What adds value to a font?

The title says it all and all opinions are welcome.
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Comments

  • Chris LozosChris Lozos Posts: 1,372
    I can't define it but the "it" effect--that which pulls you to it.
    For others it may be a reputation or others, spread of possible usage.
  • Nick CurtisNick Curtis Posts: 113
    Is there a price point at which a cheap font becomes a — shall we say — valuable font?
  • Chris LozosChris Lozos Posts: 1,372
    Cheap and good are not the same.  Remember back when Jos released free fonts? A person starting out does not have the luxury of a seasoned successful designer with corporate backing.
  • Florian PircherFlorian Pircher Posts: 73
    edited July 12
    A cheap/free font might be valuable since it simplifies managing licenses. An expensive font might be a nuisance because it requires monthly monitoring of pageviews/active computers/…, but it’s more exclusive and provides value by differentiating the brand from others.

    The question feels too broad to give good answers. A font with few points and simple shaping rules is of value to low power devices. A font with tabular numbers is of value to table typesetters. A weight variation axis is of value to typographers who want a Quasi Demi Semi Light style. Different grades are valuable to those who print on paper of differing quality (or screens using differing renderers). A nicely drawn ornament may be of value to some, others value a family where changing styles never reflows the page. Some value economical proportions, fitting as much text as possible into a line. Clearly distinguished glyphs are valuable when displaying a password; or when learning to read. Unreadable glyphs are valuable to rebellious teens rejecting the status quo (and heavy metal bands).
  • DrawcardDrawcard Posts: 38
    edited July 12
    Speaking for myself as an end user of fonts in digital spaces, I look for (in order of importance):
    1. Overall design quality / attention to detail. In particular I'm looking for clean outlines, consistent rhythm & colour, and optical balance / corrections. 
    2. Legibility on screens is another big priority for me, with the exception that a display face might deviate from this in specific cases. But body text legibility matters a lot to me.
    3. Variable font outlines (more flexibility with weights, condensed / extended, etc) meaning less juggling of font files during development. And you can do cool things with them in CSS/JS as demonstrated at www.glyphsapp.com - mouse over the background text in the footer area!
    4. Multiple language support (at least the basic latin based support)
    5. Nice bonuses (ligatures, alternates etc.) but with more conventional character designs as the defaults.
    6. Availability & price (the budget & purpose can vary wildly for some design projects, so that influences whether I go for an OFL font at Google Fonts, or licence something from TypeKit, or buy something outright to self host, via MyFonts / FontSpring). 
  • Alex VisiAlex Visi Posts: 132
    Good quality, relevant aesthetics and marketing. Isn’t it pretty straightforward?
  • Nick CurtisNick Curtis Posts: 113
    Good quality, relevant aesthetics and marketing. Isn’t it pretty straightforward?
    And extended character sets and  cachet and flexibility and  a certain je ne sais quoi, it would seem. Thanks all for your input: it has been most helpful.

  • Alex VisiAlex Visi Posts: 132
    Good quality, relevant aesthetics and marketing. Isn’t it pretty straightforward?
    extended character sets
    Many leading foundries live with a pretty humble “European” charset, so I’m curious how much value does going beyond that add. I’m under impression that at some point extending the charset starts to take the value away by exponentially increasing time and expenses for development and maintaining, which sales in those languages are probably not going to cover. Or is someone’s experience different?
  • James PuckettJames Puckett Posts: 1,787
    I’d like to hear @Ray Larabie’s opinion on language/script expansions. He’s added Vietnamese, Cyrillic, and Greek to lots of his fonts.
  • Mark SimonsonMark Simonson Posts: 1,361
    I start with Latin 1 and 2 support (and, with recent releases, Vietnamese), and add things like Cyrillic and Greek when they are asked for.
  • Nick CurtisNick Curtis Posts: 113
    @Mark Simonson 
    I start with Latin 1 and 2 support (and, with recent releases, Vietnamese), and add things like Cyrillic and Greek when they are asked for.
    Do Cyrillic and/or Greek come at a premium, or do licenses for fonts containing same cost more?

  • Alex VisiAlex Visi Posts: 132
    edited July 14
    @Mark Simonson 
    I start with Latin 1 and 2 support (and, with recent releases, Vietnamese), and add things like Cyrillic and Greek when they are asked for.
    Do Cyrillic and/or Greek come at a premium, or do licenses for fonts containing same cost more?

