How to build a font library on a budget

I set myself the task of building a small font library on a budget. Here’s what I picked, but before that, a few points on how I got started:

1. Buying on budget is not about buying cheap though that is of course important, it’s about buying workhorses that you can use on many projects while you build up your font repertoire.

2. I chose to go with main coverage of styles with a focus on branding work: geometric sans, grotesque, humanist, serif, script, and handwriting fonts. Of these I didn’t always pick the same weights so as to give myself some options.

3. I stayed away from quirky typefaces. Those can be great, but they are harder to use and you’d need to have more of them around. Those I would file under aspirational purchases rather than necessities, for those who are still starting out.

4. My calculations are based on the 50% off sale that is running this week and for the smallest desktop license. I tried to stick to a grand total of $250 or less!

Now let’s get to the fonts! I like evenly spaced rhythms that draw you in, and well-drawn curves that flow smoothly. If you were to drive along the curved outlines of the letters, there should be no bumps in the road. So, drum rolls please… here is my selection:

Nexa: Book, Bold and Black

Nexa is nicely drawn, well-spaced, and has a vibe that says “use me for branding.” It’s also more personable than your typical geometrics sans. The Book weight felt more stylish than the regular. The Black weight would work really well in headlines.

Price: $14.50 / font
Subtotal: $43.50

Museo Sans Display: Light and Black

You can’t go wrong with Museo Sans and the Display version is just so beautiful, it’s begging to be put to good use. The Light and Black of Museo Sans Display are so elegant, they can even combine with other families nicely.

Price: $8.25 / font (amazing deal!)
Subtotal $16.50

TheSans: SemiLight, SemiBold, and ExtraBold

TheSans is a masterpiece of design and is so well made you really cannot go wrong with this one. The weights I chose here are different from Nexa’s so it gives me more flexibility when I would need to choose between the two.

Price: $29.50 / font (not the cheapest fonts but worth the investment)
Subtotal: $88.50

Palast Text: Regular, Italic, Bold + Palast Display: Black

If you follow us on socials you’ll have probably seen the Palast ampersand. We never get tired of showcasing it! It’s not easy picking just one serif family, and I tried to find a family where text looks good, and it also has a wow factor in large sizes. Palast Display has that in spades!

Price: $20 / font
Subtotal: $80

Reina Neue Black Italic ($4.50)

This is a typeface that is so beautiful, all you have to do is just let it speak. Expressive, dynamic, elegant, bold… What more can I say? Reina is Spanish for queen and this one is made to rule them all.

Spring Herbs ($7.50) & Bourton Hand Script Bold ($5)

For this genre I went with a fun and bouncy design (Spring Herbs) and a more structured one that falls in between handwriting and script fonts (Bourton Hand Script). Handwriting fonts are all about the voice they bring and the personality they project, so it’s good to aim for a variety of flavor.

My shopping cart ends up at exactly $245.50 for a total of 13 fonts. Now, if you think 13 is an unlucky number, you can add to your cart one of the many FREE fonts that our partner foundries have decided to gift to you. Happy shopping!

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