TypeCon, Portland, OR

These are live blog notes from the TypeCon 2013 in Portland, Oregon. www.typecon.com

Usual disclaimer for live blogging: These are informal notes taken by me, 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 I mistyped it or misunderstood, and if anyone wants corrections, they should email me immediately (dave@understandingfonts.com) – or post a comment. Thanks!
Font LIcensing
——————–

Jim Kidwell

Designers use Suitcases or other FM software, and there are many large collections; largest is 231,994 and average is 4,5XX.

I set out to answer,

* Are EUALs understandable?
* How do desigenrs USE fonts?
* Something else

I’m not an academic…

Who recived the survey? 10,000s in the extensis mailing list, spread in social media and forums online, and 2,250 responses – good total for a niche topic.

Mostly Graphic Designers, highly educated, in the job for 15+ years, a suprise. Most did NOT get font licensing as part of formal instruction; and Font Manager users who are font nerds.

Print Design for 94% of users; logos for 82%; web fonts about 20-30%

Font trading hand to hand, about 30% said never! But 50% of people said they regularly (7%) to occassionally to rarely took personal fonts to the office. That’s a big opportunity to educate users to increase revenue.

Out of office (to service bureau?): 62% yes

How to create design comps in photoshop? 92% use the fonts they already have; 56% download new free fonts, and 26% wh opurcahse fonts before client approval; and 32% ‘locate’ a copy of the font online. This creates problems for designers who do a comp with the found copy, when its approved, the retail font isn’t quite the same…

Who reads licenses regularly? 80% said occciasionally – 25% NEVER, 29% rarely! Some even said “I don’t know what these are”! The heavy legalese doens’t help.

When they read them, they feel confused. Only 9% said ‘Yes’ and 78%  ‘somewhat, not really or no’. Lawsuits usually result after a long drawn out discussion to settle amicably.

Yet, designers move onward, as 42% said they SOMEWHAT understand licenses even if they dont often read them.

55% said they have problems tracking what fonts are licensed to do. Extensis make software to help manage this on corporate desktops.

Most companies don’t have established processes for managing font licensing.

Users say about licensing: it is a mess; i want fonts to just work and not get in my way with licensing. I WANT BUY ONCE USE EVERYWHERE. There needs to be an easy way to license fonts for all use cases. I want to use my print fonts for web use. I want to convert my entire legal library of fonts into web fonts.

Cost vs Quality? 90% of designers know how to tell quality from junk.

67% of users said fonts were fairly priced. But they’d like free font catalog for mockup purposes, font rentals and trials, and microtransactions (one off uses.)

They want more stable quality; fonts look the same in photoshop and in all browsers, better quality of rendering in browsers, and an easy way for CLIENTS to know the value of fonts.

What to do about all this?

1. SIMPLIFY LICENSING.

2. Communicate simple terms very clearly. Don’t bury the EULA in the ZIP file, have it in the website as an active part of the purchase process.

3. Encourage info sharing and tracking by the purchaser. If you tell the purchaser what the usage restrictions are and its simple and they pass it on to their internal users, that message will travel.

Thanks!

* * *

Kevin Larson
—————-

First improvements, TNR at 10pt on a 96dpi screen.

B&W rendering, the default on XP. We rarely see text like this, we all see some sort of anti aliasing technique.

Old Win greyscale that isn’t so good for text sizes but is good for larger sizes.

1st ClearType that uses LCD sub pixel rendering

Then the MSIE 7 8 9 and 10

7: Metrics widths are the same as B&W rendering, good for backwards compatiblity.

8: We get heavier stems, like in the T, and the shape of ‘x’ is more true to the vector outline.

9: We give up the dense heavy stems to get better spacing between letters. The spacing around ‘i’ and ‘o’ in the 2nd line are spaced to much to the left.

10: We retain the space information, but we give up the color fringing as its greyscale. Its VERY FAST to render, so for touch screens that is good. Its not ideal for reading but its fsat.

And then we look worldwide.

Here is MSIE 8 9 10 and vector for a traditional chinese font. There are big problems here too.

So, how to make the best rendering environment?

We hear from the public about the changes, some like then and some don’t. How do we make the best rendering possible? Here is a list of 8 things we can optimize for.

What should we optimize for?

* Luminance contrast
* Edge contrast
* True letter shape
* Even Spacing
* No Color Fringing
* Even Weight
* Visual perception differences
* Pixel geometry

Audience: Even Spacing, followed by Even Weight.

