How many fonts are there?

Dave CrosslandDave Crossland Posts: 793
edited December 2015 in Type Business
I noticed today that MyFonts' search accepts the "*" regular expression, http://www.myfonts.com/search/*/fonts/

This offers a view at the size of the type design community. Obviously not every family and foundry is on MyFonts, but I think this offers good ball parks:

31,164 32,000 font families

23,383 24,000 font families available as web fonts

3,892 4,000 individual type designers

1,915 2000 professional font foundries

Does this sounds about right? 

Also, I seem to recall that MyFonts used to list font files, not font families, but I can no longer manage to see that kind of information.... I see "55,000 fonts" mentioned across the web, but I wonder how many font files have actually been released... Any other (better?) ways to gauge that, and such things? :) 

* I offer the current exact numbers returned on the search page, struck out

Comments

  • Dave CrosslandDave Crossland Posts: 793
    edited December 2015
    Would just like to point out that “How many fonts are there?” is hardly the same question as “How many fonts does MyFonts sell?”
    Sure, but how to estimate that number? 

    Would you agree that MyFonts presents a reasonable ballpark? :)
  • Uh, no? Unless I don’t understand what ballpark means. I mean, I’d be curious how large the percentage is of fonts sold on MyFonts vs all fonts, but I’m pretty sure it’s not anywhere near 100%. A reasonable ballpark is when you start adding that up with the offerings of all the other foundries that aren’t on MyFonts. And then there are questions of what to include. Do you count things on sites like Creative Market? Scrapbooking sites? DaFont? Google? :) Bit more involved than running one query, admittedly.
  • Stephen ColesStephen Coles Posts: 709
    edited December 2015
    MyFonts isn’t a bad way to start – it’s certainly the largest collection of commercial fonts. But estimating beyond that is arduous and imprecise work. What constitutes a font or family, for example? There are multiple legitimate definitions which could account for optical sizes, alternate variants, and versions of the same family from multiple foundries. How about a foundry? That’s easier to define, but despite a strict criteria it still wasn’t easy to draw a clear line for Duru’s census.

    As long as we’re ballparking, I’ll guess that there are another 3,000 families in the retail market that are not available at MyFonts. (There are roughly 500 on Fontstand, for instance, most of which are not on MF.) Maybe there are 200–300 additional foundries.

    BTW, this is Western world, only.
  • Erwin DenissenErwin Denissen Posts: 89
    edited December 2015

    Would you agree that MyFonts presents a reasonable ballpark? :)
    With more than 500,000 generated fonts, YourFonts has the world's largest collection of fonts. Of course these fonts are not shared as they are protected by the privacy policy, but that's still an impressive number of fonts!


  • @Erwin Denissen I’m assuming that Dave was considering commercial or retail fonts. If we open it up to freebies, private, and custom fonts, the numbers are staggering and incalculable.
  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 1,172
    Last month? Too bloody many.
  • One one hand, no everyone is in Myfonts. On the other hand, they also count a lot of death people and defunct foundries, so that may compensate a little bit for one another.
  • I'm not sure what the question is, but yes: A myfonts face count is close enough to a ballpark figure for all the fonts in the commercial world, if you say so. 
  • If we open it up to freebies, private, and custom fonts, the numbers are staggering and incalculable.

    Whatfontis.com puts the number at 306,729 (as of today anyway). Their list includes typefaces that can be found on Myfonts, Fonts.com, House Industries, Letterheadfonts.com, Creative Market, Dafont, etc., etc. Staggering indeed. Incalculable? Maybe not.

  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 1,150
    Yes, but how many football fields (or swimming pools) would they fill, or stacked end to end how many times around the world?


  • ... including the storage media, or just the naughts and ones?
  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 1,150
    I suspect that all the fonts in the world have less bytes than one 3D movie.
  • Dave CrosslandDave Crossland Posts: 793
    edited December 2015
    Talking with Luc Devroye at AtypI he told me that he has about 500.000 fonts in his catalogue. He uploads 40 fonts every day! 

    That total of font files seems improbably high to me, if the upper limit on total Latin families is 40,000; I guess it includes all the dafont and similar font files which are useless, and likely Type1/OTF/TTF duplicates.

