Liveblog of TypeCon 2012

These are live blog notes from the 2012 TypeCon in Milwaukee, USA, in August 2012.

Usual disclaimer for live blogging: These are informal notes taken by Dave Crossland at the event, and may or may not be similar to what was said by the people who spoke on these topics. Probably if something here is incorrect it is because Dave mistyped it or misunderstood, and if anyone wants corrections, they should email him immediately (dave@understandingfonts.com) – or post a comment.

Saturday
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Press Checks in the Age of Web Type
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“Every society rewrites its past, every reder rewrites its texts, and , the they have any continuing life at all, at some point every printer redesigns them.” – D.F. McKenzie, Bibliography and Sociology of Texts

So we need to think about what happens when we move from print to screen, and especially the web as thats more uniquitous than kindle and friendly ipad.

In print we only had what we had direct access to. We’re still effectiveyl limiited by what we have in front of us, but we can get a lot more and fast.

http://the.webfount.es

Our machine maintanence is less cumberson but more baffling. OUr tools are less imposing and less dangerous; here’s a warning sign of someone with their arm through the press. Here’s a “DANGER: ACID” sign. We may get criticism on blogs but thats better than acid! :)

And we don’t have piles and piles of paper to waste, we can correct mistakes and move quickly. This lack of danger, tremendous access, we should be here – image of an actual Easy St :)

But we’re not. We have new problems that couldn’t be dreamed of in the print world. …

Georgia. Its steady and reliable. Want to use IbisRE, Minion Prop Caption, Lapture, Sabon Next? Here they are on Mac OSX, Windows ClearType, and Classical Greyscale Windows rendering.

So we replaced danger with hope that our text and color choices work across devices, screens, resolutions… there are many many possible combinations.

You can create an opacity suprise, background:transparent and opacity:100% or background:white and opacity:100%

You have to watch out for automatic font-weight:bold that will trigger fake bolding if a real bold isn’t loaded.

TypeCast and Tim Brown’s web type specimen page help to see what a web font may look like. Gridset can help see what reading is like on different browser/device situations.

www.ffffallback.com helps you make a good fallback font stack.

So say you have a specimen, you can see it on GDI, DW and OSX. You can also adjust a specimen to see how it will look for people with various color vision impairments.

Earlier this year I made www.facebook-successstories.com just before I worked at Facebook. This uses Vista Sans Web, but what if it doesn’t load? We used the JS Web Font Loader from Google Web Fonts and TypeKit’s collaboration, to load the CSS for the font; this gave us a styling hook to let us know if things looked approximately right. So we made the fallback Lucida Grande, and the default layout made to work with the line height, padding, and other layout resulting from that, and then use JS to adjust these after the web font has loaded.

So we’re not at the point that working with web fonts is really difficult that we can’t or shouldn’t do it. BUt there are so many problems that are overwhelming on their own, that its fun to solve. I think its fun!

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Kickstarter Panel
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Thomas Phinney: Kickstarter is the biggest crowd funding site, Pledgie, Indie Gogo, one that is big in germany, south america. KS is for creative projects, and not ‘help me pay my rent this month’ projects but something that produces a product. Who doesn’t know of this yet? Only a few people in the room.

Its not donations/charity or investment, its funding – supports pledge and get a reward, Average pledge is $71, most common is $25.

Its all or nothing funding.

A couple of suble things are time delay (you dont get the cash instantly, it takes about 3 weeks) and skim (it goes through amazon who take 3-5% and kickstarter take 5%)

So even for fonts, people offer physical rewards.it costs money to fulfil those.

About 44% of KS projects get funded.

Academic research shows that if they get 50% of the goal, they are 90% likely to get 100% of the money.

A 30 day project is 30% more liekly to get funded than a 60 day project.

12 font projects so far. I studied all of them and 11 responded to my survey. About 50% are libre and 50% are proprietary.

Success rate? 8 were successful, 2 failed and 2 failed the first time, relaunched and became successful.

That sounds really good! Sounds like a much higher success rate than Kickstarter overall. But its a small sample, and Google’s funding role is important – Google’s backing was like 50% or more of the target.

Its an open question what the results would be without any Google backing.

