I was helping a friend with an Etsy shop icon. Her family had designed a lovely banner but translating that into a tiny square format proved to be an obstacle. The text used an ornate font which would be difficult to read shrunk down. I needed to find a similar but simpler font to match.
As it was a commercial use case I looked at, Font Squirrel but didn’t find anything quite right.
Then I looked at dafont and found a beautiful font called Birds of Paradise. It was free to download but $49 for commercial use. The comments pointed out that this was a revival of a font from the 1970s. This lead to several other revivals of the font, one of which is called Ballantines Serial by Softmaker. This font is a little less gorgeous than Birds of Paradise, but for a quick logo it is fine. But it is $14.99 per weight or $29.99 for the set.
Then I remembered back to a thing I bought “the Ultimate Font Download” as recommended by Ray Larabie. It’s a collection of second rate fonts, many of which are available for free, but also includes many older fonts from SoftMaker, including Ballantines Serial. It was the claim that they were all licensed for commercial use that got me. All for $19.95 – not sure how much gets to the designers, especially with their affiliate program – yes, I signed up too – if you would like to buy the pack of fonts through this link then I may get about $8 out of it.
Luc de Vroye is scathing about Parasites of Type Design over at his website. He is sceptical about the claim that the Ultimate Font Download has permission from all the designers. On the other hand, the Ultimate Font Download is quite transparent about what fonts are included and it does look like if there were any violations they would have been taken down by now.
You can download many, many old fonts off the internet. It’s the license to use the fonts which is the valuable part.
I did find that SoftMaker has a Free Font of the Month available.