KL: Weight that is true or just heavy?

Audience: Evenness of color overall.

John Downer: Look at big building signs; sans serif and bold weight.

Q: Spacing, edge and contrast are closely related.

We know there was a difference from B&W to ClearType, a 5% reading speed and comprehension improvement, but then the 4 iterations in MSIE are more subtle, and even though in our team we have clear preferences we couldn’t find this in testing.

Legg (?) found that pixel type can be VERY small and just as fast to read; and blurred quite a bit and just as fast to read.

Un a letter recognition test, we put either a single letter or a trigram of 3 letters and recognise the middle one. We use common Enlgish trigrams like igh that are 3 letters, not a word, that really do occur. We place a crosshair in the middle so you know where to look, then we put up a trigram and take it away briefly and then put up 3 letters you are meant to ignore. THat makes it hard. We try to force up the error rate. We need to make an accuracy difference.

500ms for cross
200ms for blank
50-100ms for the trigram
then after their response a dummy text

[The above might not be what KL said]

So here are 3 greyscaled ‘igh’ trigrams that show that recognition was like 36%, 44%, 47% – matching what designers in the room show of hands say.

Now we look at Segoe UI Semi LIght at 50cm from the screen at 10pt, normal reading condiatoins MSIE 8 9 and 10. Darker stems you can see in the left stem of the ‘h'; MSIE 9 has good spacing, and MSIE 10 has better spacing but no color fringing. The show of hands is about even, and the results are also the same! 51% 49% 52%.

This was the accuracy rate for identifying the letter.

So we made a version that has extreme color fringing and a grey that is even more blurry, to go with the MSIE9 and 10 versions.

So we have 8pt Georgia, 10pt, Xpt and Xpt bold (?). 41%, 36%, 32% and 38%! Why would 8pt be better? Simplified forms perhaps?

I tested with 10 people which is enough for statistical reliability.

[Had to miss last 5 mins]

* * *

But but Pony: Adventures in Open Source Font Design, by Paul Hunt and Miguel Sousa
—————————————————————————————————-

@pauldhunt @forcebold

Paul:

Lets start to introduce some concepts you might not be familiar with

What is open source?

It means free access to components that make up a product, so people can modify things.

Why has Adobe released an open source font fmaily?

We make more and more open source software, and that always needs type for the UI. looking to fill that need, we didn’t want to open source existing type families, so we looked at what existing options we had, and we didn’t find anything suitable for our needs. So we made Source SAns.

The brief was, a typeface family to be open source, sans serif, simple and work well for UIs. We wanted the design to hold up well in continuous text settings too. Initially it was suggested I might take Adobe Sans, but I rejected that idea, and looked at American Gothics, especially News Gothic, which you might see in there.

The first projects you see here, are the strobe media playback software. This used the fonts as ‘Playback Sans’ and if you look at the project and dig the fonts out, they are open source.

That was an initial version. We have Brackets, another internal client, a browser based code editor. This was the webpage announcement, that is using the font for its text, and here you can see it applied in the Brackets UI of the left and top nav bars.

Miguel:

Paul talked about the design considerations. This is the production environment: we use FontLab Studio 5, used for many years here, and we used Adobe Multiple Master technology to make extreme wegihtsn and interpolate the weights inbetween. These sources are then made to process with the ADobe FDK, used widely, and we kept our sources with Perforce, the commercial version control system used at Adobe.

Paul:

We released whem in August last year, and released these 6 weights in 12 styles of roman and italic, from extralight to a heavy. We annouced the release on our typeteam blog, typblography, Thomas Phinney started this at aadboe and we try to keep it going. We announced it there and host it initially on SourceForge, where adobe puts a lot of our projects.

One thing we wanted to do was make all the fonts available plus all the source files needed to compile them. so if you want to spin the fonts off and make your own project you could. or you oculd look at it to learn how to make your own font fmaily with the same production environment.

we also made them freely available on our web type service typekit, google fonts and web ink.

the reception was immediately positivie, the most viewed blog entry, twitter and other social media. i tried to engage with people there, and it was also covered by wired, other palces, and DIGG and Upworthy and Standford has specified its sytle gude for branidng to use Source Sans Pro.

We also immediately got feedback saying ‘we like these fonts but you made some mistakes’ so we could quickly respond and fix things.

