Options for new type designers?

13

Comments

  • I more or less seem to be in the perfect position to give an answer to the question of this thread. My first fonts I made available for free. I put Dion Sans on deviantArt and it automatically made its way onto free fonts websites and blogs. I didn't ask money for Dion Sans because it wasn't up to the quality I felt justified asking money for. I have reworked Dion Sans and added Bold and Italic and will probably sell it through MyFonts fairly soon. I also have two other typefaces just about ready to sell somewhere.

    I'm going for MyFonts right now because I feel it's a good platform to sell on. I haven't really done research on the finances of each method; I'm going to MyFonts because I'm there often, because I suspect there's a good mix of the target audiences, because it shows off your portfolio of typefaces well and it's easy to make your own promotion pictures and use at least 6 of them. I honestly don't want to go through the hassle of finding a foundry who likes my work right now, and the notion that they will more or less own my work scares me as well. I'm sure I will work for some foundries in the future and also start up my own, but right now MyFonts seems a good choice for me.
  • If you are going with myfonts you will have to set up your own foundry, no? I did the same. What I learned is that sales dry up completely if you don't keep generating attention to your work. Discounts can be a way of generating attention, but I still don't like the 80-90% discount idea. Best of luck!
  • Have you found a better way?
    What I learned is that sales dry up completely if you don't keep generating attention to your work.
    Is that exclusively the case with MyFonts? It seems to be a general principle.
  • Generating attention is the job of — the foundry.
  • ... I haven't really done research ...

    ... I honestly don't want to go through the hassle ...
    etc
  • After you have put the effort and time to make a good design, you will be able to make a (better) choice. Thinking about selling possibilities up front is contra-productive and might influence the quality of your design.
  • Stephen ColesStephen Coles Posts: 720
    edited October 2014
    Maybe, Jacques. But I think Ray makes a great point about knowing your audience. The best type has a purpose, and sometimes that purpose is tied to a certain market.
  • Jacques Le BaillyJacques Le Bailly Posts: 68
    edited October 2014
    Stephen, I fully agree with Ray ! I was more talking to Martin.

    Sometimes the design process gives you unexpected results.
  • etc
    Etc what, Jackson?
    But what untapped need do you think you're going to fill for typographers? Is there something about your fonts that's so special that it'll coax typographers with presumably jam-packed font folders to open their wallets?
    Yes. Otherwise what's the point of my contributions? Of course I'm looking to fill gaps in the market, and of course I want to give typographers something to work with as well. I'm not targeting the low end of the market. When my work is in any way incomplete or not usable for serious typographers I will give it away for free, as I have done in the past.
    Unless you're a seasoned designer or have some incredible ideas, then I doubt it. Do non-typographers buy fonts? Of course. Do they have all their font needs currently fulfilled?
    You make it sound nasty. I'm not looking to fulfill non-typographers' needs primarily. I design what I feel there is a need for and hope others will see it too, and I make sure all the language support and features are included to justify asking money for it at all. And to address Jackson's nonsense, I have looked at all the type foundries and I closely follow the typeface releases on all of them so in that sense I have a great insight into the market, but no, I haven't mailed anyone for information on finances and promotion. I don't want to be concerned with finances at this point and the idea of a foundry owning my designs scares me at this point. Let me start worrying about that as I build my portfolio of typefaces. Right now I'm looking for a quick and easy way to start selling licenses, build my portfolio and start making a name for myself, while I continue with my education.
    If you're planning to make good fonts and posting them on MyFonts
    Jos Buivenga seems to have done a great job though. I wasn't planning on selling exclusively through MyFonts, nor about making them available there and "hope for the best". I will attempt to set up my own shop at a later stage but sell through MyFonts as well. I will make my way back onto deviantArt as well and sell there and give some freebies now and then, make some weights available for free on MyFonts rather than giving serious discounts and try to get more exposure on websites like Behance. Of course I'm going to think of strategies to target the people I want to target, but right now MyFonts just offers me a start to target just about everyone.
    After you have put the effort and time to make a good design, you will be able to make a (better) choice.
    Are you implying I haven't?
    Thinking about selling possibilities up front is contra-productive and might influence the quality of your design.
    How is that? I strive for quality regardless of where I might sell. If I find the quality questionable, I will give it away for free or not release it at all. I'm just not impulsive and I think about my options before I start selling. I've been working on typefaces for over four years and only now started thinking more seriously about where to sell because I have a few fonts ready so I'm ready to put some typefaces online soon.
  • kupferskupfers Posts: 246
    Martin and others – I think this discussion could be a bit friendlier. Maybe I’m wrong, but if I come to a new place as a newbie I usually watch and listen with a bit more patience and not clop into the door as if I would already know it all. Everyone in this thread is drawing typefaces for much longer than you are, Martin, and they take the time to offer their advice and point of view for free. Not saying that Jackson’s reply is particular constructive, but I can only guess that some may have gotten the impression that your attitude is a tad cheeky?
  • I wasn't aware my attitude was "cheeky". Perhaps I should state I have autism and tend to come on a little strong while there are actually no angry emotions. I will however point out when someone isn't treating me right. Ray has been constructive; I just don't agree with him on every point and I have different strategies and target audiences in mind. As for Jackson, his comment here seems to have been a reference back to another thread where he showed the same lack of constructive statements and I tire of it quickly.
    Everyone in this thread is drawing typefaces for much longer than you are, Martin, and they take the time to offer their advice and point of view for free.
    That really doesn't mean they can say just about anything though. You're implying a hierarchy with this statement and I don't appreciate it. I respect people for what they say, not because they've been in the industry longer. I will watch my tone in writing, but please be more constructive and don't assume so much, people. I have my input regardless of the relatively short time I've been designing typefaces.
  • Jacques Le BaillyJacques Le Bailly Posts: 68
    edited October 2014
    I didn't want to sound negative or critical !

