DSType selling part of its collection to Monotype

Eris AlarEris Alar Posts: 425
edited March 28 in Type Business
I’m a customer of DSType, have been for many years, and got an email today saying this (text copied from email):

Dear customers, colleagues, friends,

As we celebrate 30 years of typeface design and the 20th anniversary of DSType’s online presence, I'm reaching out to share a pivotal moment in our journey. I am pleased to inform you that our first type collection has been acquired by Monotype and will now be exclusively available through Monotype Fonts and MyFonts. We will be making a wider announcement with Monotype in the coming weeks. We are immensely grateful to you for your loyal business over the years. Rest assured, our first catalog of typefaces you've grown to love will still be available to you moving forward. All of the typefaces you previously purchased from our collection will remain available for download in your client area. Furthermore, we're developing a new section on our site to seamlessly link you to our first type collection on MyFonts.

As we entrust our first collection to Monotype, we remain dedicated to creating the best contemporary typefaces on the market. We've been working diligently and are excited to announce Bluteau, an unobtrusive typeface featuring over two hundred styles. We are also in the process of developing many other fonts that we are looking forward to sharing with you soon. Let's embark on this new journey together.

Yours respectfully, 
Dino dos Santos 
DSType

Comments

  • Thomas PhinneyThomas Phinney Posts: 2,746
    I have seen this recently from one or two other foundries, selling off existing typefaces to Monotype while continuing to develop new ones.
  • Simon CozensSimon Cozens Posts: 724
    "When Monotype buys a foundry, that is not news, because it happens so often. But if a foundry refuses Monotype's offer, that is news."
  • Thomas PhinneyThomas Phinney Posts: 2,746
    Hard for most observers to know how many have refused, because it is not the subject of press releases and publicity, and the folks involved rarely talk about it publicly.

    That said, at this point, my working assumption is that Monotype has approached, or is approaching, every foundry that does work above some particular quality level, as long as they have enough fonts to make it interesting. And clearly “enough”… is not a huge number.
  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 2,973
    1. Buy all the fonts.

    2. ?

    3. Profit!
  • Thomas PhinneyThomas Phinney Posts: 2,746
    edited March 29
    The web enables video and remote training courses. But it seems to have been the pandemic that drove both students and teachers to accept these en masse, changing how much type design training is delivered.

    There are a few ways (even, ways I care about) in which in-person training works better. But the ability to gather people from anywhere with adequate internet bandwidth, the acceptance that remote (esp. video) training is a reasonable option, and improvements in the platforms for delivering training that way... have changed everything.
  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 2,973
    Hence part of the joke in ‘Buy all the fonts’—type designers can always make more fonts.
  • Vasil StanevVasil Stanev Posts: 761
    edited March 30
    Hence part of the joke in ‘Buy all the fonts’—type designers can always make more fonts.
    I see a monster beyond monopoly. One day AI probably will be used to make a font singularity, a variable font with n axes that includes all fonts up to this point. Foundries may go the way of some contemporary artists and train models on their library so they can pump out font after font, if there are still buyers left. Licensing will probably depend on a paid monthly membership to this or that foundry... I think it's not Monotype per se that has done the damage, but the natural process of everybody and their mum trying to create fonts. 
  • jeremy tribbyjeremy tribby Posts: 215
    edited March 30
    One day AI probably will be used to make a font singularity, a variable font with n axes that includes all fonts up to this point
    no need for AI per se, I think underware foundry claimed to have done this (in a lecture on their HOI tour) a few years ago, though I'm not sure they truly meant any font. IIRC a question was posed about the implications of IP like helvetica being hidden amongst the axes :smile:
  • Peter BainPeter Bain Posts: 11
    @Vasil Stanev @jeremy tribby Have you read your Douglas Hofstadter? Yet this is an age of "AI", so I admit that software eats nearly everything. Could AI work for type library maintenance, not sure?
  • Thomas PhinneyThomas Phinney Posts: 2,746
    There are some uses of AI in type design that I expect to see sooner than others.

