I have a client interested in a cyrillic extension to one of my retail fonts. I have long been wanting to get into Cyrillic, and now I could also get paid, which is great of course, but I don't have a clue what to charge. Any ballpark estimates would be greatly appreciated.
- six masters, three of which italic
- a 5 year exclusive license (for cyrillic only)
- just basic cyrillic, nothing obscure
- I like the job for more than the money, so I won't charge too much, and I definitely don't want to factor in the extra time needed to learn the ins and outs of cyrillic.
- no hinting
All the best,
I've noticed that you will also get very different takes if you ask Cyrillic type designers versus Cyrillic-using graphic designers... The former are much more conservative.
I relied primarily on a number of reference sources, most notably the books:
Language. Culture. Type. Ed. John Berry
Paratype Originals Digital Typefaces. 2004 | 2005. Ed. Yakupov and Yefimov.
…and various studies of Cyrillic art and design—Constructivist posters, of course.
The Paratype web site character map tables were also very helpful.
And discussions at the online forum Typophile.
The main principle I followed was to look at native Cyrillic types in the same genre as my design, and determine the shape of the norm for a particular character within that genre. Then, basing my glyph on that shape (with suitable adjustments to harmonize with the rest of my glyphs), I would avoid making glaring errors that would annoy native Cyrillic typographers.
Even so, a design is a design, irrespective of precedents and users, and one should stick to the principle themes that structure one’s invention, and one’s own taste.
For instance, does one give straight or curved legs to ж and к?
Unless one’s design is a slavish revival, there is no right or wrong when just those letters are considered, the important thing is to draw the legs so that those characters work well with the rest of the font.
This is merely the same principle that Latin designers use, for instance in deciding whether /a and /g should be one or two storey.
That is why I recommended the Paratype specimen as a source for native Cyrillic design.
I wouldn’t worry too much about “it just looks wrong” if your typeface is original (not a revival or genre exercise). I may be Latin-centric, but I always think of those faces such as the wonderful and popular Souvenir with its “wrong” /g, and apply the same criteria to Cyrillic.
Is there any reason Cyrillic and Greek should be more conventional than Latin?
Your fees shouldn't be determined by the amount of joy a project will bring. Your time is finite, it's the one thing you can never make more of. Times may get hard later in life and this additional income may help.
To determine what you can charge, factor in the following:
- How big is the company?
- What's their revenue?
- Add at least 30% because you'll end up doing admin
Another approach is to consider what lifestyle you want. How much does this lifestyle cost and how long will the work take? if there's no recurring work afterwards, I'd add an additional percentage because you're not guaranteed a full time income.
Please don't shoot yourself in the foot and charge a pittance. It hurts everyone in the end. By going high from the beginning, there's room to negotiate the price down. It's almost impossible to do the reverse.
To the point about pricing based on the value of your time: There is a way to thread this needle that lets you get the exciting jobs while still conveying to the client that your time has high value. GIve them the price it "should" be and then also give them a discount. List both on the invoice. There's no shame in saying a particular project is so exciting to you that you'll do it for next to nothing. If anything, it shows that you're doing well enough to be able to afford to care about things other than money.
So perhaps Jasper could offer his services in advising on Latin type design, in exchange for advice from a native Cyrillic type designer.
Google should really commission another Cyrillic font so Moscow doesn't resemble a 19th century Maine prison menu.
Going back to the topic, I would price the extension between 50% and 100% of the original work. On one hand, you've already done the overall design of the typeface, on the other hand, you have to draw about as many characters as you already have and probably pay a consultant.
I think that if they did extend their entire library to cyrillic and greek, we'd start complaining about how Google is pushing all the competition out...