Darden Studio launches full testing fonts

Yesterday we launched a new feature on our website.  All fonts are available for testing.  Licenses are perpetual and for the complete version of the full family.  This is an experiment partly in licensing because we have not created a separate testing license nor are we requiring customers to login with user names.  Instead, they can simply add the testing fonts to the cart and checkout using the same method as for our free font (birra).  Testing fonts are identified by the word "testing" in the file name and we have added language to the basic EULA everyone gets that modifies the rights for testing copies.  


  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 2,863
    Very interesting. Please report back on how the experiment turns out.
  • Chris LozosChris Lozos Posts: 1,457
    I hope you can share how this works out when you have time to reflect.  It seems intriguing as a concept.
  • Ethan- at the risk of sounding like I'm fishing for compliments, would you please elaborate?  
  • JoyceKettererJoyceKetterer Posts: 780
    edited November 2016
    @Ethan Dunham - this is really interesting especially given that Dalton Maag and others have reported an increase in sales by multiples.  I wonder if the difference is that they offer a complete but renamed font rather than stripped down one?  Or something about their business model (especially in the case of custom focused DM) that provided them with more room to grow in the retail sales department?

    The thing that has been really interesting for me is that in the few days since we have been quietly doing this - with no announcement to the public (I'm not counting this forum) - we have seen more downloads of the lesser known fonts than of our top one!  So far only one trial has converted to a sale (and of the top seller) but it's only been a few days.  Regardless I'm really excited to see interest in the lesser sellers.
  • Their business model is very different than ours, and so is no surprise their numbers are also very different.

    I doubt that the actual character of the font makes much difference. I'd posit it has more to do with clientele.
  • @Ethan Dunham I agree.  I've always suspected that the huge increase in sales for DM was because the launch of the testing license endeavor was their first serious foray in the marketing of the retail arm of the company.  But others (I forget who) have reported similar increases in sales.  I think those others (like DM) are offering a complete version so I wonder if that's the difference.  Do you get complaints about the nature of your trial files?
  • Since I started offering trial fonts, my results mirror @Ethan Dunham’s almost exactly. I can also report a large diversity in the types of people who take advantage of the program—from students to large firms.
  • Because we’ve been offering (limited) trial fonts for so long, it’s difficult to assess the exact effect it has on sales—and as we offer all trials as a single package, we don’t track conversion rates from trials to sales.

    What I can say is that we get plenty of positive feedback about the trials, and that many customers report that it makes it easier for them to sell a client on it. Given long’ish sales cycles in type, I wouldn’t worry too much about quick results. Happy to see more foundries are offering trial fonts (limited or not).
  • PabloImpallariPabloImpallari Posts: 773
    edited November 2016
    FWIW, I get a few daily emails of people asking to buy our fonts, despite that they are free. We explain that they are free, but some insist on buying anyway.

    I'm pretty sure that if you increase the availability of your font files to the public, sales will increase. After all, what people buy is the license, not the fonts.
  • FWIW, I get a few daily emails of people asking to buy our fonts, despite that they are free. We explain that they are free, but some insist on buying anyway.
    Do you actually end up selling licenses to people who just can’t understand the libre concept?
  • PabloImpallariPabloImpallari Posts: 773
    edited November 2016
    Sometimes. They do understand the concept of open source fonts and the SIL license, but are forced to buy a commercial license because of internal procedures, legal department request, etc, etc. I always try to avoid it, but in some cases they need it in order to be able to use the fonts.
  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 2,863
    You might also encounter people who need a particular open source license, and will pay for that. So, for example, we released Slabo under the OFL license, but if someone needs it under the Apache 2.0 license — e.g. because they want to make a modified or extended version that will not be libre —, we'll sell them that license.
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