Launches Desktop Font Subscription Service

Back in September of 2012 Monotype launched its SkyFonts service, which made it possible to try out and then rent fonts for a period as short as a day. web font subscribers could thus use the SkyFonts client to test out desktop versions of fonts available through the service. This was simplified in 2013 by the ability to access this functionality via just a free account, without the need for a separate web font subscription. Visitors to the site could use the free SkyFonts Windows or Mac client to install desktop fonts that could be used within documents for up to five minutes, after which they were disabled.

Then in 2014 we were given Membership by Monotype, which allowed subscribers to install an unlimited number of desktop fonts on their workstations, along with usage of the webfont version, for the life of their subscription. Each of the 14,000 typefaces in the library was available for internal print, web and app design purposes, while higher-tier subscribers also benefited from library-wide commercial publishing and distribution rights for creative projects. Which was great, except monthly subscriptions began at $500 per month and went up to a breathtaking $2137.

The latest spin is a subscription that provides access to a collection of more than 9,000 desktop fonts drawn to some extent from the Monotype, Linotype, ITC, Bitstream and Ascender libraries, for a more reasonable $50 per month. This includes a license for use on up to five devices, so the plan is a fit for small teams, as well as individual designers, with no limits on the number of fonts installed and the ability to use them in design projects for print. The idea is that subscribers search and then install fonts with the SkyFonts app. Once installed, they remain active until deactivated by the user or the subscription ends.

Not a bad deal in principle but keep in mind that 9,000 fonts translates to just 2,200 families. And while some of the fonts are fine, the collection also includes some real stinkers, such as faces from the so-called NicePrice Font Collection. Unfortunately, including such dubious work casts doubt on the value of the offer but luckily a two-week free trial is available. You can browse the offering online or download a catalog containing every font.