@Kent Lew you make a strong point but I hesitate to lump December in with summer. The thing about December is that we do always see a jump in traffic in the first half because there are definitely companies that are closing out the fiscal year and need to make purchases. That's a massive contrast to the deadness of summer. If you release in December you will get SOME eyeballs. Plus, you're not likely to be one of many foundries releasing that week/day which definitely sucks. So, less than ideal but not the black hole of July and August. The proximity to January (resulting in a low cost to wait) makes me want to agree with you and put a red X over it but I'm going to stop just short of that.
I tend to think the important variable is where your customers are. For folks like us who have a global customer base with the largest block (but still under 50%) in the US it's January.
This is because the ideal is to have a few uninterrupted months where the font can get some momentum. September is less than ideal because people are catching up from summer in the first month and you really only get October before Americans have Thanksgiving and the everyone is scrambling for the end of the year plus taking off for Xmas and New Years.
Launching in January means you get 5ish uninterrupted months where the majority of the customer base is just working (not closing out the year or prepping for a holiday or whatever).
That said, you will notice that we didn't launch Halyard in January but instead in May - along with 5 other foundries that week. The best laid plans.... Ultimately, the best time to launch is when the font is done - with the exception of July and August when you shouldn't launch.
Fair enough. First week or so can work. General wisdom and experience at Font Bureau, though, was that December releases were disadvantaged. We might release an expansion, because that was often aimed more at existing customers who were predisposed to pay attention. But not something new and exciting.
Font distributors take longer to launch fonts in July and August. If you launch in August, there's a good chance it won't be released until September. Also, I imagine a lot of type designers hold off on releasing summer projects until September to avoid those slow sales months. The result is that in the first couple of weeks in September, there'a a deluge of new font releases so that's a good time for your new release to get lost in the crowd.
@AbrahamLee When you're talking about a company of any size, fonts are not an impulse buy. A branding change is a very big deal, undertaken after a long slow deliberation and requiring a great deal of effort to implement. This is why the conventional wisdom is that it takes 2 years for a font to really sell. You can't time a font release the way you time consumer electronics. Instead, you release it at a time when customers aren't in a frenzy and can notice it, you do what you can to keep it in their line of sight, and you wait.