Goal range, $500-$15,000 (15k one succeeded)

Median was $5,700, and 2 failures were in the 4 highest

The 3 highest raised totals are panelists

Median success rate was 110% of their goal

Success predictors?

Seth Godin said “Kickstarter campgians fail when the tribute of people who believe in the idea is too small”. Lower goals, shorter fund raising duration, Google money, trying again — and the biggest thing, telling a good story and creating empathy. A number of people are from Latin America and not native english speakers, and they used this word ‘empathy’ a lot

www.appsblogger.com/behind-kickstarter-crowdfunding-stats/ says that failure happens by large margins; and there are big delivery problems – 25% are on time and 75% are within 8 months of the target date.

Fonts are probably likely to be late too, because it takes a long time to make typefaces.

They have a nice map of success by location.

Survey said hard to raise large amounts or do large traditional families; and that the ‘hook’ or story is very important. Adding kickstarter to type design changes the skeill set and activities involved; its different to working quietly and putting something on myfonts, it involves a lot more public communication.

Varying costs and time commitments – “Kickstarter is not a magic money machine” – Matt Griffin, and Dan Ibarra said the video took him 60 hours, 50% of the whole effort.

ChaType funding graph: You can see it got a quick start, levelled off, got a huge jump2 weeks in (maybe around a local evnt)

Folk graph: the big jump is google (“or my mother” – hahaha)

Wood Type graph: You can see it flatten out at weekends; peple look at kickstarter while at their jobs.

Cristofo graph: You see a boost at the start and end, and I started and finished mine on both weekends, oops. This is my failed out, I set the goal as $8,000. My spiike is getting on Boing Boing, and I exceeded both my 2nd goal, and my original goal!

Fast Bursh: You can see Google’s jumps

Monserrat: This got double its target; it had a really great video and story.

So thats an overview, lets dive in to the original projects.

ChaType
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Jeremy Dooley: This is an exclusive typeface for our city. The first exclusive typeface for a city in the whole USA. We were inspired by Twin, a academic execrise that tapped into different influences to make a typeface for the city. This is me and Robbie, a partner in the project who moved into the town around the same time as me.

This font was exclusive to Chatanoona, so we could tap into the local design team. We wouldn’t make it libre with Google because its meant to be exclusive for the local. We were on NPR, Canadian Public Radio, TIME website, and the biggest was on Good Design.

Marcelo Magalhães Pereira: Folk/Londrina
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I’m from Sao Paulo, Brasil. In 2009 I made ‘Folk’ which was inspired by hand made signs used by small shops in Sao Paulo. It was with 4 styles, Solid, Shadow, Outline and Sketch. The idea is that they can be combined to create a different effect.

I met Dave Crosslad in 2011 in Sao Paulo, and he asked me to expand the character set. I thought this would be nice to do, make new contacts, share the work. We set the time as 1 month to raise the money and 2 months to do the work. I found many sites already sharing Folk and asked them to spread the word about Kickstarter, and used twitter and facebook. I made the rewards, the posters and cards. Here they are.

This is the final result in 4 styles.

Matt Griffin: Letterpress Wood Type Fonts
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We do web design and love wood type and letterpress. This is a 100 year old hand carved wood type from Scotland. We would print them, scan and digitize them, and create a ‘wood type revival’ site to retail them as proprietary fonts.

You can see have a steady graph, and there are level periods, and that’s where as soon as we stopped activitating it, it levelled off. You have to offer things people actually want. That’s not so hard. Then you need to get it in front of people who want it, and that takes a lot of time. We used social networking strategies – just using Twitter and Facebook, not linked in. Facebook seems to have more longevity, things can stay around a while and on twitter you see it or it passes by. But on Twitter you can reach people you don’t know, you have friend of friend reach. But on facebook its harder to get that. Blogs are also very helpful but harder to spread over.

Within a week we reached the limit of people we knew and could reach directly. Then we started being shameless. So it helped we really care about it a lot, that means you will work hard and overcome nervous things like cold approaching people to support my project. I really wanted the problem to happen; I sent tweets to people I admire but dont know; and asking sites for promotion.

The nicest thing was the good responses from other designers who liked the idea.

We created a beta prototype to share with people off the bat for free. KS works on trust, they give you money and you will do something back. So we took the first step and offered something to them first. THat worked well.

