Free fonts are good→free fonts are bad

This is related to a discussion in the hot takes thread. I thought some of you might find my current opinion on free fonts interesting considering my notoriety in the free font realm.

I'm no longer producing new free typefaces and am not including free styles in my new families. I used to use free fonts as a marketing tool. They got attention from young designers or designers without font budgets. Some of that resulted in future sales of non-free fonts and embedding licenses. I don't regret doing that and it worked out great for me. I understand how many of you think this practice was degrading the marketplace and I'm certain it did. There were some good and bad aspects to it. On one hand, it allowed more typeface choices for people who couldn't purchase fonts. On the other hand, it made pay fonts seem less appealing. I understand and accept the disdain they got from established typeface designers in the last quarter century, but that's not why I've stopped.

Free fonts are no longer an effective marketing tool. Most free font releases are ignored. I often see free font releases on Twitter getting almost no retweets. On Reddit, free font announcements receive little response. Distributors have been transitioning away from free fonts. MyFonts went from embracing free fonts in the 2000s to banning unaccompanied free fonts in the 2010s to penalizing visibility of typeface containing free styles in the 2020s. Creative Market doesn't allow free fonts outside of promotions. Fonts.com and FontSpring still allow unaccompanied free fonts but that may not last long. I doubt the younger generation is using Dafont/1001fonts as much as previous generations did. Google has their own free font ecosystem which I refuse to get involved in so I can't speak to whether that scene is worthwhile.

There's a "personal use" free fonts scene that I dislike but maybe someone can tell us why this is a viable tactic or not.

In terms of using free fonts as a marketing tool, apart from closed ecosystems, I'm declaring the free fonts scene dead.
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Comments

  • We can look at free styles within one family, beside marketing point, as something similar to demo fonts, where demo are limited with number of characters while free styles are limited in one or two styles only.

    I'd like to see Google as font vendor one day. That would probably shake things up a bit in any way.
  • JoyceKettererJoyceKetterer Posts: 678
    @Ray Larabie I think what we can learn from the lack of frenzied reply to your post is that, among the folks who frequent the business forum here, free fonts are not especially controversial.  I do like the idea of a hot takes thread though.
  • Alex VisiAlex Visi Posts: 173
    edited April 20
    Free fonts have their place: lower quality, vastly overused and lagging years behind in terms of style, with very few exceptions. Sometimes the pros overweight these cons, other times they don’t; it’s up to the user.

    I don’t see how free fonts can get around those cons in principle, so as long as type designers can offer a better product, the market is fine.
  • James BridgesJames Bridges Posts: 42
    edited April 21
    My opinion about free fonts is from the vantage point of a designer not a typeface designer. I dislike the concept of FREE to use fonts for non-commercial work because its easy to forget where it came from. And then you are ripe for getting litigated against by foundries like YDS from Florida. They probably make most of their income from litigation. I think they offer free versions as a way to entrap people. I like how Fontspring offers DEMOs that are clearly marked. It is hard to screw up when the font says DEMO and is missing glyphs. I think that is the way to do it.
  • Nick CurtisNick Curtis Posts: 118
    Free fonts are an excellent way to learn the art of font-making; my free fonts launched my professional career and, despite the fact that I don't sell my freeware fonts, I still receive several hundred dollars a year from voluntary donations.
  • Ray LarabieRay Larabie Posts: 1,210
    I'm curious about opinions on personal use licensing. I tried it for a few months in the 2000s on Monotype's advice and I was unhappy with the results. Personal use licenses seem to be the primary license scheme for new releases on free font sites. To me, personal use licenses are obnoxious, but I was wondering if anyone had anything positive to say about them.
  • Alex VisiAlex Visi Posts: 173
    I'm curious about opinions on personal use licensing. I tried it for a few months in the 2000s on Monotype's advice and I was unhappy with the results. Personal use licenses seem to be the primary license scheme for new releases on free font sites. To me, personal use licenses are obnoxious, but I was wondering if anyone had anything positive to say about them.
    1. Potential customers get familiar with your fonts by actually using them.
    2. They get the fonts on their computers, so chances they will use it for a commercial project are higher.
    3. They make free ads and spread the word on social media (which is the point of most ‘personal’ projects)
    4. Of course, your font will appear in the search results more often. Yes, it’s a dirty clickbait, but it seems like people are used to it by now: any decent ‘free font’ is free for personal use only.

