New column: Ask Indra

I’m trying to help with type questions as much as time allows me – via email, on typophile or elsewhere. So why not share some on here too?

“When licensing fonts do you usually buy a whole family, or just select weights? I’m thinking especially in the case of some ••• supermegadeluxx families, I just can never afford to buy the whole family, yet normally my preference is to, thus I don’t buy those huge families but smaller ones.”

I hardly ever get whole families. First because of price, yes, but also because I never need so many styles. Sometimes so vast a choice rather confuses me than helps selecting fonts. It’s also kind of a great exercise for typographers to try get by with as few styles as possible, at least that’s what I love to challenge me with. In the case of ••• it’s also super customer friendly because you get reduction in price per total number of fonts in a purchase, regardless from which family (see my blog post from last Dezember for details). So the price of a single font drops from 40 to 30 $ pretty fast.

Start with a number you can afford, carefully pick styles and see how far you get with those. You can always come back and buy additional fonts later. Also, there are so many ways to emphasize or distinguish in typography apart from changing the weight or style, plus you can combine fonts too of course. So my advice is: get some 2–4 styles of a timeless workhorse (e.g. Miller, Starling, Amplitude, Benton, Titling, Salvo) and add some spice with an occasional display style or wacky font.


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