WE also offered rewards for people spreading the word – twitter, facebook, pinterest, etc, if the email me a copy of 3 references of you doing that I’ll email you back a font. College students will do a LOT of things for a T shirt.

So we made T shirts using the type. I was amazed about people ‘out of my orbit’ in the design world who would post about this on their blog and so on.

Ajay Surie: Google Web Fonts
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I work on GWF and Google presentations. The GWF library is now in Google presentations and these slides are made and presented on the web.

I’m an engineer not a type designer…

Why did we do this?

We contracted many designers individually to create new web fonts. With KS, we let the public have input into the fonts that were included. We wanted to test the whole model out. Its clear from the graphs Thomas showed when Google made a contribution, but we varied when we made a contribution.

Thomas mentioned Julieta’s Montserrat which was by far the most successful and doubled her goal. She really connected with the audience. We saw that projects that got near the goal, people would be much more likely to contribute; and we also saw that those projects that were more complete at the start did well.

We also contributed to a non-type project, OERT.org. The University of Buenos Aires in Argentina has a programme to educate typographers and type designers. We want to encourage more type design, worldwide, and the University was interested in making their course materials available on the web like Wikipedia, so they could be translated. We’d like to make knowledge about type design available worldwide because we want to see more non latin type on the web.

We’re thinking about using Kickstarter’s model do this with the GWF directory itself, so that if people have a family that is missing glyphs, the users can show what they are interested in improving, perhaps pledging funding to make it happen, and becoming involved in the process of extending the fonts more actively.

Thomas Phinney: Cristoforo
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THis is a revival of a few designs, Columbus and another. This is the first KS page, and this is the 2nd. You can see I made the language more emotive in the 2nd one.

This tyepface is a quite niche style, but it has a small but dedicated fanbase in people who like eg H P Lovecraft games.

I failed the first time, 59% – this is really weird. If you get that you have a 97% chance of succeeding. I didn’t know that but I thought I put a lot of effort in and had spent time on it, and if I just tweaked a few things, maybe I would do better.

2nd time I got 168% of my target, and I changed a few things. Basic appeal, the audience base, the rewards items and levels, and Boing Boing. I made my appeal more emotive. MyFonts had seem sales rise by offering cheap non-commercial ‘personal’ licenses, so I added those. I saw I had some well known bloggers and journalists pledge and I emailed them when I ran the funding drive again.

And note that it is pronounced differently to how I said it in the video :)

Q&A
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Q: When Google selects fonts, what threshold, criteria or quality do you look for? Number of weights, design qualities. Who makes decisions about that kind for thing?

Ajay: Most families have only one style. Its not a problem for inclusion. We’d like the number of styles to expand. Dave Crossland decides, quality wise you’d have to ask him.

Dave Crossland: Initially the project selected fonts that were already libre licensed. This meant many fonts from hobbyists, so the quality was not what you might find in a regular foundry, but as the project has grown the focus has been more on commissioning new web fonts. Its been well known in the type community that Google has been commissioning web fonts and that I was involved in that so people tended to contact me directly, although there is a web form anyone can fill in to make a proposal. The level of quality has risen over time.

Q: With KS, the rewards offered posters, and so on. How did you decide the reward gradations?

Matt Griffin Wood Type: Most pledges were smaller amounts, fonts were $10 a piece, and we’ll charge $15 later, so there was a 30% discount for pre-ordering. We offered extras if you got all the fonts for over $100 and about 60 people did that. The big lump is $20-50

Thomas Phinney Cristofo: $20-$50 was average, but the total of the money about 1/3rd was from the highest pledges. I avoided physical thigns at the lowest levels, but I did not want to mail out 200 postcards to 200 different people.

Jeremy Dooley ChaType: We offered the font for any pledge level because we wanted to inspire people about municipal type. The Honda dealer down the road gave us $100, there was a local community aspect. The end result was not the aim really, it was the feeling of building something cool with us.

Q: You say people pledge money and you dont get the money unless its definite?

Thomas Phinney Cristofo: The money is pledged, the credit cards are not charged unless the total is reached, and the charge is done at the end. Amazon does it. There is no escrow.

Matt Griffin Wood Type: there is also a number of people whose cards are declined but that is minor.

Q: What does the IRS make of this? Asking for $15,000 and getting $250,000 is not unheard of.