    What I wanted to say is that you might want to decide where and how to sell your designs, after you have finished them or achieved a certain amount of work.

    Like many other design specialties, the design process is not a straight line. Maybe you would start by wanting to sell your designs using MyFonts, but after you have worked on it you might decide to sell them through another distributor.

    And with "contra-productive" I meant that you shouldn't constrain yourself in any way up front.
  • Suggesting you put in more effort was meant to be constructive. I'll be more delicate in the future.
  • Jay LanglyJay Langly Posts: 33
    edited October 2014
    Martin: the type industry is made up of like 70% autists, 20% too cool for school, and 10% just randomly brutally honest people. Or something like that
    Judging by the 'something like that' I assume you are joking — how can you pull a figure like 70% out and say that 70% of type designers are autistics… Is this meant in the same vain as when people say they 'are insomniacs' becauase they couldn't sleep til 2am one night or they 'have OCD' because they had a day when they washed the dishes a little too much — when actually to have any of these conditions is much more serious than that…
  • Yªssin BªggªrYªssin Bªggªr Posts: 73
    edited October 2014
    Martin, you can make a distribution deal with a foundry where they don't own the design any more than myfonts would. Something like "We will promote and sell your typeface for X years (renewable) for Y percent."

    But there is nothing wrong with going to myfonts. I know that many designers make a good living with it. It is definitly a good way to avoid taking care of the business side.

    Personally it is not the place where I want my work to be. There is so much stuff on there, that anything will be lost in the sea a few months after being released. Also, the dynamic of extreme discounts to enter the hot new fonts really devaluates the work, which I think is the exact opposite of what a Foundry should be doing. And then, if you actually manage to get a bestseller, you can be sure it will be "copied", pretty quick and probably multiple times. In the last 3 years almost everybody used to release some sort of geometric sans. Now it seems that the "roughly-printed", shadow and whatever effects seems to be the "trend" to follow. At least when you are on a foundry, typefaces that are clearly competing with your work don't appear on the same page, costing 20$ less.
  • Judging by the 'something like that' I assume you are joking — how can you pull a figure like 70% out and say that 70% of type designers are autistics…
    Yes and
    Is this meant in the same vain as when people say they 'are insomniacs' becauase they couldn't sleep til 2am one night or they 'have OCD' because they had a day when they washed the dishes a little too much — when actually to have any of these conditions is much more serious than that…
    no.
  • ybaggar?

