Let's talk about font promo material (mainly digital for online selling, I saw the other thread about printed specmens). I know it really depends on the typeface and what features are intended to be shown. But how much time do you usually dedicate to this phase, do you reuse some template images from previous specimens, do you try to standardize the specimen for each typeface.
Do you have some special tricks. For example, websites that organize font bundles often ask for cover images that don't use simple solid color background (but some pattern or image preferably) because allegedly that increases sales.
Modern/juicy/fancy-designed type specimens played an important role in my interest in type design. So in some cases, I spent even two weeks or so carefully planning each image, to show the typeface in the context at various sizes, preferable usage, while trying to establish the "theme" or "tone" of the specimen. Sometimes I felt that I wasted my time, but on the other hand, it might draw the attention of some websites that offered different ways of partnership.
This is a little off topic, but I find a lot of excellent type designers aren't as skilled at the design side of crafting images, with their visuals often appearing dated or unrefined—similar to print media from 10 years prior—which does a disservice to their beautiful letterforms. This isn't to say all type design promo images should follow the latest design trends, but the images should speak to the client/customers who you're marketing to.
I firmly believe the art of type design and graphic design do require different skill-sets. Just as a skilled type designer can easily identify poorly crafted forms, a skilled graphic designer can just as quickly identify poorly designed promo images.
(Unfortunately, even for established typefaces, there are issues around showing real usage.)
But I’ve never really liked the faux stuff, even in old specimen books. There is something wonderful about the traditional form of specimen, with its declensions of bizarre words coalescing into concrete poetry—eulogized in Alastair Johnston’s Alphabets to Order. Like many type designers, I have a large collection of foundry specimen books, ancient and modern, which occupy me in many happy hours of perusal, and, as I also seem to spend a lot of time making specimens, I sometimes wonder if my career isn’t is in type specimens, rather than font making.
I still think there’s a place for self-descriptive banner ads/specimen images—and of course the moving image in new media is well suited to that, especially to show variable fonts, and interactively.
https://www.behance.net/gallery/84533831/TDR-font -- for example here I had some fun and felt like experimenting, I have far greater presentations.
The question amounts, in my opinion, to "how fast do you build a car". Does it run? Does it leak? Does it break down on certain roads?
But, in general, less then half a day. Maybe 2-3 more hours to really polish it, this includes technical time like rendering and so on. We are past pretty pictures. What will give the edge now is animations. I wouldn't venture so far as to say "memes", but I'm certainly not excluding it.
1. Also, as you may notice in newer projects in the portfolio, they are more image-heavy and have less text. I design for mobile first now, just as with websites.
2. Some people on our side of the Iron curtain used art albums to cut some images out and frame them, stick them on their bed frames and so on. In modern terms, design so that people would want to download the picture as an avatar or a (smartphone) wallpaper, or you design some quote with your font, that some people would re-post on their facebook. And in the bottom right corner of the quote image, is a link to your font shop. Bam! Sales boost!
3. Needless to say, always have good grammar.
I try to make each "promo images set" (maybe that's a better word than specimen) aligned with the latest design trends. My idea was to get my font projects featured on Behance, and reach other designers (font users) that way.
Also, I realized that affiliates on stores like Creative Market use Pinterest very much to get their affiliate sales. So they just pin some great images from the promo set and include in their collections.
That's why I put so much effort into promo images. But I feel two weeks is way too much, because some fonts make few sales which frustrates me.
My first "real" font family is still in progress, so this is the experience I have selling "small fonts", one weight, ultra display/color fonts etc.
When I was at TypeClinic workshop in Slovenia, the mentor told me: specimen should show where you have spent the time while designing the font. So in my latest promo sets, included "The Elements Of The Typeface Style" section. This puts design features/elements in focus, like ink traps, angled terminals, lightened joints etc. Most detailed is for my font Zoran, which has 23 style elements listed in this section
Also, I looked at your presentation on a smartphone, and half of it is too tiny to see. Big images, big text, bare bones. It's that simple and it takes less time. TikTok will rule the land very soon, it would be a pain to have to go back and rework all our stuff. Better make it future-proof right away.
I haven't migrated to the Adobe Behance Portfolio website option, but if it is mobile-friendly and can resize my stuff, I will use only it from now on. This bugs me on the mobile webversion of Behance, I can't zoom into images when I'm not on the app - as most clients wouldn't be.
As for the picture compositions for commercial promotion, I prefer them sober and showing actual features (like in proper specimens), rather than in fake uses. I dislike fake uses.
I always disliked fake uses, but again, even fake uses can be conceived in different ways.
But again, I see the two things (technical specimens and promotional illustrations, but even a third category as narrative and detailed specimens) as integrating each other. The illustrations can be useful for promotion, a well-designed specimen is needed to show functionality and features in the more effective way.
Specimen/promo set is the bridge between type design and marketing (via graphic design) and I feel it is legitimate to establish (and play on) the "emotion" of the promo set, as any other marketing material do. It's not the quality of the typeface, but it might be beneficial for the user in terms of inspiration.
It might be misused as a deceptive tool, trying to sell a low quality font by shiny graphics, but here we expect the decent font qyality by default.
@Vasil Stanev Thanks for your carefull look and comments. It made me to ask Creative Market what percentage of customers browse and buy fonts via smartphones (because I don't see that info in "Font purchasing habits" survey that was published on Medium). I still wait for their reply.
I was extremely surprised as, after many years using typefaces mostly for commercial packaging design, when I tried a few typefaces to do personal eBooks, that very few of the typefaces I tried/tested were qualitatively adequate for immersive textsetting.
Even in terms of character set alone, there is a lot of inconsistency.
As it has been said, it seem a great number of new type designers spend a lot of time in adding each and every possible diacritic/accented letter, but often spacing and kerning are either poor, or insufficient, or not adequate for the intended use.
This convinces me more and more that the "one size fits it all" logic we are still bearing since the early days of Postscript in fact brings poor quality, unless a person is skilled enough to space and select the correct weights for achieving good results in the various optical sizes.
Promotion, at this point, becomes problematic. I agree with Joyce that type must be shown in use, but there is a big number of ways in which this can be done, and we are ultimately responsible of the "white noise" or empoverishment we bring when instead of showing the typeface's actual strength we just use "special effects" to show an ideal setting for its usage. That’s what I would call "fake uses", not trying to generalize.
You made me curious!