Font / Typeface Glossary

Hello, I’ve recently started to use a letterpress and I’ve been wondering if anyone could point me towards any online resources where I could browse a large selection of fonts.

Thus far I’ve just been scanning lots of different searches, but I was hoping there might be a glossary somewhere that would be similar to stepping into your local letterpress shop where you can view all of the available fonts in a binder.

So simple yet so helpful.

Much thanks!!!!!

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Are you using metal type or digital?

Not sure how you using the information on the fonts?

As Aaron said, it really does make a difference whether you are looking for digital typefaces for printing via photopolymer or metal typefaces for hand setting.

There is certainly no shortage of books and websites that list typefaces. However, finding resources for digital typefaces is much easier than finding good comprehensive catalogs of traditional metal type.

For digital typefaces, I would start with one of the big digital type “foundries” such as Linotype ( or Adobe ( Another good online historical resource is the Typedia ( which takes more of an encyclopedic approach . There are also many good offline resources such as Berry’s “Encyclopedia of Type Faces”. The drawback of this approach is that you will find everything from classic typefaces to modern designs and you will have no idea which ones are suitable for letterpress nor which ones are available in metal.

If you are looking specifically for metal type, some of your best resources will be offline. A good place to start is Mac McGrew’s book, “American Metal Typefaces of the Twentieth Century”. You can also search out old type catalogs in used book stores or on eBay, of course. Some of these have been digitized and posted online. The Internet Archive ( or Google books ( are the best places to look for these - as well as other out of print books on type and printing. One of the best of the available digitized catalogs is the massive 1923 catalog from ATF (

The problem here is that you will have no idea which of these old faces are still available in metal. Many of the old matrices have been lost or scrapped - particularly for old foundry typefaces. You can sometimes find them on eBay but the prices will be extremely high for rare faces.

So, my final suggestion is to look at the online or printed catalogs of the few remaining metal type foundries. These lists will not be comprehensive, of course, but at least you will know that the typefaces you’re looking at will be available for purchase. Keep in mind that this can be quite pricey as well, particularly if they don’t have it in stock and have to cast the type to order. Metal type foundries with online catalogs - with samples - include:

M&H Type (
Skyline Type (
Swamp Press (‎)
Bixler Letter Foundry (
Schritgießerei Rainer Gerstenberg (
Offizin Parnassia Vättis (

Hope that this is what you are looking for.

Doug Heise
Thyrsus Press