For the creation of an International Association of Type Designers. Post your proposals here.

Die in-dryfounDie in-dryfoun Posts: 27
edited June 2023 in Type Business
Some members of this forum have expressed their interest in helping to found a new International Association of Type Designers aimed at defending our interests, providing legal advice, and combining strategies to counter abuses and monopolistic practices in the font market.
If you are also interested in this initiative, share your proposals here.


  • It's important to keep this idea alive, even if defining such an organization is not an easy task.

    At this point, we might be at the beginning of a paradigm shift, where is important to know that there are many independent type designers (probably the majority) who feel a similar way and who dare to believe that a better type market is possible. That energy is rising and it's evident, and starting to become the movement. We should speak, to our followers and customers that it is already happening!

    I don't see this as trivial negotiations about percentages, because recent events in the type industry showed that the game is not only about the profit but more and more about control.

    As per a bit more specific proposals, my current perspective is that decentralization of the market is our goal, so the foundry websites become more important. That would unburden the association of myriad technical problems since foundries already manage all of that for themselves, and put the accent of the new attitude.

    That would also lead to more appreciation for classic affiliate marketing which is way cheaper than font stores.
  • Paul HanslowPaul Hanslow Posts: 160
    @Christopher Slye, no, you are not. 
  • Die in-dryfounDie in-dryfoun Posts: 27
    edited June 2023
    We need a new kind of type conference where there are no secret, exclusive VIP parties hosted by Monotype, Morisawa and others, aimed at pampering the representatives and leaders who should defend us from those same companies.
    We need a board with leaders interested in the common good and the problems of type designers and not individuals only concerned with their professional careers and in obtaining some benefit from corporate sponsors.
  • Enrico SogariEnrico Sogari Posts: 47
    edited June 2023
    @Igor Petrovic That's pretty much the way to go. The paradox of decentralized projects is that they only work if they are run by a small (very honest and very focused) group of people - from two to four + helpers.

    I have a good name/domain for such an organization.

  • @Enrico Sogari I agree, the decision-making process is the most complicated issue to solve here. As a very general strategy, people in the executive body might be considered as temporarily elected workers (fairly compensated for their work and time), but not decision-making owners.

    That opens ten new questions, and that's why I vote for more of an ideological than technical stance in the first phase until the idea gains momentum. A small website or Medium article with a very concise manifesto could be a good start to communicating the problem with the rest of the world and raising awareness. Here we could try to more or less agree on the text.

    John's proposal that we need a kind of independent font browser is an idea with nice potential. It could be maintained through fair affiliate link percentages. I guess it could be non-profit, just a fair amount for the stable and decent functionality and maintenance.

    However, one important issue with every browser is the algorithm of presented results, since the search algorithms are elements of centralization. That's something to be worked out.

    As per ideas about browser functionality, indie foundries could fill out the form while submitting the fonts to the search base, choosing the search parameters about the style, licensing, etc.

    Also, a reasonable initial fee per uploaded font may serve as a threshold preventing generic and very low-quality uploads and could fund the human quality check.
  • JoyceKettererJoyceKetterer Posts: 792
    edited June 2023
    I'm really not comfortable taking it on faith that "Die in-dryfoun is well-known and respected in  the industry, by his given name".  I'm going to abstain from this thread.
  • It's not about you @JoyceKetterer, it's not about me either. This proposal should be about all of us, about the common interest of type designers.
    I protect my identity because monopolistic corporations often retaliate against those who oppose them.
    I think this project is really important and I don't want to be an obstacle for it to continue.
    So, this is my last post. If we don't unite and defend our interests in an effective, organized way, the precariousness of our work will become even more accentuated.
    Good luck!
  • Chris LozosChris Lozos Posts: 1,458
    more confused than ever
  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 2,145
    I thought I knew who Die-in-dryfoun is, but having exchanged messages with them, I realized I was mistaken, so am as much in the dark as everyone else!
  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 2,974
    I agree with much of that, Patrick, except for the inevitability of any alternative distribution channel ending up like Monotype or worse. If that is a concern, though, then collective ownership by folks with kerning pairs to their names seems even more critical.