    The biggest con is of course that your font will end up on every freebies website without proper crediting and license info.
  • edited April 23
    There are some great libre* fonts out there, and there is good work being done on libre fonts. There are fewer and fewer "freeware" fonts (i.e., personal use fonts of seemingly obscure origin), and as you mention, the age of the "demo style" is drawing to an end. Overall, I think it's much better to be sharing the current generation of free fonts as libre on GitHub or whatever, rather than posting by night on Dafont and fading into obscurity.
    As an enticement to buy a commercial font, the free demo maybe is fading into obscurity, though. But these days I think we're seeing fewer and fewer "free for personal use fonts" and more of a bifurcation into being distributed only through the commercial platforms or being a libre font.
    *libre = free and open source, i.e., the user is allowed to modify and redistribute — generally on the condition that the changes be shared under the same license
  • Peter BakerPeter Baker Posts: 129
    But these days I think we're seeing fewer and fewer "free for personal use fonts" and more of a bifurcation into being distributed only through the commercial platforms or being a libre font.
    Unfortunately, many libre fonts are picked up and distributed by commercial sites, which often drop the licensing info or label the fonts confusingly. I just now sampled one such site (font2s.com) nearly at random: it offers several of my libre fonts, sometimes in very old versions (for these sites make no attempt to track new releases), every one of them with the "License" "Free for personal use." They are not, of course, "Free for personal use": they are OFL.
    Users have no way of distinguishing good sites from bad, and that I am not responsible for the presence of my things on sites like font2s. They will be confused about the license terms and possibly afraid to use the fonts in ways that the OFL allows.
    As far as I know, there's nothing I can do about this kind of abuse.
  • edited April 23
    But these days I think we're seeing fewer and fewer "free for personal use fonts" and more of a bifurcation into being distributed only through the commercial platforms or being a libre font.
    Unfortunately, many libre fonts are picked up and distributed by commercial sites, which often drop the licensing info or label the fonts confusingly. I just now sampled one such site (font2s.com) nearly at random: it offers several of my libre fonts, sometimes in very old versions (for these sites make no attempt to track new releases), every one of them with the "License" "Free for personal use." They are not, of course, "Free for personal use": they are OFL.
    Users have no way of distinguishing good sites from bad, and that I am not responsible for the presence of my things on sites like font2s. They will be confused about the license terms and possibly afraid to use the fonts in ways that the OFL allows.
    As far as I know, there's nothing I can do about this kind of abuse.

    Indeed, it's hard to deal with. Of course, many fonts embed a mention of the Open Font License in the metadata — but I imagine few non-fontheads are looking at that (so if you got it from font2s or the like, it'd probably never enter your mind). I guess one's best hope is that by searching for the name of the font you'd arrive directly at the official source, but this doesn't occur in all cases, because the spam sites are SEO operations even more than they are bona fide font websites.
    I'm not sure that this problem is exclusive to libre fonts, though, as I can search up the name of pretty much any commercial font and find a bunch of sites, not that dissimilar from the one to which you just linked, purporting to offer many different commercial fonts as "free for personal use".
    I do think that it is at least a step forward that we can now offer fonts through more reputable sources and that I think there has been at least some uptake — once, sites of this kind were even more predominant in the world of free/"free" fonts, so I don't think we're sliding backwards exactly.
    I do think maybe you could say something about the license notice requirement of the OFL, but I wouldn't know much about that kind of thing and its enforceability.
  • Peter BakerPeter Baker Posts: 129
    edited April 23
    I do think maybe you could say something about the license notice requirement of the OFL, but I wouldn't know much about that kind of thing and its enforceability.
    The license requirements of the OFL:
    2) Original or Modified Versions of the Font Software may be bundled, redistributed and/or sold with any software, provided that each copy contains the above copyright notice and this license. These can be included either as stand-alone text files, human-readable headers or in the appropriate machine-readable metadata fields within text or binary files as long as those fields can be easily viewed by the user.
    5) The Font Software, modified or unmodified, in part or in whole, must be distributed entirely under this license, and must not be distributed under any other license. The requirement for fonts to remain under this license does not apply to any document created using the Font Software.
    So I overstated the case when I said there was nothing I could do about the situation. In theory, I could demand that the fonts be removed from the site, and if this was how I made my living it would surely be worth it. But I don't feel it's a good use of my time to police dozens of fly-by-night websites to enforce the terms of the OFL, and I don't know of an outfit analogous to the Free Software Foundation to help me enforce it.
  • Dave CrosslandDave Crossland Posts: 1,178

