Fontstand, a new app for OS X, allows you to download and install fonts to try out entirely for free and pay for them on a monthly basis if you decide to keep them.
The service allows you to browse an extensive library of fonts made available by font foundries such as Typofonderie, Type Supply and Process, then download any font for up to one hour to try it out.
If you’re happy with the font, you can rent either the entire font style as a set or individual styles for a significantly lower price. After 12 months of renting a font, it’s yours to keep forever.
The app makes it incredibly easy to take fonts for a test-drive in your real world design workflow rather than being restricted to a sample on a website. It’s as simple as clicking a button to download them instantly for use in any application.
You might be wondering if the license for these fonts allows you to use them in production work — Fontstand says that rented fonts can be used for both personal and professional use in desktop publishing and printing.
For Web fonts, broadcasting or other uses, you still need to contact the font foundry to purchase additional rights.
Even better, fonts can be shared amongst teams for a discounted price, which makes Fontstand’s proposition far more compelling.
The company is launching today and has over a thousand fonts available, but it’ll be interesting to see how quickly other font foundries adopt this new way of selling. It’s a big shift to a model that usually requires large sums of money for professional licenses.
Fontstand’s model will be a welcome one for designers, in a world where font licensing can often be expensive and cumbersome for designers. Other offerings exist, like Adobe’s Typekit also allow you to download fonts from their libraries for use on your computer.
Right now, Fontstand is only available for OS X but the company says in its FAQ that it also plans a Windows version in the future.
There has been some progress, with websites like Ten Dollar Fonts offering fonts at consistent, easy to understand prices, but Fontstand takes it to the next level by making it easy to pay as you go.