    Ownership is eveything.
  • Dave CrosslandDave Crossland Posts: 1,391
    edited June 2023

    I propose that anyone who has designed and published four typefaces be eligible for membership, except present employees or contractors of Monotype, Apple, Google, Microsoft and Adobe

    I too subscribe to the Marx maxim, "I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member."

    Groucho of course.

    The vast majority of the contractors for Google Fonts are small independent type designers, not even foundries, and it seems to me that Adobe Fonts is also stacked high with independents.

    So this proposal seems to exclude almost everyone already within arms reach of making a living drawing type. Without the fonts they make that customers want to buy, I doubt there's enough revenue volume for a new distributor to break even. 

    It's fine with me if I'm not invited to the cabal meetings, and it's fine with me if you think Google Fonts doesn't support independent type designers, and you won't collaborate on libre software projects that would help you. 

    But y'all been sleeping on 🤣
  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 2,974
    Y'all been sleeping on
    I have my eye on it, as one part of the technology we may need. I think the problem with it is largely one of lack of consultation and hence, limited engagement from people who were just assumed would think it was wonderful (if they knew about it at all). Like, did anyone ask designers, foundries, or users if a one-click install app was what was primarily wanted or needed? I like that it is built with decentralisation in mind, and is open source, and maybe its time will come, or it will be part of a solution.
  • Dave CrosslandDave Crossland Posts: 1,391
    edited June 2023
    Don't worry John, since you've worked for every big tech company you are surely excluded from Diedie's cartel. 
  • Ramiro EspinozaRamiro Espinoza Posts: 839
    edited June 2023
    Dave Crossland trolling this initiative and calling it a “cartel” is a sign that we are on a good path. Perhaps he is afraid that in the future we will be able to improve the working conditions of the contractors that Google Fonts employs as workforce.
  • Dave CrosslandDave Crossland Posts: 1,391
    Dave Crossland trolling this initiative and calling it a “cartel” is a sign that we are on a good path. Perhaps he is afraid that in the future we will be able to improve the working conditions of the contractors that Google Fonts employs as workforce.
    Did you know that John was involved in de-csrtel-ing Atypi, so Adobe could join? 

    I'm happy to hear suggestions for working condition improvements! :)

  • @yanone, don't give up. People always express their need for change then freak out when they see it coming. What you're doing is innovative and would certainly help independents control their own destiny. I think you can probably use a simpler road map and easier-to-understand charting to show people, and definitely better marketing (I really thought was abandoned and you'd moved on to other things).

    I wouldn't dwell on the spurious cartel talk, or make it a sticking point. People who are saying the big companies shouldn't be part of an independents' initiative have just been stung by the infiltration via sponsorship and lobbying they've seen happen with other trade organizations over the decades. Any group formed with clear guidelines and enough focus can easily instate guards against such things.
  • Dave CrosslandDave Crossland Posts: 1,391
    It's easy to say don't give up, but when will we see integrated into
  • Patrick GriffinPatrick Griffin Posts: 81
    edited June 2023
    When it's easier to understand how to get it working within Canada Type's site parameters :)

    I think that's probably the lack of adoption issue @yanone is having. People are reluctant to change the way their own custom sites work in order to integrate outside tech. In Canada Type's case, we just need to figure out what needs to be done and how much trouble it is to do it.
  • Dave CrosslandDave Crossland Posts: 1,391
    edited June 2023
    When your web developer found it difficult to understand, did they schedule a call with Yanone and yet find him a jibbering cipher?

    The documentation he already provided seemed extensive to me, plus all the source code is there - and he had an open door for such calls. I understand the phone did not ring.

    Perhaps this is a vignette example of what he said about the widespread basic understanding of collaboration being lacking. 
  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 2,974
    edited June 2023
    @Ruixi Zhang
    I find the idea of excluding designers who take “big company” commissions startling.
    It’s a stupid idea. Also, it isn’t exactly what Nick wrote, which was in any case his personal opnion and didn’t receive any positive uptake from anyone else. It’s a distraction.
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