    I thought this was a "real names" forum.
  • kupferskupfers Posts: 246
    And that makes Yassin a troll?!
  • Yassin is my first name, Baggar my last name. The dog ate a few letters but it's pretty "real".
    + http://typedrawers.com/discussion/comment/9846/#Comment_9846
  • kupferskupfers Posts: 246
    Jackson, this is silly. Bye.
  • What I wanted to say is that you might want to decide where and how to sell your designs, after you have finished them or achieved a certain amount of work.
    But that's where I am. I've done over 23 typefaces but finished just a few and released even fewer. I never sold licenses though, so now that I have two new typefaces just about finished I'm starting to look where I want to sell.
    Like many other design specialties, the design process is not a straight line. Maybe you would start by wanting to sell your designs using MyFonts, but after you have worked on it you might decide to sell them through another distributor.
    That's exactly the idea. I'm not seriously looking into foundries right now. I will do that later. I've decided to use MyFonts to start selling some licenses and start building an online type portfolio and the rest will follow. This is a starting point.
    Suggesting you put in more effort was meant to be constructive. I'll be more delicate in the future.
    In that case I apologize for my reaction. I didn't like hearing it because I'm rather obsessive when it comes to my research but in this case it was a conscious decision not to. I just don't feel ready to be concerned with foundries right now and just want a simple start on MyFonts. I'm psychologically not in a great position, so for now I want to start releasing on a platform I'm very familiar with so meanwhile I can focus my attention on other things. This is only the beginning of my career as a type designer and I plan on getting a master's degree in typography & communication after my current study, so there will be plenty of time to do proper research into the foundries. I'm already keeping a very extended collection of pictures and specimen from a lot of foundries so I do have some ideas on where I would like to release, but I haven't looked into the technical side of things because I haven't yet reached the point where I want to start doing that. The fact that my strategy and feelings about my current position were seen as merely laziness is what got me frustrated. Too many assumptions were being made about me. It's understandable to some extent because most of you don't know me, but it's not a good way to start with so many assumptions about someone.
    But please think for a few more minutes longer next time before you flat out disagree with someone as experienced as Ray when it comes to marketing and finding your niche.
    I didn't flat out disagree with him. It's just that his post seems to be focused at beginning type designers. I've been involved with type for some years, so I already made the considerations he alludes to and I decided on a different approach. Also, I've been on Typophile for years as well, so it's not like this is the first time I'm discussing these things or hearing these tips for the first time. Ray's post was insightful, but I don't have to agree that this should be the way to handle things.
  • But there is nothing wrong with going to myfonts. I know that many designers make a good living with it. It is definitly a good way to avoid taking care of the business side.
    Actually from what I've seen, the serious type designers don't use MyFonts exclusively. I wouldn't release through MyFonts exclusively either. I just consider it to be a good starting point. I do want to release through other foundries as well and through my own platform.
    There is so much stuff on there, that anything will be lost in the sea a few months after being released.
    Yes and no. It will be lost in the sea in the sense that eventually there will be no direct access to the fonts anymore as it's no longer presented on the front page (though in the top panel it promotes older typefaces so access does return temporarily). However, many type foundries seem to release through MyFonts as well as through their own platform, and so MyFonts offers a nice platform to browse through these fonts quickly. I often just look up a foundry, a type designer, a tag or look through what else a specific type designer or foundry offers, or what other typefaces there are with the same tag or which typefaces are supposedly similar to the one you're viewing. I check MyFonts every day and I actually see good typefaces keep returning. They're usually not lost in the sea. I have to acknowledge however that it might be due to my own behavior that I keep seeing these typefaces. If you check MyFonts sporadically and don't browse, I'm sure you can get the impression that after a short while your typefaces become lost in the sea.
    Also, the dynamic of extreme discounts to enter the hot new fonts really devaluates the work, which I think is the exact opposite of what a Foundry should be doing.
    Do you think the extreme discounts is what gets you into the Hot New Fonts section? I never considered that. I do agree however that the extreme discounts devalue the work. Frankly I don't understand why you would give an 80% discount. I'm not going to offer such discounts. I think in some ways at least it's a better strategy to offer 1 style for free rather than have a discount on the whole typeface.
  • Jos Buivenga's approach inspired me a lot. I don't think his success is repeatable necessarily with this approach, but I like it. I want to offer people some freebies now and then, make it possible for people to properly test a typeface out and distribute the typeface among people who normally don't tend to purchase fonts. One normally doesn't think of these people as the target audience, but I strongly suspect these are the kind of people who create a marketing buzz and ultimately indirectly affect sales. I think that's part of why Buivenga's approach worked so well.
  • Filip ZajacFilip Zajac Posts: 16
    I have come across this discussion for several times within my circles. And realised two things: Making fonts is for everyone fun part of the business. Unfortunately, it is often less than half of the whole type foundry business. Then there are jobs like promotion and selling. Included the website and marketing campaigns, then running all of those social media.