Thomas Phinney Cristofo: You are wise to account this carefully. Your expenses making the rewards are deductable.

Q: Was it worth it?

Marcelo Magalhães Pereira Folk: Definitely

Jeremy Dooley ChaType: We lost money but loved it and it couldn’t happen with out Kickstarter so yes

Thomas Phinney Cristofo: Ditto

Matt Griffin Wood Type: Yes. We spend all the money we raised on stuff.

Q: I backed a project that took 6 months extra to finish [and wasnt too happy about it]

Thomas Phinney Cristofo: No penalties, but you may damage your own reputation if you dont deliver well or at all.

Matt Griffin WoodType; We didnt’ specify deadlines… oops :)

Thomas Phinney Cristofo: Thats now required I think :)

Q: People have said it was ‘shameless’ – have you more thoughts on shame?

Jeremy Dooley ChaType: No, I loved it

Matt Griffin Wood Type: I mentioned that word in relation to cold approaches. I found writing a well crafted tweet to approach people was hard, but after I did one it was okay and I reused my tweet. People were genuinely interested and happy to hear from me, even though I was anxious about approaching them. And we got business connections that benefitted me afterwards.

Thomas Phinney Cristofo: I was happy to use social media, and less comfortable taking money from my friends.

Q: What was done with the money?

Marcelo Folk: Great question. I did the Cooper Union Summer program with the money.

Matt Griffin WoodType: We spent it all on wood type and a press. I said with extra money I would pay ourselves for the labour and a few people got really mad, so we spend it all on wood type.

Jeremy Dooley ChaType: We had some great rewards that cost a lot, and the logistics to run the campaign cost money too, that was about it.

Thomas Phinney Cristofo: Mine ended 2 months and the $11k or so I raised, 40% will be ‘profit’ to pay my time, and the rest is supplies, reference books (a few more specimen books) and to give something, not great but some, to pay an intern. Its now illegal to have an unpaid intern unless the person does no functional useful work or you are a charity. The Dept or Labour will now hassle you if you don’t pay your intern.

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Perception of typefaces: A quantatite visual methodology
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Beth Koch, PhD, Minnesota Duluth

Wilden says there is no empircal evidence to go with the intuitive ideas in practice. Typgraphy design students learn type communicates through its design. How to communicate without words. That’s the crux of my study.

Emotion effects all humnan experience. Emotion and graphic design hasnt been empirically linked. Medical imaging, Rudolf Arnheim theorised all visual feelings have a phsyical counterpart in the nervous system.

Researchers work in interdisciplairny groups; XXX connects vision in art to emotion. The brain notices change in the visual field. 4 atttributes; motion, color, form and positioning in space.

The artists ability to abstract a scene, discard some information, is what the visual areas themselves are doing. In Boston College, ANdrea Barry made ‘perceptual aesthetics’ — “understanding vis comm lies in the neurological workings of the brain” – more than vision psych, to how vision works in the brain and connects it to behavior.

Not much is know about how people comprehend visual systems like graphic design and tyography.

“People seem intuitively decipher the meaning of typefaces.” – Can Leeuwen, 2005

In 1999, product and industrial designers at Delft Uni of Tech, Pieter Desmet there studied ‘Designing Emotions’ using interactive survey technique. I used that methodology.

All design is about human beings. smashLAB said “put aside talk of brand, strategy, execution, and consider effecting emotion”

People respond PRECOGNITIVIELY. We respond within 50ms if we like it or not. Book, “buyology” about how that effects buying behavours.

I asked 3 questions:

Does viewing specific typs produce emotional resposnes?

When looking at a tyep, do all people feel the same emotions?

What aspects of the type are the emotions associated with?

Earlier studies about the meaning of type? 1923 was the first and only about 13 since that appraoch from many fields. Mostly linguistics and journalism.

Of those, there are a set of common problems. What is being studied? Congeniality, personality, emotiaoal connocation, etc etc

What emotions are we trying to study? Psychologists can list them. There have 6 core +ve and 6 core -ve emotions. Desire, Satisfaction, Pride, Hoe, Joy, FAscinatino. / Disgust, Dissatiscation, shame, fear, sadness, boredom.