    One obvious one would be to add specified characters to an existing font. For example, new currency symbols, or diacritics.
  • One thing people need to keep in mind is that it's much harder today to achieve the kind of success foundries saw in the past couple of decades. There is too much competition, too many lookalikes, and many foundries that had success in earlier years in creating "brands" for their typefaces struggle to do so today. I've heard this from many, so the notion that people can design new typefaces to replace the previous ones is fine on paper, but unlikely to generate as much revenue as previous work.
    Agree and disagree. I think what fundamentally shifted is how much effort a foundry needs to spend on marketing. When there was less competitors, just releasing quality fonts was enough to build a brand. Now foundries need to more actively build and maintain their brand in and of itself, and even brand individual typefaces with quite more intensity. With that also comes that brands deflate a lot quicker when continuing to just rely on quality of output or aren't active on the marketing side. And I would say this does translate to income some of what. This is also why you have incredibly popular typefaces pop up from outside the type design field (think Inter) — their positioning and marketing works in an entirely different field and with different mechanics, compared to traditional type foundries. Also the reason why there are some inconceivably lacking typeface designs incredibly popular on e.g. Behance; it’s all about staying above the self-sustaining, exponential growth threshold in your brand presence.

    Interesting point about taxes and inflation regarding a big payout. Obvious now that you mentioned it, but I didn't really pay too much mind to that factor of the equation. But as you rightly point out it must be non negligible indeed. However, you’re also carefree and without uncertainty from the moment of sale.
  • Eris AlarEris Alar Posts: 425
    I know I use to (and to a certain extent still do) use the bestseller, newest, and ‘hotness’ lists on retailers. I find it easier to parse smaller lists so seeing what is popular and new is often good enough for me as most of my work does not need super unique type designs. Obviously there is a lot of issues with this given how those lists are often generated, but it historically was how I did things. I also have licensed lots of type via email newsletters from foundries or resellers. DSType is one good example for me, where their newsletter and associated sales was how I got a number of their types.  I use to also use the smaller resellers like TypeTrust and Village back in the day, again I found the smaller number of choices helpful and I trusted those libraries. 
  • Vasil StanevVasil Stanev Posts: 761
    edited April 1
    ... I believe that we are gradually shifting from constant drawing of new fonts, to a world where there will be mainly maintenance of already existing fonts, modificiations of other people's and our own IP for a certain client or a field, and endless legal negotiations about the licensing so we can touch that IP. The main portion of these will probably go to the big, most famous fonts, and to libre fonts like Google fonts. I think that this is not so much a matter of who has the monopoly, but an organic growth out of the explosion of fonts that ocurred ten and more years ago. Just as with any shift, there will be the players that are more fit to handle such matters like licensing, and then there will be the left behind. But to keep beating the old horse and pumping out font after font while at the same time hundreds of others are doing the same, seems to me to have run its course and will only bring sharply diminishing returns, except in certain cases. 
    There is also the socio-technological factor. Art is created almost always for an audience. There are now mobile phones that surpass anything Hitchcock ever had, yet I have not heard of a new Hitchcock for the 21st century appearing. I guess this is because creators are now much more exposed to the public via social media, which means they mostly have to deal with abysmally mean comments on a daily basis, for years until they give up and retract in their shell, or become tougher. Of course there have always been critics, but this seems to be the first time in history when everything you do creatively can be analyzed by tens of thousands of them down to an atom, and yet you have to bear with this if you want to have exposure which you can hope to monetize. It is a harsh paradox... The whole social media situation has also had, at least in my opinion, an effect of making everything bland. Just as Garfield can't be original after 14 thousand strips, I can't hope to post something of my own and get a following if it's not easily comprehensible by the masses. If I post a picture with Darth Vader, this is instantly recognizable and I would get more likes. If I spice it up with some sexual quip, even more likes, some of which I can perhaps convert to clients. But if I want to do something original, people don't like things that are new, so the 10 000 critics situation I described above takes place. Once there were many interesting and new things about fonts/Star Wars - now it will become more about trade disputes. And people got accommodated to that. What has seemed bland and boring in 1999 is now the norm.
    Of course there are people that don't care at all about other people's opinions, but even they have a certain point of breaking.
    I don't know if this is a heart-wrenching post or simply a description of the maturity of the market of digital fonts. The tree found fertile soil, it grew very rapidly while the farm boy that tended to it also grew, the tree gave excellent fruit, and now will have to be pruned by the same person, who is now more mature, slower, but richer and much more experienced. Some branches may die, some branches may be broken by storms, but overall the tree will live on with loving care, and it will not die. 
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