price quotation for a new custom font

Yomar AugustoYomar Augusto Posts: 16
edited October 2012 in Type Business
I'm starting a new price quotation for a new custom font for a BIG client, and I need some help, the work consist in a font with 3 weights with a basic character set (256glyphs) and I always have problems to find the right quotation. After some research decided to charge 21k (euro) for the project - 7k per weight but the client wants to own the font, so decided to add 150% plus in the price, so + 63K, bringing in a total of 84k for the project. I'm looking for some opinions about my decision, if I'm doing right proceeding like this? Thanks a lot.


  • James MontalbanoJames Montalbano Posts: 939
    edited October 2012
    Remind your client that if they wanted to purchase an enterprise license for an existing font with print, web font, e-book and commercial pdf rights it would cost them in the area of $13–15K per font, and perhaps more.
  • Sounds good to me.
  • If your client balks at the 84K price, you could also offer your client different exclusivity periods. 1 year, 3 years, 5 years and adjust the fee accordingly. But if they insist on owning it, go for the 84K.
  • thanks a lot James! thank you. Thank you Jackson also
  • Hey Yomar, curious to know how the client took it?
    Also I'm confused about the calculation. Wouldn't 21k + 150% = 52.5k? (21 + 21*1.5) or is my maths wrong...
  • Hey Yomar, curious to know how the client took it?
    Also I'm confused about the calculation. Wouldn't 21k + 150% = 52.5k? (21 + 21*1.5) or is my maths wrong...
  • hey Jay, nothing really happened, the possible client didn't want to push forward, sorry about my late reaction. BEst Yomar
  • Thanks for posting hard numbers Bruno!
  • Thanks, Bruno. It's great that you share your perspective on custom font pricing. It's very helpful, indeed. I think we all struggle with that aspect.

    I think your pricing structure is right on. My pricing has been somewhere in the range of 17-20K, depending on the complexity and number of glyphs. Although, I have experienced a lack of commitment from clients when going over the 20K limit.

    I am curious though, in your experience, the percent of clients that opt for ownership of the fonts and are willing to pay double the price. Thanks again.
  • I think that a price of around US$ 20-25k per weight is appropriate for a Western European glyph set (ANSII), giving the client three years exclusivity. If they want to own the rights, double the price.
    On a work-for-hire project, your hypothetical type designer's billing rate would work out to US$266–333 per hour.

  • Those rates aren't really out of line from my experiences with agency rates: about $150/hr for a young designer's time, $250/hr for a senior designer, and $+300/hr for a creative director's time.
  • LetterModeller, you need to change to your full name.
    all these millionaires
  • Thierry BlancpainThierry Blancpain Posts: 173
    edited December 2013
    I do think Bruno’s advice is great, but also unrealistic when dealing with smaller companies. A young company with decent funding may pay 30k for a custom typeface, but will rarely pay 100k or such, while that is pocketchange for a company the size of Nokia (or the World Cup, or... any other recent, big DaltonMaag client).

    The only question is, can you serve that smaller customer while still making a profit? Probably yes, if you structure the deal cleverly. Most likely by not including things like manual hinting or a super extended characterset in such a price.
  • Bruno, I wonder if you'll post hard salary numbers on again; you used to include figures like £26,000–£40,000 :)
  • If they think that you're too expensive and argue that they can have lots of fonts for 'free' from other sources then tell them to go to hell.
    That's the best news freelance type designers have heard all year!! Happy Xmas everyone!
  • From what I have seen, only the very high end folks are charging $20-25K USD per style. You can get some very big type designer names at $80–120K USD for a four-member fami

    Back about four years ago I did some pricing and found that I could get some pretty solid work from designers I trusted who were not really super big name designers, but solid known quantities, around $5K per style, or $20K USD for a four-member family, including CE support, and buying all rights.

    Now admittedly, there's been some inflation, and more importantly that was the depths of the recession, so maybe people were willing to work cheaper then than they would be now.

    Certainly I am slow enough that if I was doing it I would be charging more than $5K per style, for sure.
  • I got a quote for a 4 weight family a few years ago from an experienced designer, and it was in the range of $40k - that was a rough initial figure, we did not go ahead with it so did not get into details that may have affected the price. One thing he did mention was that his pricing was based on what he felt the font would make him retail.
  • Bruno, I wonder if you'll post hard salary numbers on again; you used to include figures like £26,000–£40,000 :)
    A £33k salary also lines up with a designer billing just above $200/hr at an agency.
  • I have several quotes out at the prices Bruno champions. I'll let you know what happens.
  • Jackson, you're probably thinking monthly. I think they're talking annual salary. £33K is $50K on the upside. That's $25/hour. x150 makes $3750. That's less than 20% of a $20K charge.

    Probably an amazing dental plan, though.
  • RalfRalf Posts: 170
    edited December 2013
    you will still end up at the $20-25 k tag. There is no way around it if you actually want to live.
    But why should your calculation be true for any custom font, made by any designer anywhere on the world. Phrasing this in such an absolute way makes it obviously unrealistic.
    All they manage to do is to devalue the product we create, and to make it harder and harder to make a living from what we love doing.
    I consider that a myth. For every product or service one person or company will offer, there will be someone who will offer it cheaper. I don't think that was any different even 2000 years ago. If the availability of lower offers would always devaluate products and services, every price of every product or service would be at its lowest. And each industry should create industry-wide cartel to keep prices up artificially.
    I agree, it is crazy to ask for less than you actually need just to get a job. But what you need is up to any individual person or company.
    But this also means it’s strange that designers ask in forums “What should I charge for …?”. No one can answer that. You need to calculate your time and costs and the offer must reflect exactly that and nothing else. If the client is not willing to pay that, then don’t take the job. In that regard I agree to Bruno.
  • Ralf H. Seriously, change your name to the full name. Last warning.
  • Griffin. I'm just saying those are typical numbers for salary/billing at agencies. They might seem unbalanced to you they aren't that ridiculous when you consider overhead and the other employees who aren't directly billable.
  • Jackson, I just noted that the £33K you thought was monthly is actually annual — which in this case means nowhere near the $200/hour you deduce by comparison. I never said anything about what was balanced and what wasn't. I understand top-heavy/bottom-light industrial/corporate hierarchies, and they are what they are - though people always have other options if they want them.
  • I'm not deducing anything, those numbers come from my actual experiences working with real design agencies.

    I don't know where you're pulling this "the £33K you thought was monthly is actually annual" shit from but come on.
  • No need to get snarky. You did write "A £33k salary also lines up with a designer billing just above $200/hr," didn't you?
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