New Type Sample Tool debuts at!

Tired of seeing Hamburgefonstiv when you view fonts on our site? We are happy to report that the AscenderFonts team has been busy working on a variety of enhanced features to make browsing and shopping for fonts easier and better!

One new feature we wanted to point out is our automated font sample generator tool . In addition to typing your own text, we have a variety of pre-made text strings you can choose from. This includes various typographic-oriented text strings, and language strings.

As you may know, AscenderFonts features a wide variety of fonts with extensive non-Latin language support . One really cool feature is that you can pick any language/script, and if the font doesn't support the selected glyphs we'll show you what it has and does not have!

Additional features are better controls for selecting font size & colors. And of course there is a reset button, in case you make a mistake...

We hope you'll give it a try. Take a look at our new releases , mouse over the 'sample' button and select a new text string that strikes your fancy.

Let us know what you think!

Free Fonts and Commercial Fonts

A number of articles have been published recently on the controversial topic of free fonts. While AscenderFonts features high quality commercial fonts, we do believe there is a place for free fonts, but would like to openly discuss the potential issues when downloading and using them.

Hot Metal Typeface - Photo by Dana
For starters, it is important to understand that typefaces are developed by people, which is often overlooked. The time and labor that goes in to creating a typeface is substantial, which is why font vendors (like us) need to generate revenue to make type design a sustainable process. Free fonts, on the other hand, should be used with precaution. Here are a few reasons why:
  • Free font licenses vary substantially, and it's important to pay close attention to the End User License Agreement (EULA). How a font can be used, whether for personal or commercial use, is just one of the specifications listed within a font EULA. Unfortunately, these agreements are often long, confusing and tedious to read.
  • More often than not, the quality of free fonts is lacking. While commercial font vendors can afford to create a highly-polished font for sale, this is usually not the case with a free font.
  • Incomplete character set - the vast majority of free fonts are missing characters and do not have complete codepage or Unicode range sets. 
  • Oftentimes free fonts only include limited weights and styles, limiting typographic creativity.
  • Unclear origins - some free fonts appear to be suspiciously similar to commercial fonts. Because the original designer is not identified the true origin of how the font was created is uncertain (is it potentially a copyright infringement?).
  • Free fonts are rapidly dispersed and often fall subject to overuse. While it is more important how you use a font than who is using it, it can be difficult to create something unique while incorporating free fonts.
  • Because most free fonts are taken from a gallery and out of context, the designer usually ends up designing around the font and overlooking the original intent behind the font. Each font available on FontsLive is accompanied by a brief summary providing historical background as well as the font's intended uses.
Fonts can be a complex subject, but we're here to help. If you have questions or comments, let us know directly or in the comments below. If you're interested in reading more about free fonts, here are some additional resources:

New fonts added to! Canada Type font collection now available

Today we are happy to introduce yet another fine collection of fonts is available for licensing from Ascender. Canada Type boasts an impressive type library with distinctive script fonts and wonderful historical and nostalgic fonts. There are over 500 fonts in the Canada Type collection - all available now for purchase and instant download from and also for software and hardware companies to license for use with their products from the website.

Web Fonts update: enhanced with WebFont Loader option

We are pleased to announce that Ascender has enhanced its web font service available on to offer advanced features to its customers for controlling how web fonts are loaded into web pages.

Starting today, Ascender’s customers at FontsLive can use the WebFont Loader, a JavaScript library co-developed by Google and Typekit that provides a variety of options for web developers to control the web font loading experience. This allows developers to establish a more consistent occurrence across browsers and tap additional features related to the process of downloading and displaying fonts on a web page.

Ascender's FontsLive service offers hundreds of premium quality fonts from leading type designers and foundries for license as web fonts (and also as downloads for designers to use on their workstations). FontsLive makes it simple and fast for web designers and developers to implement web fonts by adding a single line of code to web pages.

The WebFont Loader JavaScript library is being made available as an optional feature for developers to access via their FontsLive account.

“The WebFont Loader provides more control over how web fonts are downloaded and displayed on web pages” said Tomas Kirda, Chief Technology Officer with DevBridge, Ascender’s web development partner. “The Ascender module for the WebFont Loader will be a welcome addition for our more advanced customers who are comfortable with JavaScript and want more powerful tools with their hosted or self-hosted web font accounts” he added.

Here is an example of the standard code a FontsLive customer would add to their web pages to access their web fonts:

Instead of using the above CSS link, to access the Ascender module with the WebFont Loader JavaScript Library, the following sample code would be used:

As an alternative, FontsLive customers already using Google's AJAX APIs would call the WebFont Loader as follows:
The controls for accessing the WebFonts Loader are available to FontsLive customer in their account management area. The JavaScript code is dynamically generated based on the web fonts selected for a particular website project in a user's account.

FontsLive offers a free 30 day trial for customers to see how powerful web fonts are as a way to enhance the typography of web sites. Users can experiment with the standard FontsLive code, or accessing the WebFont Loader. For more information visit