Dalton Maag Cheap Licenses and Free Full Trials

Jay LanglyJay Langly Posts: 33
edited September 2014 in Type Business
Some of you have probably seen their new licensing model by now. A quick run down though:
Trial Licence

End-User Licence
From £15 per font style for one user

Webfont Licence
£48 per font style per domain name for 1 year
£480 per font style per domain name, perpetual

App Licence
£48 per font style per app for 1 year
£480 per font style per app, perpetual

Unlimited Licence
£9,375 per font style for an unlimited number of users within your organization
What do others think of this? Is this the way things are headed? (Grilli Type, Swiss Typefaces and Milieu Grotesque have been offering partial trials for a while now — seems to be a Swiss thing!)

Why is the 'high-end' of the type design market converging with the low-end (I'm thinking of Ten Dollar Fonts here, and MyFonts megadiscounts). Is this sustainable? Or necessary now (due to such offerings, and of course, Google Fonts). Would this combat piracy?

I would think Dalton Maag is in a unique position to be able to do this as well since I imagine they, more than most type foundries have more revenue from commission work...

Would this affect other typeface distributors' models? I'm very curious to hear others thoughts (not that I really have a stake in this).

Edit: Creative Review
"The reality of the graphic design world is that fonts are distributed amongst designers for free. When a designer begins work on a specific project they often end up emailing all their buddies to track down a copy of a specific font so that they can play with it. If they like it and end up using it, then the designer will most likely suggest their client purchase the font. This is a reality that Dalton Maag embraced with the idea of releasing trial copies for all their fonts for free," he says.
Method and Dalton Maag say the new licensing options were influenced by digital music services such as iTunes and Spotify. Lahdesmaki says he hopes the trial font and new licensing options on the site "will fundamentally challenge and change the typography design industry, much in the same way that the music industry changed with the arrival of MP3s."


  • I don't see how this is "converging with the low-end".
    It's just a marketing strategy that seems to work because blogs have picked up on it.

    We at fatype have been offering free trials as well. swisstypefaces deserve the credit for coming up with that (AFAIK). I think it's a great idea, but it also depends on the foundry, its market, its strategy and its fonts. There is not one strategy that will work for everybody.

    The big move there is offering full free trials.
    But they are right, many graphic designers already get full trial fonts from their friends anyway.

    The rest doesn't sound particularly special. Nor cheap (which is good).
    15£ is for one user. A desktop font for 3 users (most foundries offer 3-5 users as default) costs 36£ or 58$.

    Dropping traffic stats for webfonts is simpler but annual licensing is not. A bakery that wants to run its website for 5 years will end up paying more with that model than with a perpetual license based on traffic (plus the hassle or renewal). So it mostly profits the biggest clients, which is where the money's at. That sounds like a loss to me. Why should a small client pay the same as a big one for webfonts, but a lot less for desktop?

    PS: I've used my twitter handle as username. Open enough I think. If not please delete my account. I don't see why people should find industry forum posts when they google my name.
  • Jay LanglyJay Langly Posts: 33
    edited September 2014
    I don't see how this is "converging with the low-end".

    The rest doesn't sound particularly special. Nor cheap (which is good).
    I can agree with that actually. I thought of it in terms of myself, as a lone freelancer I feel this is quite cheap especially going from $81 USD per font previously (on MyFonts at least, for up to 5 users, which is actually how much it would also cost under the new licensing system for 5 users) – perhaps it reflects the way graphic design is going with increasing lone freelancing situations.
  • Yeah, not sure why this is being described as cheap. Tons of respected foundries are cheaper for anything but their single computer licenses. We’re cheaper on pretty much any metric other than that. We chose our price points to support smaller studios and young designers in chosing our typefaces, but to still capture enough value from larger customers. I also I really dislike recurring billing from taking over industries, so our licenses are perpetual.

    I think their trial fonts are definitely a step in the right direction though. Font piracy is a reality and anybody who thinks they can somehow relieve their own company of that by cracking down on it harder than others is silly. We optimize for our paying customers, and the last few years have shown that ease of use and customer-friendly solutions win out. If you’re not H&Co and can’t invest hundreds of thousands into a custom solution, it’s just not worth it to even try.

