What is the best platform for the distribution of free fonts ?

For a long time I have used DeviantArt for the distribution of my free fonts but recently DeviantArt has introduced changes to it's website.  It is moving to a new design for the website called 'Eclipse' which makes the wesite more like a mobile phone interface, it is really awful but it is now the default, you have to switch to the old website.  They justify this by saying that most people who use DeviantArt do so from a mobile phone or tablet.
For the moment the old website is still available but when 'Eclipse' is fully complete the old website may not be available and all customisation features of the website are not going to be accessible on a free account, only for those who pay a monthly subscription (so called Core members).
For a long time I have thought that DeviantArt although good is not the ideal platform for distribution fo free fonts, it is an art website, it is not the first choice for those people looking for a free font.
On DeviantArt my Kelvinch font only has about 800 downloads and Munson only has about 250 but on FontSquirrel Kelvinch has over 20,000 downloads and Munson has about 14,000.  I cannot control what appears on Font Squirrel, the owner of the site is the person who decides what to put up.
Of course my free fonts have appeared on many free font websites, Munson and Kelvinch have even appeared on a Russian website which only seems to have fonts which cover Cyrillic.  I cannot understand this website because it is in Russian.
I thought of GitHub but that also is not the first choice for anyone looking for a free font.
What I am looking for is a replacement for DeviantArt but perhaps a little more font oriented than art oriented.
Does anyone know of a good site ?

Comments

  • George ThomasGeorge Thomas Posts: 508
    Have you looked at dafont.com?
  • Peter BakerPeter Baker Posts: 72
    I've parked some things at Font Library.
  • Paul MillerPaul Miller Posts: 210
    I will take a look at these.  Thanks.
    Font Library looks nice but doesn't seem to be a very popular site.
    Dafont has a very ugly interface but seems to be very popular. :)
  • Ray LarabieRay Larabie Posts: 915
    edited August 1
    1001fonts.com has the best upload/gallery interface of any free or paid font site. You can upload your own graphics, edit the ad copy and keywords. It finds the EULA inside your zip and let's you link to that so people can preview it. You can change the preview strings. It's not as popular as dafont but I think it's pretty close.
  • Paul MillerPaul Miller Posts: 210
    1001fonts.com has the best upload/gallery interface of any free or paid font site.
    Yes that one looks OK.  It seems I already have an account there but I don't remember setting it up or what the password is ... oh dear ... must be having a senior moment !!
    :s
  • fontspace.com
    good font preview (OpenType contextual alternates, ligatures as default, working kerning), own graphics, keywords...
  • Marc OxborrowMarc Oxborrow Posts: 139
    fontsquirrel.com
  • Peter BakerPeter Baker Posts: 72
    I thought sites like fontsquirrel and 1001fonts just picked up free fonts from around the web. At least, they don't make it obvious how to upload stuff to their site (I understand, they're trying to keep the quality up, but).
  • Cory MaylettCory Maylett Posts: 158
    edited August 1
    What do you mean by "best platform"? Is it the one with the interface you like the best? The one with the best reputation? The one with the most straight-forward uploads and management? The one with the most traffic?

    If you're concern is mainly widest exposure, why not use them all, regardless of whether or not you personally like them?

    It depends from one site to the next, but about 50 percent of web traffic is now from mobile devices. I'm heavily involved in website design and a mobile-first strategy is becoming common because of this. Do it right, though, and the interface is optimized for both. Deviant Art is probably heavily dominated by people on mobile phones just looking at stuff killing time, which makes it less of a place to look for fonts. Besides, it's a commonly blocked site in many corporate environments. People looking for fonts — free or otherwise — are probably doing so from a computer where they want to install those fonts. In other words, a desktop or laptop machine.

    For what it's worth, I'm deeply suspicious of these sites. They're all brimming with junk and pirated fonts. Some will remove pirated fonts when asked, but within weeks, they're often back. Personally, the only free font site I'll download anything from is Google Fonts. If others with similar ethical and quality standards exist, I'd like to know about them.
  • edited August 2

     [...] They're all brimming with junk and pirated fonts. [...]