    I'd like to see Google as font vendor one day. That would probably shake things up a bit in any way.
    If you mean, there would be fonts on fonts.google.com that you'd need to pay to use as web fonts, then, since Adobe, Monotype and a few small independent foundries who don't use distributors offer web font APIs for their retail fonts, and everyone else offers web fonts for self-hosting, what would the benefit to users/customers be..?
  • Rob BarbaRob Barba Posts: 74
    There's a "personal use" free fonts scene that I dislike but maybe someone can tell us why this is a viable tactic or not.
    Sure, I can do that.  For one, I don't come from the established font scene; I'm a designer and before that, a novelist, artist, etc.  And one of the things I'm involved in is webcomics (in fact, I can attest to using some of your free fonts for spots in one of my older webcomics).

    As a result, I'm very conscious of the need for free fonts for comic letterers, especially in the indie and webcomic/webtoons side of things.  Not everyone is a DC/Marvel/Image/et al. who can buy fonts at will for their letterers; some are guys who rely heavily on, say, Blambot's free fonts for dialogue and effects.

    Having been there, I get that.  I know everyone's not going to be like me, dissatisfied with the variety of fonts and figuring "I can do that!" and thus get into fontmaking; other people may not have that interest or they want to refine other parts of their work.  Thus, I try to make my free fonts available for personal use for that reason.  I get that someone who might want a free font and can't afford Inkslinger (which I'll be using personally for a future revival of one of my old series), but maybe they'll be happy with Red State, Blue State or even VTC Letterer Pro.  And hopefully, down the line, that will translate to future font sales out of goodwill (and it has, to be honest.)

    And it's not just comics.  I recently did (by request of a Reddit user) an "accurate" rendition of an album font and gave it out for free.  I didn't feel it was valid to charge for it (not to mention that it's one of those "sucks on purpose" fonts), but he was happy with it and ended up paying me for a license that wasn't really necessary so he could use it on his fansite.  Likewise, a Youtuber using a free version of a font that I'd expanded into a full pay font (though I kept the original one out there free for personal use) found out that I had an expanded version, ponied up for a license for the updated one.

    So, ultimately, it does work, but it's a long tail sort of thing.

    I should point out, however, that despite the above, I don't disagree with your overall point; my next font is actually going to be a comics-based font and it's going to be a complete pay one, not free.
  • Ray LarabieRay Larabie Posts: 1,210
    edited April 24
    @Rob Barba
    Is it common for comics to be made for personal use—not published, distributed or displayed online?
  • If you mean, there would be fonts on fonts.google.com that you'd need to pay to use as web fonts, then, since Adobe, Monotype and a few small independent foundries who don't use distributors offer web font APIs for their retail fonts, and everyone else offers web fonts for self-hosting, what would the benefit to users/customers be..?
    No. I meant I'd like to see one more big player in font market as vendor and I said that from foundry's perspective, not meant on customers.
  • Rob BarbaRob Barba Posts: 74
    edited April 25
    @Rob Barba
    Is it common for comics to be made for personal use—not published, distributed or displayed online?
    Actually, yes.  In webcomics/webtoon parlance, they're called ashcans (an irony, given the original comic definition).  Meant to help develop skills with pacing, writing, techniques, etc., they rarely see the light of day (our first two stories were actually ashcans; it wasn't until the third one that we started putting them out for the world to see.)

    IMO, this would help fit the definition of personal use, though one could argue "indie use" as well - YMMV.

    (As an amusing follow-on, given where you live, a lot of doujinshi and even professional manga have "ashcan" versions as well; these probably also fit the standard.)
  • Dave CrosslandDave Crossland Posts: 1,178
    If you mean, there would be fonts on fonts.google.com that you'd need to pay to use as web fonts, then, since Adobe, Monotype and a few small independent foundries who don't use distributors offer web font APIs for their retail fonts, and everyone else offers web fonts for self-hosting, what would the benefit to users/customers be..?
    No. I meant I'd like to see one more big player in font market as vendor and I said that from foundry's perspective, not meant on customers.
    Personal opinion only, not the view of my employer, Google:

    So, in this scenario you've proposed, there's a new font distributor in town offered by a tech titan... and it's similar to the recent ILT store, a new redistributor with a few new releases and the back catalogues of the foundries onboarded; but with myfonts-like open foundry onboarding, not invite only; and the main thing it's different is, a lower % revshare to the tech co because this is a side business for them that doesn't even have to break even, but similar prices offered to customers?

