Chase Turberville

Google Fonts Part 1: Finding Value

This is the first in a three-part series in which we take a closer look at Google Fonts. This post is how we find value in Google fonts and how we present them to our clients.

Value Googel Fonts Header

So you’re in the market for some great fonts to use in your new brand system. Good on you! This is going to be fun. Let’s just head to Commercial Type and grab th…

Wait a dang minute. 

Then it hits you... great fonts are really expensive. Rightfully so — painstaking hours, months, even years are poured into these underestimated and often undervalued tools. And while there is tremendous value in separating your brand from the competition with unique, well made secondary typography, there are other ways to achieve partition. Considering all the mediums they have to live on these days (print + web + app) and depending on impressions, it can bore a hole into a client’s budget pretty quickly.

“Typography is like painting a house to most clients. Yeah, it would be nice to have someone paint your house, but sometimes you do the painting yourself.”

To most designers, the phrase “free fonts” is usually met with a shudder. We all remember those days of going over to and perusing countless pages of half-made type. Luckily, there are more resources these days that you can utilize without losing your soul. There’s no reason you can’t make something free work for you. There are all sorts of client budgets out there, and their lists of priorities become yours in some instances.

There are a few scenarios where Google Fonts are super valuable for our clients:

• There’s client interest, or strategy points to a typeface very specific to conveying the brand’s personality. There’s room in their wallets to go for a headline typeface from a reputable foundry. Great, let’s dig in and pick out something great and then possibly pair it with a Google Font for the body copy. This compromise can cut down on spending a fortune on multiple high-tier typeface families.

• There really is no wiggle room for purchasing fonts and it’s all Google Fonts. Cool, no worries. There are plenty of great pairings that you can achieve with their massive library. There are a few here, and of course, we’ll be covering beautiful pairings later in this series. Not to mention the fast load times that make for very happy clients.

We offer numerous services at Focus Lab that many clients find value in. However, with those services comes a responsibility. Spend more time and money in some areas. Scrimp in others. 

I can somewhat relate, as I’m currently going through a lengthy home renovation. When it started, we wanted all the things. Unfortunately, we quickly realized that wasn’t possible given our lean allowance. I would say typography is like painting a house to most clients. Yeah, it would be nice to have someone paint your house (pay for great fonts). But sometimes, you do the painting yourself (hunt for free fonts).

Next up in this series, we'll discuss Google Font alternatives to popular fonts, which is something we often offer our clients during the branding process. So stay tuned!

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