    I and some friends thought about to make some ready-made solution for type foundries as a result of a discussion about the new web for a new typeface. We have just come up with some proposals.

    I think even for established foundries, having own e-commerce is a dream – looks like must have, but when it comes to the realisation, it becomes a nightmare. Then arise questions like, should we promote type foundry, or should we promote font as a product? Same story again.

    So why don't we build a customisable web template for type foundries? It could help overcome at least technical obstacles. Let say template should cover typical issues like a font tester, specimen, e-commerce and web font server. Hope sharing the costs across several foundries makes everything more affordable. Just my few cents.
  • @Filip Zajac I've read your document with much interest and think it worth pointing out one observation that struck me. While it generally holds true that pitching in together drives down cost, I have a hunch that this is an over optimistic bias in this case.

    From my own limited experience (which is in particular building my own foundry site, one designers foundry site, and maintaining a Wordpress plugin for type designers) the point of a foundry having their own site seems to a large part motivated by doing things their way. This goes for the catalog and offering structure, pricing, checkout flows, EULAs, font delivery, marketing...

    I agree that having a "technical building" block to multiply sounds like the reasonable thing. However, when software has to work more generally, not just specifically, it usually increases complexity and with that initial investment and future maintenance cost. If there is any advice I may offer it would be to not opt for customizability, but for finding the most viable unifying solution.

    From what I read it's somewhat unclear do you want this to be a platform or a managed solution - but I think there might be a demand for the later, especially if cost is somehow tied to sales, so the initial jump is easier to make for a designer or foundry to strike out with their own shop.
  • Filip ZajacFilip Zajac Posts: 16
    edited May 6
    @Johannes Neumeier Wow, I haven't expected somebody would read it. Thanks for your insights! Maybe you could share more even more. 

    Previously I have been working at Webnode and Kentico — Both CMS solutions but for different users. I feel quite confident that it's somehow doable. However, unless somebody tries it, we don't know the truth.

    Would you mind to start a new discussion, so we don't spoil this one?
  • Dave CrosslandDave Crossland Posts: 958
    edited May 8
    I found the below in draft form, I guess from September 2014, and it's not clear who I was replying to, lol. If it was David Berlow, it will be pretty hilarious given that since then I commissioned some libre fonts from him; and he and Sam are very clear on the direct benefits of libre licensing of those fonts to them.

    Did some posts in this thread disappear?

    "I'm curious where you are getting this impression from. I have seen people paid more and more for developing libre fonts as time goes on, especially from Google, and I know that Google pays significantly more for more experienced designers than recent graduates. You also have to keep in mind that while the fees total more for a project that takes 9 months than a project that takes 3 weeks, the quick projects are better paid on a pro rata basis. I believe I stay in touch on very good terms with all of the designers who have done commissions for Google. So your guesses aren't accurate :)

    In the recent creative review article on the [then] new Dalton Maag site, the critic of DMs gratis-for-noncommercial fonts (which is another example of the marketing technique I describe above) says that they give away 1 style in the same manner, but giving away the whole family is seen as too risky.

    http://www.creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog/2014/september/try-before-you-buy

    This seems odd to me, because it ignores the reality of huge libraries available on subscription."

    Since 2014 both things only continued. I'm curious if someone from DaMa will comment on how their 2014 experiment worked out 3-4 years later!
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