I do have a listing of sites where I buy and search for fonts on the other resource page, but I'll expand on them here. Much of what I tell you may be rather random, but, I hope, useful just the same (by the way, all of these links will open in a new window).
The number one place on the web where I purchase fonts, is MyFonts.com. They have one of the most extensive collection of different foundries offering their typefaces for sale.
Some key points about browsing their site follows:
When searching the site for fonts, make sure you check the menu on the right that says "more fonts like this."
I frequently find less expensive fonts when I check out that link. For example, Linotype offers many, many fonts very similar to some other, more expensive fonts. Here's a typical listing demonstrating this fact:
See the difference? $64.00 vs $21.00! Can't beat that! As a matter of fact, most all of Linotype fonts are only $21.00.
Many times I fall in love with a font on someone else's site. I feel funny asking them (besides, I hate to give away secret finds myself!), so I'll do a screen capture of the page that the font is used on, bring it into Photoshop, and just crop the page so that I have the lettering where the font is used. I then desaturate the color so that it's closer to black and white and erase all of the extra background stuff away. My goal is to have a clear image of just the type layers. I save it as a gif, then bring it into "what the font" and upload it as per their instructions on the page. Hopefully, they'll come up with a variety of fonts that match my image and "viola!" - I've identified the font!
Now, this doesn't always work, but it's worth my time to discover what font it is. Yes, I could always make a post in a type forum, but a reply isn't always forthcoming. I want it when I want it, ya know?
One thing that I do NOT like to browse, is the "best sellers" list. Simply because I don't want what everyone else wants. I like different and unusual typefaces. I don't like to see what I'm using all over everyone else's site. If anything, I may look just so I know what NOT to buy (I know, I'm weird).
My favorite foundries that I almost always buy my fonts from... t-26 - every style of typeface you can imagine!
Emigre - for the cleanest, "client style" typefaces.
TypeSETit - has gorgeous script fonts!
Eduardo's Misprinted Type - cool, grungy-like type,
and finally, Canada Type has some great, all-around useful fonts.
So. Those are my faves, and you can view other foundries over on my other font resource page, k?
One of my past site designs on FullMoon Graphics used a bunch of "Cool Cat" type picture fonts. The only time I told anyone what they were was when I planned on redesigning the site. The font was by p22, "Daddy-o Beatsville." In fact, I think that layout was one of my favs... especially the splash page, no?
Which brings me to another topic. Dingbats, or "picture fonts" as they're sometimes called. I do not see anything wrong, or unprofessional about using them. Sometimes it just takes a little creativity to make complete images out of them.
What I usually do, is type one of the dingbats on one layer (in Photoshop, or PSP, or whatever you use) and then create a layer below it and fill in the dingbat with color. That way I have a graphic that looks better than just using a one-color, plain, dingbat, ya know?
Something that I do when I'm previewing fonts that I'm interested in... I make sure that I add a few extra characters, such as an asterick (*), or a tilde (~) because not all fonts include them. It's also a good idea to take a look at the character map of the typeface so that you can see what's there and what isn't there.
I may have my own preferences in typefaces, which also changes over time, but when it comes to creating client sites, I sometimes need to use a more refined style, as well as a typeface that has many weights. Which means that there are many different styles of the same typeface, such as condensed, bold, oblique, thin and so forth. That way, I can use the same typeface to keep the site consistant (which is best), yet have a few variations.
You know, I've always wanted to try my hand at making a font, but after carefully thinking about it, I came to the conclusion that it would be just one more thing that I wouldn't have time to do -ha! (but it's true)
If you're thinking about it yourself, Fontlab has some pretty nifty font tools - go check'em out.
Finally, in case you missed them before, one of most useful tools that comes in very handy, is the STC font browser. When you go there, it lists all of the fonts you have in your system, and even uses a browser so that you can view the font style. Cool , hmm?
I also downloaded another handy tool called CrossFont. It converts mac fonts to pc fonts and vice-versa. How wonderful is that?
Alrighty, I think that's about it for now... I hope you found some useful info here. If I think of anything else that pops into my head, I'll write it down, k?
Take care, try to control thyself when browsing for fonts, and if you find a new foundry that isn't listed here, do share!
Happy Fonting, xoxo, ~Kitty the font addict