    And there's no stated benefit to users/customers; the benefit to foundries is it would be expected to create competitive pressure on other distributors to take a lower cut?

    I don't think this expectation is realistic...

    Since the other distributors aren't exclusive, and just ask that the MSRP they offer customers isn't higher than the MSRP offered elsewhere, and they have all the existing sales volume, then it seems very hard for me for any new distributor to compete on wildly lower MSRPs. I remember the attempt by FontYou to enter the market, and getting foundries to go exclusively with them, was a tough pitch, because they didn't have the volume to make it attractive; but, without exclusive releases, I doubted they would be able to attract traffic.  

    Any new distributor starts with no traffic, but still some launched in the last 10 years and are still going concerns: but a tech titan store light that, doesn't have the curation of ILT, the innovation in licensing of fontstand, the design tool integration of Adobe, the OS integration of the Microsoft Font Store, the market reach of MyFonts, the asset bundling/subscription of Creative Market...

    What's the customer benefit? If there isn't one, I can't see it happening. 

    The MS store is interesting, and maybe the closest to what you've proposed - since the OS integration offers a big addressable customer base. I'm not sure what their onboarding situation is like these days. 
  • John SavardJohn Savard Posts: 987
    But if you are picking up “free fonts” from DaFont, using them for commercial work, and not worrying about the license? Well, yes, there are risks.
    Yes, I think we can agree that font piracy is bad. But that is a separate issue. Are genuine, legitimate free fonts, such as one can get from Google Fonts, a bad thing?
    I'm inclined to say no, since I happen to have a personal web site, and it's hosted in a way that doesn't permit me to run server-side program code. So if I want to use a non-default font, I have no way to meet the license conditions of most commercial fonts.
    But are those fonts snatching bread from the mouths of type designers? There are genuinely libre imitations of Times Roman, Palatino, and Century Schoolbook out there, and presumably these are costing Monotype a few sales. Some of the fonts on Google Fonts even vaguely resemble some typefaces that are currently fashionable. Most of the type designers commenting in this thread, though, seem to agree that this is not, at present, an overly serious problem.
    But not all, and one argument I see advanced is that free fonts devalue fonts in general.
    This argument, at least, I do disagree with. Instead, I think that the rampant nature of font piracy is partly a consequence of the fact that a lot of people don't value typefaces, and find it hard to understand why money ought to be charged for them.
    Since it would take great ignorance not to realize that type designers need to buy groceries to survive like the rest of us, I'm assuming that instead what people who feel this way actually think is that (a) the last typefaces that were any good, or at least, a sufficient selection of typefaces to be all you need, were designed 100 years ago or more, and (b) scanning these typefaces from paper and turning them into font files is something that can be done trivially with cheap software.
    There is an autotrace program available for FontForge, but I wouldn't say that using it is trivial.
    So I think there is a real problem faced by font designers, but free fonts aren't one of the things that is making it much worse.
  • @Dave Crossland

    I feel like you took it a bit personally that I mentioned Google at first but it wasn't my intention at all. Or to relate you between the lines as some sort of provocation etc.

    I made mistake and oversight one obvious thing. Google is already font distributor and it's already in the game. And it offers different model then any other distributor. Final users get exclusive free fonts, while designers get paid for their work (periodically or whatever, I read terms for submitting fonts for Google a long time ago). In that way, both sides should be satisfied: users with free licenses and designers with some sort of compensation.

    My initial sentence was related with resources that Google have to compete with Monotype and the rest, as Google created infrastructure that almost everybody use today, plus it's not a company related to one type of business field only etc while everybody else in font market are focused on fonts mostly or only.
  • Dave CrosslandDave Crossland Posts: 1,178
    edited April 25
    No no not at all, I think this is all very interesting to consider. 

    I just don't understand what the motivation would be for any titan to "compete with Monotype and the rest"; fonts is a zero billion dollar marketplace. They have such lines of businesses and while those can subsidize new lines of businesses, a small one like fonts seems like a distraction as that's never going to balloon. I heard nowadays Apple sells 100,000 iPhones every day, that's the kind of scale of opportunity that I believe any large capital is interested in investing in.

