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World events influencing sales?

James MontalbanoJames Montalbano Posts: 78
edited February 19 in Type Business
I'm curious, these first 6 weeks of 2024 have been the slowest in sales since I started doing online sales 20 years ago.
Could all the conflict going on around the world be a factor?
Or has the Monotype, Google, Adobe font offensive finally reached the tipping point?

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    Last year was like that for us.  I think it was that a lot of companies hadn't released their marketing budgets because they were waiting to see if we were in recession. This year has been fine for us so far but we may have different customers.
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    I've been wondering about this for quite a while, and i recently met another indie-foundry owner who noticed the same thing in their sales. I'm down quite a lot since August '23. Web visitors and trial requests are at the same levels as ever. I'm very puzzled, and quite frankly worried how long this will continue. 
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    I've been seeing and hearing similar since Q4 2023, but I don't think it is related to retailers. At least in Europe the rather close-by conflicts certainly cast a shadow with inflation, short term uncertainty and losing some markets overall. In my (rather limited) experience marketing/publishing seem to react a) with quite a bit of delay and b) sometimes very counter-intuitively to world economics.
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    Enrico SogariEnrico Sogari Posts: 47
    edited February 23
    The looming possibilities that AI might bring on the (typography) table in '24 might play a role in making people temporarily stop paying for fonts, like you wouldn't buy a new item in July knowing that a new (and cheaper) one is coming out in September. Consciously or not, I think there's an ongoing change in progress.
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    Ray LarabieRay Larabie Posts: 1,379
    edited February 24
    @Enrico Sogari I understand the sentiment, but it seems that typography in AI hasn't yet reached a significant breakthrough moment akin to last week's Sora reveal. At present, we're still in a phase where the basic capabilities of these tools, such as correctly spelling a word, are appreciated.

    Edit: here's a relevant article in the Guardian about how a video generation tool has influenced purchasing decisions. However, he may not be truthful about to his reasons for cancelling. Tyler Perry halts $800m studio expansion after being shocked by AI 
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    @Ray Larabie I actually agree with that, what I meant is more about perception, I think we entered in a new phase of uncertainty and expectation that may effect people behavior and sales. Just something that I would consider, together with other factors.
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    Companies don’t hold off buying fonts licensing because they think another, cheaper font might be coming out in the near future. They could already go to MyFonts and buy some random grotesk super family for $10. Yet, they still pay $190 for one style of Circular.
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    I wholeheartedly disagree that AI has anything to do with current drops in license purchasing, but i believe that you are right when you say that a "change" is happening, but the problem is that i can't figure out which is the reason.

    1: When i've been teaching, many students where completely unaware that a world of fonts existed outside of myfonts, adobe fonts etc. In the same way that they where unable to source material and find movies to watch outside of streaming platforms such as netflix. I believe the younger generation of designers have different patterns of font usage, and that is one contributing and increasingly worrying factor. If this is the truth then googlefonts, adobe fonts and all of these larger companies have to support indie-foundries by commissioning fonts for their platforms, much like netflix is being pushed to support local productions and markets. 

    2: The economic climate is very fragile right now, and despite wall-street running crazy, the actual companies are being very careful what they're spending. I've had large corporate clients not able to justify the fees i've proposed them, that they previously found more than acceptable. If it's problematic for a multinational company to pay a fair price for a project, then it's very difficult for a freelancer or a cultural institution to pay for 4-6 weights of a font for 3 people. I believe this is the main issue right now, and i don't believe it will get better until 2025.

    I'm not sure what it is or if it's a combination of everything, or something else entirely. I also want to say that i appreciate and admire a lot of the hardworking and well meaning people inside these larger font commissioning and producing companies. 
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    ...If this is the truth then googlefonts, adobe fonts and all of these larger companies have to support indie-foundries by commissioning fonts for their platforms, much like netflix is being pushed to support local productions and markets. 
     

    Adobe Fonts doesn’t commission fonts much, they mostly act as a distributor for others. They haven’t done much commissioning in over 20 years now. But AFAIK anybody who makes good quality fonts can get them on Adobe Fonts.

    Google Fonts does commission fonts on occasion, but both funding levels and focus vary wildly from year to year. For example, last year they had a big push on African Latin font coverage, extending a bunch of existing fonts and commissioning fonts from ~10 African type designers. (The new fonts part from last year mainly through me; I paid the designers and arranged all sorts of additional training and support for them. Eben Sorkin both coordinated a lot of the extension work and did much himself.)

    And thanks for the kind words on the commissioning part. I am glad to have played a part in some of that.
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