in need of: INEXPENSIVE typeface (of good quality) for TEXT and DISPLAY

halloran's picture


I am doing a magazine re-design and have been looking for a typeface family on a budget.

The typefaces I have looked into are:

- Farnham
- Whitman
- Chaparral
- PF Centro Serif

Can anyone suggest an ALTERNATIVE typeface family (of similar nature to the above listed) that is available in a PRO version (of at least 4-5 fonts including regular, bold, italic and small caps) that sells for under $50?

This also may not be possible... but one must hope.

T H A N K S !

- Jaz

Frode Bo Helland's picture

What do you mean by Pro?

Dolly by Underware is one of the few text faces out there that also happens to be an amazing display face. All those details come to life at big sizes, and the bold is really playful — almost childish. It’s less than $50 per font.

Frode Bo Helland's picture

Six weights of Silica by Sumner Stone is only $39 for the whole package. That’s pretty hard to beat. Unfortunately there’s no italic, and none of the stuff needed for professional typography.

See also his ITC Bodoni 72 + 12 for $78. (Induvidual fonts @ $19 each.)

type.nasos's picture

i think he meant $50 for the entire family,
i can't recall any families at this budget.
Why not Adobe Fonts then? (Considering you have the suite)

Frode Bo Helland's picture

I realize I’m calling these alternatives to those listed is streching it a bit, but you’re asking for a lot if you only have $50.

.00's picture

Yo Jaz, how much are you charging for the redesign? Less than $50 for a font family, really?

I think you should look into getting better clients.

halloran's picture


This is pro bono work, for a non-profit arts client, so the price needs to be kept to a minimum.

frode frank -- thanks very much for your help!

@type.nasos What do you mean by: "Considering you have the suite"?

I would definitely be interested in an Adobe font, if it was a family of at least 3 fonts including small caps, text figures etc (for approx $50 CDN)

I definitely welcome more suggestions!

Thanks very much for all comments!


halloran's picture

Does anyone know anything about Calluna?

I want to see some reviews...!

Frode Bo Helland's picture

You’re not really in a position to ask for quality with an empty wallet. Nasos was talking about Adobe Creative Suite (Indesign, Illustrator, Photoshop ++) and the bundled fonts that come with it. Some of them are very good, but might not be the thing to set your magazine apart since everybody else have them. The same goes for Calluna. I personally think the treatment of fonts matters even more than the fonts themselves, but that’s me.

halloran's picture


frode frank

That's exactly what I need to hear! ("the treatment of fonts matters even more than...")

Yes. That's just it. But, I was unaware that ANY fonts bundled with software came with expert features such as small caps, old style figures etc.

I don't mind using one of these "bundled" fonts (and letting the "treatement" uphold a strong design) but need to know which ones are bundled. (yes... I can "google" it... I suppose...)

In response, I do believe I am still in a position to ASK for quality with an empty wallet. (I am after all DONATING my own design skills – of high quality – to the cause I am working for). That being said, I PREFER to purchase the typefaces I use for this project.



Frode Bo Helland's picture

If it’s for a really good cause and you know why you want some particular typeface, perhaps you should try contacting the type designer and/or foundry selling the typeface directly. They might give you a nice offer.

And yes: Google it!

Nick Shinn's picture

My Paradigm Standard family is $59 for seven fonts.
It has no OpenType features, but the figures are proportional old style.
If you use the Light weight for text, then you can use the Regular for small caps.

In fact, if you don't have small caps in a font, it is possible to make them by using the "fake" small cap feature in InDesign, and adding a minute stroke value, plus a tad extra tracking (and maybe even a bit of horizontal scaling). I used to do that all the time in the days when the only digital fonts with small caps were Adobe Garamond and Scala.

halloran's picture


frode frank : thank you. That is a good suggestion, and I fancied doing that myself.
(possibly some sort of sponsorship deal could work...)

Nick Shinn : Thank you! I feel like the act of creating small caps on my own is something I would need a bit of time to tinker with, in order to trust it. But nonetheless, I will consider it an option.

Take care everyone... also, I did manage to find the system fonts bundled with CS2:

or click here for direct download:

just click on the "view as PDF" button to the right side... (info is on page 22 and 23 of the pdf...)

Nick Shinn's picture

I feel like the act of creating small caps on my own is something I would need a bit of time to tinker with, in order to trust it.

Don't be such a wus. If you can't stretch your legs doing pro bono work for an arts client... you might as well use Helvetica.

Thomas Phinney's picture

The canonical Adobe CS2 font list can be found here:

Many of those families include small caps, old style figures and other goodies. Notably, for purposes of this discussion, those include:

Adobe Caslon Pro
Adobe Garamond Pro
Minion Pro
Chaparral Pro

(So does Garamond Premier Pro, if they got it as a reg incentive. You can't still collect on those reg incentives today for old versions of CS apps, I don't think.)



Queneau's picture

I think a font your looking for at under 50 bucks is unrealistic. You could have a look though at the Photina Expert Volume over at, which sells for only € 46,- (without tax). This has oldstyle figeres and fractions and smallcaps, but no lining figures. And they are all in seperate fonts, no Open Type. You might find some inexpensive fonts at but they usually don't have the pro features you are looking for. You can get the Dante family + smallcaps for under 25 dollar.

You could try contacting Sumner Stone, he has use based licensing for several of his typefaces like Cycles and Magma. This might be a priceworthy option.

You could also see this as an investment that will pay back in the long run and buy something you could use over a long stretch of time.

Tim.Donaldson's picture

Why not have a look at Betatype's serif:

akaczun's picture

You usually get what you pay for.

But, try 'fonspring' for some great free fonts and check out some really good new design releases.

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