    I think it's only small capital that will invest, the largest being the private equity groups like the one who owns MT now, and the smaller being what I must assume are self-funded efforts that are capitalized off the back of previous type retail sales profits and sweat equity. (It seems to be the base price for type labor is set by the opportunity cost of that talent going off to do something else that's more competitively priced upwards, like building the kind of web2 tech that's needed to stand up a novel font rental service or custom retail store with a future looking model.)

    So, I'm genuinely curious if you or anyone has any suggestions about why a new titan play might happen; I'm out of ideas here, you've sort of nerd sniped me 🤣 (https://xkcd.com/356)

    I agree that G is already in the game ;) Of them all, Amazon seems the most conspicuously absent. I suppose, already, anyone could vend their typefaces in Amazon Marketplace today. Or ebay, Etsy or Craigslist.... But afaik no one does that, because it wouldn't be as competitive as a custom foundry site or an existing distributor with traffic. After so many years, I wonder, will it always be that way, that there's no type specific storefront in the mega marts? Maybe Creative Market was/is the closest, because that's where active purchase intent for type already was.

    For Amazon... Their Kindle serif typeface from DaMa could just as easily be OFL I suppose, since it isn't a directly monetized add on, but part of the costs of doing a billion dollar scale digital publishing business, just like GF. Indeed, I think Kindle devices also include a few other OFL options, I forget, it's been many years since I looked. So.... my guess is that it's unlikely we'll ever see a kindle font store, or any direct vending of 1,000s of fonts from them. I think titans will do OFL fonts. 

    Bezos already left Amazon to try colonizing space. And it seems to me, looping back to the original post on this thread, that indeed freeware fonts are "bad" and dying out, because while they were an effective vehicle for when floppy disks were a frontier, and the new frontiers of space and metaverse will find libre fonts' unrestricted redistribution, by the wildest anarchist cyberpunk or the largest mega corp alike, expanding them like air into every frontier space at maximum warp speed.

    Downloading a zip of a hand selected set of static font files after swiping a credit card to install into a desktop operating system and use in a Desk Top Publishing application, is very back to the future: it's a mimicry of getting a floppy disk in the post after mailing a paper cheque with a tear-out order form from a printed catalog, to use in the same DTP application 30 years earlier.

    Marshall McLuhan explained very well how this mimicry of an old technology is inherent to the rise of all new technology, and the old technology never goes away. In every town I've lived in, big and small, there's somewhere selling tickets to a theatrical show with real actors on stage. But cinema and then TV came along - and the capital flowed that way - starting with recordings of a stage, before Citizen Kane showed how the new technology could be used without mimicry of the old.

    Desktops are old tech. I don't expect "lifestyle" businesses selling desktop licenses will ever go away completely, and there's always going to be this year's Broadway stars, up the street from starry foundries physical studios.

    But the future of "free" fonts is libre fonts, and that future is already here.
  • JoyceKettererJoyceKetterer Posts: 678
    @Dave Crossland My understand is that many do sell font licenses on Etsy and that there is money in it in that it can be a good living wage single source of income.  The people who do sell licenses there "aren't our sort" (read as generally women with less professional training) and it is the worst kind of snobbery for us to forget they exist.  James Edmonson discusses this briefly in the success and failures episode of his podcast.  

    As for the rest of your post...  I noticed immediately that your definition of "Titans" is more rarified than mine.  I would not think of the current owners of Monotypo as "small capital".  I get that they don't have enough money to compete with Google, Facebook, Amazon, ect but I'd have said they were at the lower end of large capital.  Certainly, I'd think they could compete with Etsy, who I think you are treating as a Titan?

    Fonts are weird.  Most of what you say about the current circumstances are certainly inarguable.  But there's a way in which that has and will always seem "wrong".  Fonts are so important to the functioning of society that there just "should" be more money in them.  So, maybe at some point some Titan as you define it will crack that.  Most of their fortunes have been made doing things the rest of us couldn't see, after all.