    I think the average number of fonts per family is about 4, since there are so many single style families, and only 4 are 'traditionally' accessible in the 80s/90s rich text model. So probably there are 160k font styles, and if they are duplicated Type 1, CFF and TTF, then that's about 550k :) 

    I've made some calculations about myfonts last year, I've found that more than 3.500 fonts are sold every day at MyFonts (june)...

    I like to distinguish between fonts and families :) 

    What do you suppose the average price per family is?

     and about 7 new fonts every day (june).

    7 x 365 = 2,555 a year, x 15 years (MyFonts started in 2000) = 38,325 total. That seems inline with the 32k that the myfonts search tool reports.

  • D. Epar tedD. Epar ted Posts: 706
    edited December 2015
    "That total of font files seems improbably high to me"

    Sorry you don't like it. I think it speaks of an under-nourished appreciation for the extensive reach of fonts in the world. But I can rephrase the question until your number fits — how many fonts could possible replaced by libre fonts, 32,456 font files.

    How's that?


  • Talking with Luc Devroye at AtypI he told me that he has about 500.000 fonts in his catalogue. He uploads 40 fonts every day! 

    That total of font files seems improbably high to me, if the upper limit on total Latin families is 40,000; I guess it includes all the dafont and similar font files which are useless, and likely Type1/OTF/TTF duplicates.

    I think the average number of fonts per family is about 4, since there are so many single style families, and only 4 are 'traditionally' accessible in the 80s/90s rich text model. So probably there are 160k font styles, and if they are duplicated Type 1, CFF and TTF, then that's about 550k :) 

    I don’t know … I think that the ration of 4 fonts to 1 family is too low. My numbers might be a little fuzzy, but from 2004–2008, I did a lot of data entry for Linotype … adding fonts into the database, sorting, fixing errors, etc. Before Linotype was acquired by Monotype, I believe that Linotype.com had about 1000 font families, and about 6000 font styles. Of course there were even more font files, because of multiple formats (Win PS, Mac PS, Win TT, Mac TT, OT CFF Std, OT CFF Pro, OT TTF Std, OT TTF Pro … ).

    So, back then at least, the ration of fonts in a family was more like 6 to 1, on average. Some fonts had only one style, some had four, others had 51, and even one or two Adobe faces had over 100.
  • John said,
    Whatfontis.com puts the number at 306,729 (as of today anyway)
    and Dan said,
    So, back then at least, the ration of fonts in a family was more like 6 to 1, on average. Some fonts had only one style, some had four, others had 51, and even one or two Adobe faces had over 100. 
    Interesting!

    I think this estimate is best done with median averages, not mean averages, so the tiny number of 'superfamilies' doesn't skew things.

    I think the median Linotype collection family surely has more styles per family than the median MyFonts upload from 2010 to 2012 or so, which I assume to be text families made by and for professional designers (eg using FontLab, for agency designers) compared to single-style-family display fonts made by and for semi-professionals (eg using TypeTool, for scrapbookers)

    But perhaps with Glyphs and Superpolator making interpolation more convenient and popular, the trend in the last few years is towards many more styles in text families than in the past. 

    So, working back from John's total of 300,000 styles, and assuming 6 styles per family, that's 50,000 families total. If that's accurate and there are 32,000 on MyFonts, that suggests the 'cloud hanging over everybody' is not as big as was suggested at ATypI...
  • edited December 2015
    You’re regular Type Scene Investigators!

  • Dave, I'm not following. Are you trying to equate the size of Monotype’s influence to the number of fonts on MyFonts?
  • Sure. What metrics do you propose? 
  • If I understand correctly, what Dave may have been alluding to is that Linotype/Monotype fonts are of a higher degree of probability to belong in larger families than those on MyFonts.  There are plenty of single fonts and 4 or less variations in MyFonts.  I would also say that the FontFont segment is also more likely to have large families than small.
  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 1,150
    One of my typefaces, Richler, has only 2 weights, in roman and italic, plus a roman Highlight. 5 styles.

    But there are 4 variants of each style by encoding (Latin, Greek, Cyrillic and Pan-European). And 2 of each of those: Normal and Pro (OpenType features).
    Then there are the different formats available: OTF, TTF and 4 webfont: WOFF, TTF, EOT, SVG.

    So 5 styles becomes 240 fonts.

    That was a productizing experiment I won’t again attempt, normally I don’t break things down, and it would be only 5 styles × 6 formats = 30 fonts.

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