Will Future Fonts change the way we buy typefaces?

A new site has launched that offers exciting new opportunities for type designers and buyers, and could revolutionise the way we buy and sell fonts. Future Fonts is a marketplace for work-in-progress fonts, where you can buy workable early versions of the newest typefaces for bargain prices.

The long – and therefore expensive – process of designing a full typeface makes it an unsustainable venture for many creatives. And the (justifiably) high prices of the resulting work can put off prospective customers – especially when there are so many great free fonts around. In short, the industry is due a shake-up. 

The software industry adopted a similar approach years ago, and there's no reason why it couldn't work equally well for type design. Here are four reasons the Future Fonts model could be the best thing that's happened to the type industry for a while.

01. Access to the newest fonts

All the typefaces on Future Fonts are still being developed, which means they're just about the freshest typefaces around– and they won't have been used in a million ads or branding campaigns already. 

As well as helping graphic designers stay ahead of the curve when it comes to typography trends, there are benefits for type designers too. Only the best ideas will attract attention and customers, so this is a great way to see early on if there's a market for your design.

02. Buy in early for discounts (and free updates)

Often, to get exactly what you want, you need to shell out – and the best typefaces don't come cheap. With Future Fonts, the price of a typeface goes up with each updated release. 

If you spot a typeface you like, you can purchase it for an early bird price, then get free updates as they're released. If you have a good eye for fonts, this is a win-win way to keep your designs fresh without devaluing the creative process.

03. Help fund the design process

As any type designer will know, the process of designing a fully functional typeface is a long and arduous one. This new model effectively means customers can help fund typographers by purchasing their work earlier on in the design process. 

A more sustainable process lowers the barriers to entry into the type design industry, so more budding designers can get involved. And that's a good thing for everyone. 

04. Collaborative approach to design

Future Fonts promises to make type design a more collaborative effort. It's an online community space for type designers and fans, where experts can share their expertise by commenting on other works in progress. 

Although the site doesn't require type designers to finish every project, the moral and financial support provided by this approach aims to help type designers on their way over the finish line.

If you're intrigued, you can find out more in this Medium post.

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Ruth Hamilton

Ruth spent a couple of years as Deputy Editor of Creative Bloq, and has also either worked on or written for almost all of the site's former and current print titles, from Computer Arts to ImagineFX. She now spends her days reviewing mattresses and hiking boots as the Outdoors and Wellness editor at T3.com, but continues to write about design on a freelance basis in her spare time.