    I’ve been always wondering whether foundries which do that understand that they charge premium to countries which have less money in the first place, for whom even standard license might be pretty expensive. I guess charging premium for 3+ scripts makes some sense, since that means international business, but Latin + one more doesn’t.
  • JoyceKettererJoyceKetterer Posts: 555
    @Alex Visi our intent is just the opposite.  Cyrillic (which includes the basic Latin they also use) is licensed separately from Latin and costs 1/2 the cost of Latin, which scales to the realitive labor.  Sure, if you want both it's a mark up but in the Cyrillic speaking region you'd not need both and can save by getting Cyrillic only.  
  • Alex VisiAlex Visi Posts: 132
    @Alex Visi our intent is just the opposite.  Cyrillic (which includes the basic Latin they also use) is licensed separately from Latin and costs 1/2 the cost of Latin, which scales to the realitive labor.  Sure, if you want both it's a mark up but in the Cyrillic speaking region you'd not need both and can save by getting Cyrillic only.  
    That’s super nice! Just wondering, is it ok in this case for clients from English speaking countries to get the same license if basic Latin is enough for them too?
  • JoyceKettererJoyceKetterer Posts: 555
    edited July 14
    @Alex Visi Theorically they could get the Arabic (1/4 cost of Latin licenses) and use only the basic latin but it would probably be a pain to use so I don't think they would.

    Also, It occurred to me after I posted my reply that I might have been missing your point.  You were responding to Mark's comment that he adds scripts if they are requested.  I think what he meant by that is the same thing we do (which is to say that we don't fund the development of non-latin scripts ourselves).  Instead, we wait to see if a customer commissions it.  It's true that amounts to an initial premium but there's no way around there being someone who covers those costs.  We don't let commissioning companies have an exclusive license on language expansions which means that as soon as it's done locals can license it at the scaled rate.  It's the best I can do.  
  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 1,747
    It’s probably a good idea to wait to see whether a typeface is popular in Latin, before adding Cyrillic and/or Greek.
  • Alex VisiAlex Visi Posts: 132
    Also, It occurred to me after I posted my reply that I might have been missing your point. 
    Or maybe I missed Nick’s point :smiley:
    I was talking about [not] charging premium for retail licenses, but I’d expect the client’s request to extend the language support to be paid. So I think we’re on the same page here.
  • JoyceKettererJoyceKetterer Posts: 555
    @alex visi I'm glad we agree.  I do think that the attempt with adding a new script as an update to an existing file is to make it widely available , and by not changing the price the goal is not to charge a premium.  But you're right that it amounts to a back door premium if the latin set is expensive and not useful.  There's no way to win.
  • Mark SimonsonMark Simonson Posts: 1,361
    So far, I haven't charged for the expansions, but I also don't promise when they will be available. If a customer had a deadline, though, it might be different. I also don't blame anyone for asking the customer to foot the bill.

    BTW, when I say "requests" these are often rather noncommittal, such as "Are you planning to add Cyrillic to <whatever>?" This is usually all it takes to send me down the rabbit hole. :smile:
  • Eris AlarEris Alar Posts: 324
    @Alex Visi This is such a tricky one.  There was definitely a period where a lot of foundries (including us) added scripts to their top sellers in an attempt to extend their marketability.  I'm not sure it did that, looking at our use numbers from Adobe the Latin styles still get WAY more use.  
    It's also good to factor in the bias of the store to Latin script, as they continue to lift up other scripts and attract users who need them it might change. 
  • Eris AlarEris Alar Posts: 324
    To answer the OP, for me when I look for type, I often want a large range of style, from very thin to very very heavy. Even display faces benefit from have a thin, regular, and very heavy weight to me. I I also like have some wight options in connected scripts, even ones that emulate lettering and writing. I use the weights to compensate for scale variations, aside from visual impact. 
  • Vasil StanevVasil Stanev Posts: 655
    edited July 15
    Over the years, we here have exhausted, IMPO, most of the type topics that are out there - ways to draw characters, coding, business. I would, personally, appreciate it, if new topics are either meaningful or else they don't get posted at all. Most of them were already covered before on the board. That, and there is no use in facilitating tentions over menial internet comments.
  • Eris AlarEris Alar Posts: 324
    @Vasil Stanev are you addressing me? If yes, then, not everyone has been around for years, and the search function here is limited, I know I often try searching for topics and struggle to find them (and I have been here for years on and off).
  • Vasil StanevVasil Stanev Posts: 655
    I'm not adressing you, but I didn't know the search option got messed up recently. It worked fine for me back when. Maybe the admins know why this is so??
  • Mike DugganMike Duggan Posts: 207
    Good Hinting 
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