  • Thomas PhinneyThomas Phinney Posts: 2,289
    But if you are picking up “free fonts” from DaFont, using them for commercial work, and not worrying about the license? Well, yes, there are risks.
    Yes, I think we can agree that font piracy is bad. But that is a separate issue. Are genuine, legitimate free fonts, such as one can get from Google Fonts, a bad thing?
    You have taken my comment out of context and gone off on on a tangent. My point was not about font piracy, but about risks to the users depending on clarity of license. Look again at the preceding paragraph of my post, which answers your question.

    Then also look at the immediately preceding post, which is the one I was responding to.

    Also, if I thought Google Fonts were a Bad Thing, I wouldn’t be making them.
  • John SavardJohn Savard Posts: 987
    Also, if I thought Google Fonts were a Bad Thing, I wouldn’t be making them.

    I thought that whether legitimate free fonts were good or bad was the original topic of this thread, so I'd hardly call returning to that question, even if it wasn't addressed by your post, a tangent.
  • Ray LarabieRay Larabie Posts: 1,210
    edited April 26
    @Dave Crossland
    ...back to the original post on this thread, that indeed freeware fonts are "bad" and dying out...
    The thread title invited general discussion of free fonts but I want to clarify my position. In my initial post I suggested that free fonts are no longer effective as promotion for non-free fonts. Since 2001, that was the reason I created them and it was effective and now it's not. I think there will always be a place for free fonts and plenty of other reasons to create them.
    I just don't understand what the motivation would be for any titan to "compete with Monotype and the rest"; fonts is a zero billion dollar marketplace.
    As I mentioned in the future of fonts thread, I think any significant competition with the current big distributors will be in the form of a font store bundled with a design application for phones and tablets. If a company like Meta created a graphic design app which could be used on phones and probably VR, a font marketplace could materialize. Would the profit this font marketplace produces be insignificant? Certainly, but it would give these design applications an advantage over competing products by avoiding the inevitable stale look (Canva) that comes from a static font catalogue. If these stores were loss leaders and offered designers the highest commissions, they could gain a significant foothold. This is off topic so if you have any ideas about this, I suggest hopping over to that thread.
  • Dave CrosslandDave Crossland Posts: 1,178
    Fonts are so important to the functioning of society that there just "should" be more money in them.
    Joyce, I don't think so, because of 2 things: (1) economic substitution, and ever increasing supply, creating terminally diminishing returns to the marginal typeface development project, and (2) the decisions made in the 80s to make fonts work the way they do, already set the diminishing curve very low to begin with, so trying to add a jump in with DRM is doomed.  

    A lot of things are important to society, but if they can't be done profitably, they don't happen. Affordable housing, for just one example.

    Etsy being more like Creative Market than eBay is a good correction, I appreciate and agree with that, but I don't think it changes my narrative :)

    Ray, I agree freeware fonts as a marketing vehicle is dead, and people making freeware-only releases are trending towards libre instead. But I'm not sure about the platform argument; Google Slides and Figma work on my phone, but don't have stores. The latter allows desktop fonts to be uploaded. And that's the problem I mentioned in this post about DRM; any new platform is under a lot of pressure to allow legacy desktop fonts to "just work". https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/monotype-expands-font-desktop-rights-to-include-cloud-access-for-all-employees-within-organizations-301477599.html etc
  • jeremy tribbyjeremy tribby Posts: 113
    edited April 26
    regarding libre as marketing, this 1996 quote from l. peter deutsch on nimbus sans is still relevant today. prescient RE libre fonts with names like "[foundryname] sans" and so on (all though I suppose that has been a trend forever):
    URW++ Design and Development Incorporated (the successor to the former well-known URW company), was willing to release the fonts with the GPL and the AGFPL because they judged (correctly in my opinion) that these particular fonts have become such a commodity item, with such low profit margins, that the value to URW++ of having URW++’s name widely visible and appreciated on the net is now greater than the loss of profit from those future sales that the free licenses will cause not to occur.
  • John SavardJohn Savard Posts: 987
    edited April 26
    Fonts are so important to the functioning of society that there just "should" be more money in them.

    What is it about typefaces that makes them important?
    It certainly is true that written language is very important to the functioning of society. The invention of printing and movable type were very important to the functioning of society.
    But suppose that the only typeface we had available was Comic Sans. (Or, if that's too much of a nightmare, why not take something more historically plausible, and use Caslon as our example?)
    Wouldn't it still be possible to put signs on our roads and books in our libraries?
    The main economic role of new typefaces is in advertising. There's a lot of money in advertising, but surely it is very marginal to the  functioning of society.
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