There was no common presentaion format: 1923 and 1933 used real tet, Weaver in 1940 they used a mock text, Wendt 1968 used something closer to English, Tannenbaum 1964 and Benton 1979 used alphabets. Morrison 1986 used lorum ipsum, Koch 2011 used ‘typeface sampler’ ???

Previous studies of type lacked a aliffication schema. I made one to separate out the typographic attributes. serif/sans, light/bold, condensed/extended, square/round terminals.

I chose Helvetica as it seemed non-descript and emotionless – although its not.

The emotional question used little cartoon animations to show an emotion which they can click to express their emotional response to a type.

Then I looked to compare designs. This compares ultralight and bold, narrow and expanded, rounded vs square terminals, serif vs sans. Then I looked to connect emotions to design features.

I got 100 people signed up to the survey but only 42 completed. Maybe the online format of the survey.

Findings?

1. People responded with emotion, not indifference

2. People agreed about the emotions

3. Certain emotions WERE associated with the design features

The method I used was visual, interactive, online, measung emotions and the strength of responses. Avoids problems of self reporting, allows repoting multiple and co-occuring features. No reading, so no problems with cognition of language and reading, just responding visually; and making empirical connection to emotional psych.

Implications?

Its imprtant for all people to understand design so they can interpret visual culture and respond appropriately.

Design researchers can improve their studies in this area.

Type designers can use it to decide how bold their bold should be.

Q: Why do the research with designers? I see you had a small gropu with non designers, but designers are more trendy and that might influence your data.

A: There were indeed more designers than non designers. Thats a good next step in this field. I thought designers might respond differently. I will publish my data on this, what the differences were between non/designers and fe/males.

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Mayan Writing Reform
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This is the fast version of my dissertation.

‘Common Maya Knowledge’ from GraphJam.com by linkdude64, its all calendars, pyramids and END OF THE WORLD.

Myth 1: Maya = Mayan. Archeologists criticised me, Maya is the people, Mayan is the language. Don’t say “a mayan” :)

Myth 2: Maya = Aztec. Both were great civilizations, separated by centuries and locations.

Myth 3: Maya are extinct. No, they are in south mexico, guatemala, honduras, belize. 7.5mil alive today and 2mil speak mayan languages as their first language. There are 20+ languages in the family. Some of these are as different as French and English.

Myth 4: Maya Script is for recording dates. No, its a complete writing system. They can write any phrase or concept that was in their spoken language. Its the only native script that could do this. Its 1 of the 5 original writing systems. (WHAT ARE THEY?)

Myth 5: Spanish wiped them out. Around 830AD, something hapepned that was bad and 2/3rd of the population died out in 70 years. So in 1517 when the Spanish turned up the society was already far from its peak.

What is writing?

This threw me. My best seen definition is ‘a system of recording langauge through visible or tactile marks’ – so I thought about cave paintings. Is that writing or picutres? both?

Mayan script shows there are 3 kind: Semasiographic, Logogrpahic and Syllabic.

Semasiographic, the men ,hunt, monkeys – 3 images places together.

Semasiographic + Logogrpahic, the man, hunt, ’2′, monkeys – images plus a symbol

Syllabic, …

Mayan is logosyllabic. 1 word can have 2 ways to write it. ‘balam’ is jaguar, and it can be an image that represents the concept, a logogram, or a syllabogram, 3 component graphics that form the single graphic word.

A mayan ‘glyph’ is a block of 4 parts, a main sign with prefix and postfive on left and right and sub and superfix above and below.

Cool, where was this written? Stone, vases, and books? The ‘codex’ is a long accordian folded fig tree paper, 3.5M wide, bound with wood covers and jaguar skin.

Only 3 remain today in the whole world, and all are in europe. the dresden codex is in europe. they were found in damp caves or buried in soil. Mexico City has one in a vault. It solidified into like a brick, a book glued shut. The ones they find, they hope imagine technology will allow us to look through the object to read it.

The scribe had a high position in Maya society. They used pens of bone and reed, quills, brushes, and conch shell ink pots. How do you find out about the mark making process when they are dead.

I found Patricia Martin Morales, in Yucatan, she has a studio in a thatched hut, and she is the #1 source in the world for musueum quality replicas of vases, codex, etc. She tried to keep everything authentic, she can’t read the text, but she can write it. This codex shown was sold for $10k, she does well from the hut :)

Here is the ink she grinds and makes herself. ‘The maya vase book’ is a good source for this.