    I will not agree, because you combined two different things: "junk" fonts and pirated fonts.
    1. pirated fonts - in my experience, in last years, at least two pages (dafont, fontspace) are making efforts in this direction. It is difficult to find there pirated font.
    2."junk" fonts - we can discuss about definition "junk". When it comes to the technical side, I can agree. If it comes to aesthetics, :) "de gustibus non est disputandum"
  • Paul MillerPaul Miller Posts: 210
    edited August 2
    fontsquirrel.com
    You cannot upload to FontSquirrel the owner of the site is the one who decides what to put there.
  • Paul MillerPaul Miller Posts: 210
    edited August 2
    What do you mean by "best platform"? Is it the one with the interface you like the best? The one with the best reputation? The one with the most straight-forward uploads and management? The one with the most traffic?
    Hopefully I would find a site with all those but I doubt it exists.  But a combination of a good interface and a lot of visitors would do.
    If you're concern is mainly widest exposure, why not use them all, regardless of whether or not you personally like them?
    I will probably end up doing that.
    It depends from one site to the next, but about 50 percent of web traffic is now from mobile devices. I'm heavily involved in website design and a mobile-first strategy is becoming common because of this. Do it right, though, and the interface is optimized for both. Deviant Art is probably heavily dominated by people on mobile phones just looking at stuff killing time, which makes it less of a place to look for fonts. Besides, it's a commonly blocked site in many corporate environments. People looking for fonts — free or otherwise — are probably doing so from a computer where they want to install those fonts. In other words, a desktop or laptop machine.
    I understand that there are a lot of people using mobile devices now.  But believe me the 'Eclipse' design is definately not optimised for the desktop.  The decision to put a lot of the customisation and other features behind a paywall is extremely bad and represents a decision to try to force people to become Core (paying a monthly subscription) members.
    For what it's worth, I'm deeply suspicious of these sites. They're all brimming with junk and pirated fonts. Some will remove pirated fonts when asked, but within weeks, they're often back. Personally, the only free font site I'll download anything from is Google Fonts. If others with similar ethical and quality standards exist, I'd like to know about them.
    I don't know about pirated fonts but there is a lot of junk out there, fonts with incomplete character sets, technical mistakes like incorrect contour directions, badly implemented open type features or no open type features, no kerning and aesthetic mistakes like thinking that italic means oblique.
    The reason I designed Munson was that I needed a Victorian slab serif for a graphic design I was working on and there wasn't a good free one out there.  There were plenty of good ones that weren't free and there were plenty of free ones that turned out to be awful, so I made my own.
    My quest is to produce good quality free fonts with a decent set of open type features implemented correctly.
    Kelvinch is not a good example as it was my first font but I am getting better.  I am working on a replacement for it (Tobias), Kelvinch as it would have been done if I had all the experience I now have.
  • Joe ManbeckJoe Manbeck Posts: 11
    @Paul Miller We run Font Squirrel as well as Fontspring. We can accommodate a lot of requests. Shoot us an email at [email protected] and we'll try to take care of you.
  • Cory MaylettCory Maylett Posts: 158
    edited August 2
    Grzegorz Luk (gluk) said:
    1. pirated fonts - in my experience, in last years, at least two pages (dafont, fontspace) are making efforts in this direction. It is difficult to find there pirated font.
    2."junk" fonts - we can discuss about definition "junk". When it comes to the technical side, I can agree. If it comes to aesthetics, :) "de gustibus non est disputandum"
    I would have been disappointed if at least someone had not taken issue with what I wrote, so thank you.  :)  

    If Dafont is taking steps to deal with pirated fonts, that's great. I haven't checked lately. When I do searches on most of the other free sites, I can usually find pirated copies of my own work as well as the work of many others on this forum.

    By junk, I was referring mostly to the RIP-crashing varieties with crazy kinks, paths that loop back on themselves, autotraced glyphs, stray points and no care paid to the most basic of things. I know a guy who runs a sign shop. He tells me that about a quarter of the print jobs he gets containing these kinds of free fonts fail to make it through their printers' RIPs. As for aesthetics, as you said, one's taste is another matter.  ;)
  • John SavardJohn Savard Posts: 461
    Hmm. Best for what purpose?

    Yes, Dafont is not the go-to place for pirated fonts, but most people wouldn't know that automatically. It looks just as grungy as any pirate font site.

    My question would be, though, what are your goals? Do you want to make a font available freely, but still retain full control of it? Distributing it from your own web site is one alternative, since unfortunately DeviantArt is being lost. I don't know if there's an option to join The League of Movable Type.

    Or do you just want to see it used as widely as possible? Get it on Google fonts then!

