Why I’m Breaking up with Free Fonts


If you had asked me a year ago if I would ever pay for a font, I would have laughed in your face. Pay for a font? Have you seen how many free fonts there are? Miiiiillions. Many of which are free for commercial use, as well as personal. There is a free font for every occasion, you’d be a sucker to pay for one.

The sucker was me. I’m breaking up with free fonts, at least for book cover title fonts and website headers. Here’s why I am excited to pay money for a good font.

They are less used

This is obvious, but very useful. Only a small percentage of people are willing to pay for fonts, so if you find a paid font that you love, chances are much lower that your competition will be using it too. So not only do you stand out, but by choosing something that looks more professional, you stand out in the best way possible.

They often made for display purposes

Most of the good free fonts I’ve found are great for text blocks, maybe even headers, but they lack the wow factor I like to see on a book cover. Find a paid font that was created to steal the show and let those everyday free fonts doing the grunt work on the back cover blurb.

They have handmade touches

This is one of the most exciting things to me. You can get font families that you can mix and match together, so that it looks handmade. When I’m trying to figure out if a designer has used a font or handlettered a cover, I always look at the letters closely to see if the ones that repeat look the same.

Heart and Soul, which I bought for my photography business (and used in the title of this post) has three different lower case e’s. That’s awesome. If you look at the Book Cover Bakery logo at the top of the page, you’ll see that it has some pretty swooshes. These are extra options you can add into the lettering, there are also little curly versions of each letter. Not only that, but the two fonts (the script and the plain font) are packaged together as the Ariadne font family. So I got a perfect pairing in one purchase.

There are also often little graphics and other goodies to help you get the look you want. People will think you learned hand lettering. Or in my case, that I got way better at hand lettering overnight.

They are very inexpensive

At this point you are thinking “this is all well and good, Hanna, but I’m on a budget here!”. I bought the Ariadne package for $34, and Heart and Soul for $15. Most of the font’s that caught my eye on Creative Market (my favourite place to shop for pretty design resources) were under $50. Now divide that over a 3-6 book series. It’s pennies, my friends.

If you are willing to pay for your photo or artwork, you should pay for a font. Typography is what makes or breaks your book cover, and sets you apart from the amateurs. And for a website logo, $34 was a steal (and I can use the font for the rest of my site branding).

Sorry free fonts, it’s been fun

But I’m moving on to classier fonts for future projects. I can’t wait to brand a new series so that I can pick the perfect, gorgeous, paid font for it. Fonts, take my money already! In fact, I’m hoarding all my favourite picks on pinterest, just waiting for the perfect project to use them on. If you’re interested, you can follow my font pinboard and see what I’m collecting there!


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