Writing reform + Script Death. Writing reform is when a society’s writing system is repalced totally by another one – Vietnamese, Turkish did this with Latin, Mongolian with Cyrillic. SCript Death is when the writing system toally disappears and dies awya.

A society in dcline, the spanish turn up, disease, and a religious motivation. The peak population of Maya was 14,000,000 and in 830 something hapepned (drought, war, we dont know) and 9.3 died, so 4.7M by 900AD, and 90% of the population was illiterate, so 470,000 people were literate in 900AD. 90% were killed within 100 years of the Spanish (smallpox and influenza). So by 1617 there were 47,000 – the NYC marathon in 2011 had that many people.

Religious motivation? The franciscans told the maya to end their heathen ways, from gods they workshipped to the writing they used. If you used latin you go to heavan, if you use glyphs you go to hell. Who said this? Diego De Landa. Epic jerk. In 1562, he burned 5,000 idols and 27 codices. If its weird, it must be satanic. Another bishop said he had an ‘excessive desire for power and authority’ and De Landa was sent back to spain and was trialled, and for his defence, he wrote an account of his time in Yucatan. They bought it and promoted him and sent him back to the Americas. Then he wrote down some of the syllabry.

The Spanish had finished conquring Aztecs and had a well oiled colonial machine. “Reduccion” was the colonial re-education programme. How do you reform an entire society? Like lego, take it all apart and rebuild it from the parts.

They remade the language. They taught Maya people to speak with Castillian grammer, “I’d like a glass of wine red”, and documented this as “maya reduccio” in books called Artes.

Latinization of the script.

In the 1980s the Yucatan gov created a standard orthography for this, and thought it had to work on typewriters. Apostrophes? Not good, it looked terrible. This makes teh text block very spotty. I thought this could be much better.

At UoReading I looked at Times New Roman, the a’ glyph is just like a’. In my Yukatek, they were VERY excited and said it was very legible to have the a’ as an integrated glyph. “Apostroglyph^tm”? :) They look strange on their own but in a text block they make a big difference. Here’s my specimen.

What does the future hold in store? They localized Firebox into Yucatek Mayan. People use MSN Chat daily to chat.

Could they return to Maya script? I spoke to archeologists who were excited about this, they have 3 options for recording glyphs in the field: 1. draw 2. transliterate and 3. use a thompson refrence number. A catalog with all glyph combinations with a unique ID. that is time consuming.

Could an opetype font work for mayan script? we think it COULD work. Minimum 600 common glyphs, 2 versions of each as there are multiple wa; you need a logogram and syllabogram. So about 4,000 glyphs is reasonable but most are positional variants. It would take MAJOR opentype feature markup, you’d type syllablic chars and it might convert that to display glyphs.

Possible, but not a big money maker. A great PhD research project at some point….. IF THE WORLD DOESNT END. :)

Q: The apostrophe is used in many native american languages. Its not an apostrophe in unicode, a glottal stop has its own unicode. …

A: I’d have to look at such details closely, its a good point.

http://www.typefacedesign.org/resources/RoP/2010/SteveRoss_Yukatek_RoP.pdf

- – - –

Font Licensing
———————

There’s a lot of confusion around font licensing. Users think they ‘bought the font’ and have no restrictions.

EURAs are written for 3 folks: Font seller, font buyers, and lawyers and judges.

When font designers write their own license, they can’t know the license is legally binding. This can compound with copy’n’paste license modifications.

Construction of a EULA: Claim ownership, and rights defined. The exhaustion doctrine is defined. First sale, the idea is when you purchsae it, do you own it and resell or give it away? Usually no, no resale or transfer or gifting. The limitation of liability is defined; you can’t sue for more than the value of the font, say. Governing law is defined. Granted uses are defined.

‘Who allows what’ diagram by Tiffany Wardle. Its a broad stroke of type foundries with what they offer, the uses they allow, their restrictoins. It shows visually how this is a complicated space – users are confused because the licenses are written also for lawyers, so the buyer doesn’t understand the EULA and restrictions/uses aren’t clear.

