Looking for guidance on publishing my first font.

Thomas Weakley
Thomas Weakley Posts: 59
edited January 2020 in Type Business
I anticipate publishing a display typeface in the next few months. I'd like to offer an all-around commercial license at an affordable price but I'm open to other suggestions. At the end of the day I want to do what is best for the design community as a whole. 

If I sell it should I release a trial version? 
This seems very messy. I've seen it mitigated a number of ways. Some designers offer a trial version that is missing characters. If the typeface is part of a family I have seen only one weight released as a demo. As a designer I understand that it's difficult to know if a typeface will work for a project without trying it first. However I don't imagine I'll have time or resources to take action against people misusing a trial version. I suppose it will just be an honor system of sorts. It seems as if releasing a demo on one site means 10–15 other sites will procure it and release it without your consent.

What service should I use to publish the font? 
I've been leaning toward Fontspring. What does the process for releasing through Fontspring look like? Creative Market also looks good but I'd need to go through the application process first. What are the implications of offering it totally free — maybe as a Google font? How do free font services affect the type design community? 

What is best practice for licensing?
I don't know where to start here. Are there any resources I could tap for this? Any boiler-plate licenses that I could acquire?

Should I push myself to add Latin accents?
I've considered increasing the usability by adding latin accents. This is a daunting task for someone who is not multilingual but I'd imagine publishing a font without Latin accents is frowned upon and cheapens the typeface. 

I understand this is a lot of questions. Any info helps. Thank you!



  • Thomas Phinney
    LICENSING: For licensing, “best practice” depends on your objectives, and where you land on the spectrum of “protect my rights” vs “let users use the font for stuff.”

    ACCENTS: Any font that does not have basic western European diacritics is crippled. You have done 85% of the work to get only 25% of the Latin-font market (or something like that). There are very few Latin-based languages that don’t need diacritics, other than English. Such a font also isn’t ready for Google, and I expect most other vendors would reject it as well.

    I did a quick check, just using é and s with acute, as plausible stand-ins for “has western European accents” and “has eastern European accents” (possibly suggestive of ~ Adobe Latin 2 and Adobe Latin 3 language coverage levels). ALL the first hundred or more sans serif fonts on Fontspring have e with acute, and probably 85-90% of them have s with acute.
  • Adam Jagosz
    Adam Jagosz Posts: 689
    edited January 2020
    FONTSPRING: I suppose an application process precedes cooperation just like with Creative Market, and any other distributor. Plus, Fontspring is rather selective. But definitely worth a try!
  • JoeManbeck
    JoeManbeck Posts: 26
    edited January 2020
    Hi Thomas!
    Joe from Fontspring here. Feel free to drop us a line directly at any point if you have any questions...foundries@fontspring.com
    1. We offer a easy to enroll in demo font program (it's honestly just radio button). We create the demo fonts from your uploaded fonts that replaces all characters except A-Z, a-z, 0-9 (omitting the number 4), and a smattering of punctuation with our logo. It makes the file helpful for testing and comping, but pretty useless in a finished project. Our position has always been that if someone wants to pirate your font they're going to find a way, whether it be a sketchy site or a torrent...we wanted a system that makes it easy to test (nearly) fully, on your own system, with your own programs.
    2. We think the process is pretty easy with us (but we're obviously biased). We typically ask prospective foundries to submit samples of their work and then begin the sign-up process after a brief review. We can answer any specific concerns you have directly.
    3. Most of our foundries use our standard desktop license (https://www.fontspring.com/lic/fontspring/desktop). Our position here is that licensing should be pretty straightforward and we've intentionally avoided onerous and difficult to comply with terms. Check out our Worry-Free page for more info on our take on licensing: https://www.fontspring.com/worry-free
    4. I agree with Thomas here. We're much less likely to accept a family without support for diacritics.
  • I cannot answer your other questions, but I will remark that designing Latin accents is definitely useful, and not a ton of work as well. Any academic work, or really anything beyond plain English, requires them. Not to mention that many people have names with accents in them!
  • JoyceKetterer
    As far as best practices go... there really is no uniform answer.  But if you want to engage with the questions I ask myself about writing a EULA search my name on YouTube for a few lectures I gave at Atypi.