We are proud and excited to announce Fontstand, a new Mac OS X application that lets you test fonts for free and rent them for a fraction of their retail price. We believe that it will give you unprecedented access to thousands of high-quality fonts, expanding your design toolbox and addressing perennial shortcomings of the standard font licensing model.

Here at Typotheque two of the most common questions we deal with are ‘Can you send me a test version of this font?’ and ‘Why are your fonts so expensive?’ To answer the second question first, designing digital typefaces, particularly typefaces that offer advanced typographic capabilities and extensive language support is an extremely time-consuming task requiring not only artistic skill, but also technical expertise, as well as painstaking attention to detail. You can read more about the design process behind some of our fonts here. The answer to the first question is much shorter: no.

We have tried to provide multiple methods of testing our fonts that minimise piracy risks, but as designers ourselves, we know that they are not always satisfactory. We also know the frustration of paying full price for a font that you need for one small project, not knowing if you will ever use it again. Fontstand changes all this. With Fontstand you can test fonts for one hour for free on your own computer with your own software, and rent them for 30 days for just 10% of their regular price.

Fontstand is a partnership between Typotheque and Andrej Krátky, designer of the Nara typeface. Ondrej Jób, another Typotheque designer, designed the app and its website. Of course the project would be useless without the contributions of more than 20 independent font foundries (representing more than 70 designers) whose typefaces are now available through this new platform.

We hope that you’ll find Fontstand useful. Let us know what you think.