    Actually, since Google Fonts snarfed everything from The League of Movable Type, there's a massive inconsistency in my answer. But I have not seen anything on the web that even remotely resembles DeviantArt, so my inclination would be to say, sad as it may be, that your best option is to put up with the new mobile-like interface.
  • Paul MillerPaul Miller Posts: 210

    My question would be, though, what are your goals? Do you want to make a font available freely, but still retain full control of it? Distributing it from your own web site is one alternative, since unfortunately DeviantArt is being lost. I don't know if there's an option to join The League of Movable Type.

    I have already lost control of them.  When I put them up for download under the SIL license they started appearing on many random sites which are not under my control.  But this is only to be expected.  Not all of the sites have the latest versions ... oh well.


    Or do you just want to see it used as widely as possible? Get it on Google fonts then!

    I will have to look into this, how does one go about getting a font on Google fonts ?

  • Peter BakerPeter Baker Posts: 72
    edited August 3
    Here are the requirements:
    What it comes to, I think, is that they're looking for well documented open source projects with good quality control.
  • Stefan PeevStefan Peev Posts: 65
    I think that the answer of the question "What is the best platform for the distribution of free fonts?" is https://www.1001fonts.com/
    My argument is that this site does not pirate fonts, enables authors to upload their own fonts, and presents the fonts and authors in sufficient detail.
    But if you mean Cyrillic fonts I will say that the best site is LocalFonts, because this site does not pirate fonts, enables authors to upload their own fonts, and presents the fonts and authors in sufficient detail. And this is the only place in the world where you could find different typefaces carefully classified as international Cyrillic, Bulgarian Cyrillic, Serbian Cyrillic, Macedonian Cyrillic as well as Unicode Fonts for Ancient Scripts, Medieval Cyrillic fonts, links to Greek and Arabic typefaces. I hope this statement is not immodest.
  • Cory MaylettCory Maylett Posts: 158
    edited August 5
    I think that the answer of the question "What is the best platform for the distribution of free fonts?" is https://www.1001fonts.com/

    My argument is that this site does not pirate fonts, enables authors to upload their own fonts, and presents the fonts and authors in sufficient detail.
    I found a font of mine on 1001fonts that I designed in the early '90s. When I asked them to remove it and all the derivative versions of it that had appeared, they did so without hesitation. None of those fonts have reappeared on the site, and this was, probably, a couple of years ago. So, yeah, this suggests they're at least concerned about keeping things legitimate.
  • fontspace.com
    good font preview (OpenType contextual alternates, ligatures as default, working kerning), own graphics, keywords...
    @Grzegorz Luk (gluk) Thanks for the mention.  We are rolling out an even better renderer in the next month or two, as well as some other neat features.

    It depends from one site to the next, but about 50 percent of web traffic is now from mobile devices.

    Personally, the only free font site I'll download anything from is Google Fonts. If others with similar ethical and quality standards exist, I'd like to know about them.
    @Cory Maylett  If it helps, I just checked and we are currently at 72% desktop, 25% mobile, and 3% tablet for very high traffic.  As for ethical standards, FontSpace pursues that as a continual goal.  We are moderating all new fonts, verifying licenses, etc..  Eventually we'll have a more automated process that actually checks for clones / rip-offs via glyph recognition.

    Paul Miller said:
    There is a lot of junk out there, fonts with incomplete character sets, technical mistakes like incorrect contour directions, badly implemented open type features or no open type features, no kerning and aesthetic mistakes like thinking that italic means oblique.
    @Paul Miller There are a TON of "junk" fonts by those standards, even on FontSpace.  Some of these are created by people who are getting their feet wet, making their first font, and sharing it.  Surprisingly, people still download and use these fonts (a lot of the free font community is hobbyists).   My focus for the future is to implement something like how Google ranks websites.  There are multiple ranking factors, and technical quality / # glyphs, etc.. will be some of those ranking factors to help keep the junk less visible.

    Seems to me that “anybody can upload fonts to include at the site” and “I don’t like how there is so much junk on the site” are opposing concepts. If you have #1, you are going to get #2.
    Absolutely agree. We get so many people uploading commercial fonts as their own, or their auto-traced handwriting via MyScriptFont-like services.  It takes a ridiculous amount of time to moderate submissions.  

    ---------
    Everyone, I just joined yesterday after seeing fontspace being mentioned here and wanted to give helpful responses.

    Free fonts is my industry, so I'll watch these forums for other questions in this field.  I have spent many years doing this, and I know ALL the free font websites.
  • Happy to chat about adding things to Google Fonts! DM me anywhere :)
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