How many type designers in the world?

Igor PetrovicIgor Petrovic Posts: 251
edited March 2022 in Type Business
One of those questions where the result varies by the order of magnitude depending on the criteria.

So please don't take the following poor definition like any kind of elitist filter. It's written right off the bat with probably unbalanced numbers. There are very skillful and talented people who work with type but don't fit. Feel free to redefine "requirements".

But let's say (again, for the purpose of this topic only) it would be someone who can produce installable serif or sans typeface, good enough to expect to be sold. Who is familiar with the basic type design tech and theory: contrast, vertical metrics, overshoots, spacing, kerning, basic OT features etc. Someone who can name 20 sans and 20 serif fonts, and who spent at least two working months working on (or learning) type design. If the abstract skill scale is from 0 to 10, then 3 and up count.

Some parameters:

This thread gives some insight LINK. It's posted 7 years ago, and is mainly about the number of fonts, not type designers.

How many users TypeDrawers have?

What is the estimated number of people who have a license for one of the five most popular type design software? 


  • Igor PetrovicIgor Petrovic Posts: 251
    edited March 2022
    Maybe it's easier to guess a number and then discuss it. How about 15k people, does that sounds reasonable?
  • Mark SimonsonMark Simonson Posts: 1,635
    This study, from about 10 years ago, might be helpful: Type Foundries Today
  • Mark SimonsonMark Simonson Posts: 1,635 shows slightly higher numbers at 44K fonts and 4,032 type designers. Again, not all of these are living, practicing designers.
  • AbiRasheedAbiRasheed Posts: 236
    edited March 2022
    I dunno about the world but in typedrawers there's roughly 4308 members to date. I learnt of the numbering system by accident and noticed the numbers in your profile link relates to the current membership number. Mine is 2000 so I'd be the 2000th member to join. I think that's how it works, just guessing. Take mark simonson for instance he's at 14 which means he was the 14th member to join this place, early adopters. You on the other hand Igor is at 2716 so like way past me. The join date correlates to the numbers too. 
  • Igor PetrovicIgor Petrovic Posts: 251
    edited March 2022
    Thanks, these are very helpful insights!

    I didn't know about these two lists, as well as they don't know about me :D Which is not unusual since I still haven't entered any major font store, although I designed two classic one-weight sans fonts.

    Besides, I know type designers who are knowledgeable and have a handful of drawer projects but haven't released anything so far on font stores. Some of them even developed serious bespoke font families with a lot of everyday exposure. So there is that niece of type designers, under the radar, and they are often someway in academic circles. If I know about 15 of them, I can guess their real number is in four digits.  

    On the other side, most of them probably have the TypeDrawers profile. So IMHO combining all of these numbers ~10k (which is still "a few thousand") might be a good ballpark.  

    @AbiRasheed Thanks, but I can't see the member number on anyone's profile. Where to look?
  • Mark SimonsonMark Simonson Posts: 1,635
    @Igor Petrovic If you go to a member profile, it's in the URL.
  • Thanks!
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