulstonier's picture

That sounds like a good number. That wouldn't buy everything worth having, but would get you quite well set up.

aluminum's picture

There's no rule of thumb here. It's entirely dependent on the type of work one does. Typefaces are really applicable to the individual project more so than the overall business. Buy what you need.

riccard0's picture

Buy what you need.

Seconded! And the cost should go directly on the client bill.

russellm's picture


I spec fonts and make my suppliers buy 'em


Don McCahill's picture

Am I missing something here?

So designers buy a basic set of fonts when they start (I assume you don't start with nothing and only acquire faces as you get initial jobs). Then they only buy fonts when needed for a job, and have the customer pay. Does that mean you are spec'ing fonts that you have never used before? What do you go on to spec the font then ... just the samples from the typehouse, or some other more detailed process?

aluminum's picture

We're tradesmen. We buy the tools we need for the job at hand. Over the years, we collect a large set of tools.

It's nice to have a beginner set of tools, but unless you know exactly what you are fixing/building, you're just guessing at what you need.

Keep in mind that a lot of the 'basic sets' are collected through indirect faces, all the bundled fonts with Adobe products, system faces, etc.

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