More confusion sources: Users have rose tinted glasses that if their use isn’t denied explicitly they are good to go, but might not be sure about it. Or, what happens when they want to upgrade the license, do they contact the reseller or the foundry? And what if either or both of those are no longer in business? Is the license still valid?

And anything can happen in the future! Mobile devices is a big thing just coming over the future horizon. Hosted fonts, cloud hosting and just who is the end user?

There is software immortality. What happens to the EULAs sold or updated? What happens when people want new licenses for fonts no longer for sale? Where are royalites paid on sales from deceased font creators? How is their work protected?

Attribution WILL be lost over time.

Will font usage become harder to track and validate based on emerging media?

Who are the current and future font buyers?

Product: Media, content creators – physical goods and software as products, apps and ebooks. The font is baked into a application being sold.

Content: Media/content creators – virtual hosted content including blogs, WWW)

Where will fonts files be lcoated? And how will the font licenses be managed?

Regardless of future technologies, EULAs will remain and must be considered with the same care as the development of the fonts themselves.

Is your EULA any good? Have you borrowed EULAs from a few distributors and modified them? Call Frank Martinez, font lawyer and trademark registerer. I wasn’t paid for that endorsement ;)

Does EVERY distributor of your fonts use the same EULA? Does your Web Font EULA void aspects of your desktop font EULA? And how do you handle OEM licensing? How do your distributors handle OEM licensing – the uses your retail license restricts. Are you being fairly compensated by your distributors – We are Font Bros take that seriously.

If you are not sure what you are doing, you can create a big problem for yourself because you’re not sure if what you offer is what they need. OEM customers can be unsure of their own needs.

How do you police your EULAs? As a foundry? As a buyer of a large collection? How are you solving infringing uses. Google Search helps us find people who are sharing without permission.

www.typesnitch.com is a way we are proposing to monitor this. It is crowd funded.

Q: Are you seeing more standard EULAs and standard practices for mobile?

Stuart A: Its wide open. Large publishers of ebooks and independent app developers really want to have fonts in their products. They want to be treated fairly too. Requests are coming to Font Bros, 3-4 per week, and we’re handling them. We’re gauging the comfort level of what is fair. We want to capture the value to the use, is it static or dynamic text? Is it for any publication of just a small line of books? We discuss these things with the buyer so they get a fair deal.

Mike A: App developers are aware of this because Apple terms say their asset licenses must be sorted out. If the price isn’t right they will prefer not to use the font.

Frank Wildenberg Q: Many customers are confused by the various EULA policies for sure. All the big foundries had the same licensing for DTP with various prices, CPUs and so on. But now, everyone goes their own way on new license options and people really are confused.

Stuart A: Right, many foundries prohibit output to a linotronic device, or users in a geographic location; but geographic location isn’t like it was any more in business. At Font Bros, we want everyone on the same agreement so that the negotiation position for us is strong. Every year we update our EULA and we track which users have which versions. Most foundries just dont track that. We also think its important that people don’t feel tricked.

Christopher Slye Q: There are 1,000s of apps with Adobe fonts which is never allowed, same as Monotype. You can say the font industry hasn’t kept up with the market, but we try.

Stuart A: A font designer showed me a tool to sniff fonts in use from the apps database, and thats a great tool we will put into fontsnitch.com – and we’d like.

Sam Berlow Q: Of the 1,200 apps with our fonts, about 10% are licensed. I think apple can help us all a lot.

Stuart A: Right, legally they say this although they aren’t policing for us.

Sam Q: We police one by one and its successful but painful.

Simon Daniels Q: I think the key thing is for people to get clean. People are open to pay to get legal than pay in effort to redo their app.

Stuart A: Right, more people want to get legal, and they don’t want a C&D letter on their app or get sued. Online stationary companies, their users can use our fonts and they got only a single user license.

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2 Comments

  1. Posted 13 August, 2012 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    Hi, Dave! Thanks for sharing these notes. (One point of clarification, I’m actually at Facebook now but worked on that website prior to starting there. Sorry for causing some confusion on that point!)

2 Trackbacks

  1. [...] Dave Crossland live-blogged his experience. [...]

  2. By TypeCon 2012 Conference Trip Report | Slanted Hall on 15 October, 2012 at 1:31 am

    [...] David Crossland’s liveblog of TypeCon 2012 at Understanding Fonts [...]

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