The instructor who asks you to do a project about type design knows that you won’t be able to get all the fonts you need. It’s a trick assignment, but it’s a good one: it’s not really about working with fonts, it’s about learning to manage the resources you have available. This is one of the most valuable skills a designer can develop.
Most design work involves dealing with people whose appetites exceed their budgets. We’ve all had the client who wants to reach 100,000 people with a glossy 64-page direct mail piece, but confesses to only having $5,000 to spend: this gives designers a chance to walk away, plead for more money, or dissect the challenge right before the client’s eyes. This budget won’t cover the fantasy mailer, but it might go towards revamping the website, placing a well-designed ad, or producing an exclusive but impeccably designed event. These are all genuine design projects, and they offer the chance to distinguish yourself as not merely a stylist, but an equal partner who can truly help shape ideas.
Or, you can just buy the fonts. Even a well-rounded type family costs less than your iPod, and fonts are things you can use for the rest of your life. A Hoefler & Co. font is a pretty good way of setting your work apart from that of your classmates — that, after all, is why designers buy them too.