Font statistics

epiktet's picture


I feel like this must have popped up on this forum somewhere but can't seem to find anything. I'm interested in statistics on font use on the internet/computer. Things like how many fonts the average user has on their machine, how many different ones are used on websites (now that this is possible) and so on. Can anyone point me to reasonably reputable source/article? (I'm actually trying to create my own font - - but I'm also interested in the broader issue of typography on the web.)

Thank you very much,

oldnick's picture

Find the number of computers in use and multiply by…what? A hundred? Two hundred? I have 439 font families installed on my Grandpa Box, and over 800 other fonts—most of them my designs—that I haven't installed. Where’s the Happy Medium?

Chris Dean's picture

For what purpose are you conducting this research?

Remember, when asking a forum for help be sure to cite it properly in your references lest you get accused of plagiarism. According to APA 6.0 the proper way to do this is:

Dean, C. (2012, October 31). Re: Thread title (Online forum comment). Retrieved from http://url of the thread

In this case, replace my name and date with the time and person who answered your question.

rs_donsata's picture

Probably most computers have only bundled operative system and MS Office fonts installed. If you are interested in statistics regarding designers it would be more interesting to know the average font ownership (which I'm sure has been increasing every year since the late 90's) rather than the number of installed fonts because most designers use font management sofware to activate only the fonts in use by their current projects.

epiktet's picture

Thanks for the comments. It's true, every computer comes with a variety of fonts, but how many is the question. Also, some (designers/enthusiasts) have more than others, so what is the average. And how might this have changed over the past 10+ years? I'm interested in creating an infographic on font use in the digital world for a class I'm taking. I'm more focused on the general public, not just designers. I'm looking for pointers towards actual studies/articles on this topic so I don't think I would be citing from a forum post.

Thanks for your help,

Karl Stange's picture

A resource like this, detailing the fonts common to both Windows and Mac operating systems would be a good place to start. The Wikipedia lists for Windows and Mac system fonts are also useful.

Ralf Herrmann produced a fantastic infographic on outline font formats which can be found here.

Chris Dean's picture

@Karl: Thanks for the information. A bit of advice; to make things easier for other members, instead of writing with ambiguous hyperlinks such as this and here try to use more descriptive language so the reader knows where the link is going to take them before they click on it. Using ambiguous words such as “here” require the reader to read before and after the hyperlinked word in order to know where they are going.

Instead try writing with links like this:

“A resource detailing fonts common to both Windows and Macintosh would be a good place to start.”


“Ralf Hermann produced a fantastic infographic on outline font formats.”

Also notice, I did not hyperlink the punctuation on the second example. Another good practice as it contains no information relevant to the hyperlink.

The Mac and Window’s hyperlinks are also quite misleading, which is a shame as they are very useful. I would have written:

See also:
Wikipedia’s list of Microsoft Windows fonts and Wikipedia’s list of typefaces included with Mac OS X.

Notice I matched the wording of the the hyperlink with the title of the Wikipedia page reinforcing in the readers mind that they have landed in the correct place.

Takes a bit more work, but I like to think that comments with as much useful content such as yours are certainly worth the extra attention.

oldnick's picture

What has changed in the last 10+ years is the explosion of the number of fonts—of greater or lesser quality—which are available to the professional and professing-to-be-professional design community, as well as to just plain folks…

Karl Stange's picture

Chris, my post made it clear what anyone interested would be linking to. If you wish to reformat my posts please feel free to do so applying whatever standards you see fit but making it clear that they are your standards, not mine.

Karl Stange's picture

Jacob should have listed that site as number 1.

Karl Stange's picture

Chris, do you now have the ability to delete your posts?

Chris Dean's picture

Actually I picked them up from Jakob Nielsen and many other sources.

Té Rowan's picture

@Karl – @Chris's link style is the recommended one for accessibility and usability. I do not use a speaking browser, but there are both blind and seeing that do.

Té Rowan's picture

Huh? A double-post? Suppose that gremlin was gunna zap me sooner or later...

Karl Stange's picture

Thank you Reynir, I will bear that in mind.

HVB's picture

@Karl - another reason to use more descriptive text in the links is that after a year or two, many, if not MOST of the cited links in Typophile are dead. A more detailed description might allow future searchers to find contemporary equivalent pages or documents.

- Herb

Karl Stange's picture

Herb, thank you. Something else for me to be mindful of.

Chris, I reacted so strongly to your post because you seem to cite this as some kind of user violation code and in a manner and tone (granted, it is difficult to judge from text alone) that seemed condescending, which I do not respond well to from people I do not know. I think you would be better placed (just my opinion) posting these things in the general forum guidelines and referring to them rather than correcting users who are being helpful without further contributing to the thread. I am also curious as to why you deleted your initial response and then posted a new one rather than editing it?

I would like to think that in general my posts are clear, concise and quite mindful of these guidelines but I have my own distinct style of writing and find getting my point across comes second to best web etiquette, though I would like to think, never at the expense of other users or in a manner that would be considered "trollish" or rude. I will try and be more mindful in future.

Chris Dean's picture

@Karl: Not to worry, I meant no condescension. It’s often hard to detect tone of voice in a post.

My deletion was an accidental edit in one of two windows while we were both writing.

Placing guidelines such as this in the FAQ’s and guidelines and then using a link is actually a good Idea. I’ll look into the logistics of that.

And I learned something the other day (but you probably already know this one ;)

Be yourself; don't ask others to be yourself.”
~ Papazian, H. (2012)

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