The 2018 Font Purchasing Habits Survey Results

ValKalinicValKalinic Posts: 28
edited March 9 in Type Business

The 2018 Font Purchasing Habits Survey Results by Mary Catherine Pflug

Haven't found a discussion on this survey's completion on TypeDrawers and thought I'd share it here in case some of you missed it, as I believe it is a very valuable resource.
Do you find any findings or trends surprising? Do you think going forward, the survey should zero in on certain areas?
For example, I'd love to find out more about how people actually seek out fonts (other than just where); by tags, similarity, style, available promotions, direct search, and so on. 

Comments

  • Rob BarbaRob Barba Posts: 40
    edited March 9
    It's a fascinating read!  Thanks for sharing.

    I'd like to see more data on font purchases.  For example, 47% people who only use free fonts think that fonts are too expensive, yet the number virtually halves when we move up to 1 - 10 fonts purchased.  To me, it seems there has to be a long way towards improving education on font cost vs. value, etc.

    I'd also like to see more of what people think of as trends in fonts vs. what we as designers do.  As an anecdote, a friend of mine who is a graphic designer (but who doesn't design fonts) commented the other day that "last year there were all these sci-fi fonts and now everything seems to be girly handwriting crap" (her words, not mine).

    Lastly, I'd like to see more of what we can do to improve foundry and distributor information, as the terminology seems to be confusing to the average person.  Maybe we should stop being "foundries", per se, and be "font brands" or somesuch?

    Either way, I look forward to next year's report.
  • Hrant H. PapazianHrant H. Papazian Posts: 1,516
    Mary Catherine's work is amazing.

    I would love to see more delving into the sociocultural aspects, involving how fonts are perceived. For example the perception of gender, and how people seem to be afraid of expressing it:

  • ValKalinicValKalinic Posts: 28
    edited March 9
    Mary Catherine's work is amazing.

    I would love to see more delving into the sociocultural aspects, involving how fonts are perceived. For example the perception of gender, and how people seem to be afraid of expressing it:

    In my opinion, it just speaks of the current changing/confusing communication norms: Personality traits are present and different in all people, some being more frequently in either gender, so it would be perfectly understandable if someone spoke of a "feminine" font for example. I think this contradictory result (from the tweet) may just signal that when directly asked about it, people start to question whether such a practice is impolite on their part. Personally I don't see why it would be, although too abstract and imprecise for professional use. So I'm not sure what purpose further examination of the subject would serve as part of this particular study; wouldn't it be more suited for some kind of a sociological and psychological inquiry into perception of type?
  • Hrant H. PapazianHrant H. Papazian Posts: 1,516
    I think helping people express themselves confidently is important for the healthy development of the craft.
  • Stephen ColesStephen Coles Posts: 745
    edited March 9
    I think Mary Catherine’s work is important and unique. It is the only serious survey of the market and there’s a lot of interesting stuff to glean from the results. 

    The sample size of 15,745 is significant, but it’s important to note how heavily the respondents lean toward Monotype customers. It’s no surprise that MyFonts has the largest chunk of the retail market, but surely its audience isn’t larger than free font sources like Google Fonts and Dafont — even if the results are limited to those who actually purchased fonts. I also find it slightly suspect that only 1% of respondents shopped at Type Network, and 2% at Fontstand. Could this be because the survey was promoted primarily from Monotype-owned social media accounts, thus self-selecting the sample group?



    The report does include this cautionary note: “results of this question are specific to the respondents of this survey and do not accurately reflect the behavior of the entire population of type customers because this is a convenience sample.” I think it’s valuable to have more information about how and where the survey was promoted to get a better picture of the diversity of font users represented. I asked Mary Catherine for her thoughts on this.


  • Dave CrosslandDave Crossland Posts: 1,042
    I wonder if Type Network and Fontstand would be willing to rerun the survey on their customers?

    It's possible I could also arrange for Google Fonts to rerun it there too.

    Does anyone know who runs DaFont?
  • Instead of re-running the survey it should be possible to filter (or ideally, somehow normalize) the data based on purchasing channels.
  • Rob BarbaRob Barba Posts: 40
    I wonder if Type Network and Fontstand would be willing to rerun the survey on their customers?

    It's possible I could also arrange for Google Fonts to rerun it there too.

    Does anyone know who runs DaFont?
    Not just DaFont, but some of the other free sites as well.  It would come in play with my earlier inquiry as to why 47% of people think that fonts are too expensive...only to see that number halve when they actually do buy a font.

    Alternately, perhaps many of the internationally-owned font sites should be asked to participate as well.  MyFonts, Google, Adobe, et al. are all US-based sites, which also skew a "global" survey.  Why not Creative Fabrica (based in the Netherlands), Hype for Type (based in the UK), etc.  Even though I'm American, I note that the grand majority of my MyFonts sales are from overseas.  In fact, here are the nations the majority of my 2018 sales came from: Brazil, Japan, the UK, and Italy.  I would actually note that I made more Brazilian sales last year than I did American ones, strangely enough.  I would provide info for my other sales sites, but sadly, they don't provide that information (well, that or I can't find them on their sites.)

    It would be fascinating to see what the results for foreign type sites like Buro Destruct (Switzerland), or Design Pocket and Font Factory (both Japanese) are.  

    Lastly, maybe get some of the individual web designers involved as well.  We have as much skin the game and we also (presumably) have our own websites and social media accounts.
  • ValKalinicValKalinic Posts: 28
    edited March 18
    Just remembered, it would also be informative to report what queries/tags users search most often for.
    Perhaps some of the teminology and tags we express are not intuitive to a less knowledgeable population, who could be searching for fonts by using a limited vocabulary, and thus some terms we might not think of to apply to descriptions and tag lists.
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