    And yes, it’s weird that mostly Swiss foundries seem to do trials. I agree with Yassin that Swiss Typefaces deserves credit for coming up with the trial fonts model.
  • it’s just not worth it to even try
    This is shit. Making things harder to steal and easier to test / purchase are not mutually exclusive. In fact an ideal strategy would do both. Yes, piracy is a reality. But the majority of it is not outright malicious, most of it fall somewhere between laziness and negligence. By making it slightly more inconvenient to get / use an unlicensed font (there are lots of simple, easy things you can do that require almost no effort and inconvenience no customers) you can absolutely reduce the amount of fuzzy negligent and lazy piracy. Make it easier to buy and test fonts solves the same problem from an other angle.
  • …most of it fall somewhere between laziness and negligence.
    Dalton Maag has addressed that by renaming of the the trial fonts with the prefix “Trial”. I think this is a smart strategy; it reminds designers to buy a license regardless of where they acquired the trial fonts. It also allows art directions and print production staff in larger firms to catch the interns and junior designers using fonts the firm didn’t pay for.
  • PabloImpallariPabloImpallari Posts: 773
    edited September 2014
    Lots of Dafonters have been using this model for years...
  • Lots of Dafonters have been using this model for years...
    It seems like most Goo-fonters claim this is their business model entirely.
  • PabloImpallariPabloImpallari Posts: 773
    edited September 2014
    Yes!, and it's nice to see large foundries are trying to catch up
  • Quick, somebody trademark the font name Trial and you'll own it all! :D
  • This is shit. Making things harder to steal and easier to test / purchase are not mutually exclusive. In fact an ideal strategy would do both.
    I’m speaking from a position of feasability, not what would be possibly great to do. We all have limited resources: money and more often simply our own time. And so we do what we deem the most important things possible with the resources we have available. I chose not to hunt down piracy, write DMCA takedown notices that then get ignored anyway, and so on.

    I’m not sure what things you’re talking about that are easy to do and do not inconvenience your customers. Bricking webfonts for desktop usage goes against what we allow in our EULA (which is, specifically, using webfonts during the design process in Photoshop / etc.). Asking for htaccess stuff makes the fonts super hard to use for technically less experienced users, people on hosted platforms, etc. I just don’t see what we’d do to have an actual effect on piracy that wouldn’t strongly inconvenience our customers.

    But you’re right – the two things are of course not mutually exclusive. I just chose not to spend my limited time on it.
  • Dave CrosslandDave Crossland Posts: 1,319
    edited September 2014
    Jay, why do you think these are cheap?

    Jackson, if you want more foundries to combat disrespect of monopoly rights, perhaps you could describe here what these simple, easy things are. I'm sure it would make a great presention at a few type conferences too :)
  • more foundries to combat disrespect of monopoly rights
    What are you talking about, Dave? All the small foundries are a monopoly now?
  • edited September 2014
    >troll food<
  • Jan, a copyright is a monopoly right. You have a monopoly on the distribution and modification of your fonts, yes?
  • Sorry, Dave, no. Good night.
  • kupferskupfers Posts: 259
    Not on thread topic but, moderators — why was Yassin Baggar banned? He is clearly identifyable. You are not half as stikt with other users on here. Yassin’s contribution was not offensive nor even controversial.
  • I think I banned Yassin accidentally. There’s been a steady stream of new spambots lately and I’ve had to ban a lot of accounts.
  • Even so, this is a "real names" forum. Not everyone does Twitter nor knows people by their Twitter name. just because a handful of people know someone's Twitter name doesn't qualify them for special treatment.
  • kupferskupfers Posts: 259
    Slowly! He had full info in his account earlier when I looked, website, company, links. Everyone can find out who he is. The rule to use your full real name as a must got loosened several months ago. If it’s okay for others, why not for Yassin, just because you might not have heard of him yet.
  • I agree with what you wrote about others and feel that the rules should apply equally regardless of the status of the individual, but I don't find any notice in the Real Names thread to the effect that the requirement has been loosened. I haven't noticed any other single-name users recently although I could have missed them.

    Personally I assume everything I write will be found by someone, but we have lost some valuable voices because of the Real Names requirement. Perhaps James could make TypeDrawers invisible to search engines and we could get them back? Or at least have a private forum with looser requirements.

  • Yªssin BªggªrYªssin Bªggªr Posts: 73
    edited September 2014
    Thank you for the un-ban. Sorry to continue the off-topic.
    I think I raised a reasonable reason for why I don't want to participate with my real full name. I understand the desire to avoid anonymous trolls, on the other hand anonymity on the internet allows people to express their real ideas freely, without fear of repercussions from their bosses, clients, etc. It is not as simple for everyone to "stand by your comments", it really depends your situation. An employee from corporation-foundry X might refrain from posting here because it might have negative impact on his career. Therefore this policy could prevent the expression of other point of views.

    Anyway, this has been discussed before and what I think was a reasonable solution such as generic Names for non-members – or invisible messages to non-members – have been dismissed, meaning the position for real names is firm. I respect that and certainly don't expect any special treatment.
    Feel free to ban me again then :)
  • kupferskupfers Posts: 259
    edited September 2014
  • Thierry had already convinced me at Typecon, but I was holding off on a site redesign. Dalton Maag lit a fire under my ass to just go ahead and implement the trials instead of waiting. Today I went ahead and added trial fonts to the Dunwich Type site (http://dunwichtype.com/free-trial-fonts).
  • Jay, why do you think these are cheap?
    I suppose, at first it seems cheap but if one adds things up, it's not that different! Guess it opens things up to the possbility of more single users buying single fonts – i.e. non designers?
    Lots of Dafonters have been using this model for years...
    How many Dafonters actually make a livable income from their fonts or are trying to…?
  • http://www.creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog/2014/september/fontsmith

    Font Smith just launched a new site and new licencing model
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