Miguel

So in the release we started with SoruceForge. But the feedback was “Adobe, you fools, we use GitHub” – we had not heard of it :)

So we learned a bunch of lingo, new tools, processes, watched many Linda videos to get up to speed… it was great to see the whole program illustrated in this way.

So we went from sharing ZIP bundles to this, GitHub showing the folder structure. Developers say this is great, they can see the layout and how to use the FDK.

We made that transition within one month, while repsonding to feedback and addressing bugs. I think it was an impressive accomplishment.

This transformation sparked an internal revolution, a good one. We started with a new workflow.

So I mentioned, we used Perforce. That was replaced with Git. THat was needed to post the files on Github. We soon learned to love git!

Espeicallyw ith a GUI, like SourceTree. Git felt easier and more flexible and once we got the hand of it, its distributed architecture allows everyone to have the master files without being permanently connected to s aserver. With github, we can share our changes and collaborate inernally and externally.

This is not just with open source porjects, we use the same process with our retail fonts.

We found that font sources that are binary are not useful for version control because you can’t see the difference between versions.

FontLab files are binary black boxes. You know its a new file but there is no easy way to know what changed from one version to another. Here is what binary data looks like. Yikes.

So we went to UFO sources.

Here is a XML plain text representation of a glyph. This is transparent to version control systems.

UFO is a public format, which is nice, anyone can build tools around it. The UFO workflow also allows us to have a design space with intermediate masters.

We imrpoved the FDK a lot. We now have more than type1 input, we now support UFO directly.

The FDK is public and gratis.

Community?

Paul:

We felt we had a good perception and we hoped people interested would feel invested in it and want to contribute. We hoped releasing the fonts would foster a community that is typical of open soruce projects; usually interested parties come to the project and want to help.

We were told, if you build it they will come, sort of thing… here is a quote from a blog comment,

> put the code up on a public version control site like github. Here’s what will happen:
> 1. …
> 2. …
> 3. the font benefits
> 4. You find people who have been contributing form a good pool of talent

We hoped for design contributions from the community, people can sponsor extensions, bug finding, and suggesting new things, and +1s.

Sadly there have not been significant contributions from a community around this project.

We have had some sponsored development; Logos Bible SOftware sponsored the development of small caps, our initial blog post showed a teaser of a monospaced verison that is now released as “Source Code”. This had box drawing characters that Frank G will present tomorrow.

Other requested developments are greek, cyrillic, italics for the monospace… This work is in the earliest stages.

We see a lot of +1s on the issue request for the monospace italics.

That brings us to the pony. This is the magical Plus One Pony.

Why so little contribution?

We discuss this internally a lot.

Many of you here have the skills but you are not motivated to give your work away for free.

Fonts are visual, not like many software projects, its hard to compare versions without building them and comparing them which is not as easy as code.

Miguel

Maybe the people interested in contribution don’t know how or where to start. They need guideance. So I would like to appeal to all the open source community leaders in the room who have type design skills, people who run workshops, to help those who want to contribute to Source but don’t know how.

When these projects are enhanced, it benefits everyone. ALthough this was started by Adobe and we maintain it, and we have our staff working on it, this font belongs to the community. WE have features we want to implement but we are slow for many of the users.

We really want you to understand that this project will become a lot better if more people help, not just us.

Lessons Learned

There are a few things we learned:

Fonts with such broad exposure than our retail offerings, we had a lot more testing and bug reports. We made decisions on how we make our regular fonts based on what we learned.

We rethought our traditional tools and workflows. This led us to be more transparent and collaborative in all our projects.

In Conclusion

We share our experience, we want to remind everyone that these fonts are open source, they are available on github and sourceforge, you can use them and contribute to them

Thanks!

Q: Why you saw limited contributions from existing type designers was unfamiliarity with github?

Miguel: Yes, I think so. When I appeal to you, its both font tools and github. We know ourselves of learning push and pull and all that lingo. Its not just easy.

Paul: ANyone who wants to contribute, ask us now and we can help you get set up on the path to contribution.

Q Behnam: A major issue is versioning, and especially when you decide to add more scripts, the metrics change… how do you dela with that?

Miguel: If we make a drastic change, we try to avoid it, but if we do, we will announced. And you can always go back to previous versions.

Paul: The earliest bugs was that the font metrics were not working for people and we tried to patch that ASAP to minimize the hassle. If we made a big change, say adding arabic to the fonts so you needed much different proprotions, then perhaps thats a seperate related project. These are things that can be dealt with in different ways.

Q Eben: If you have people at a workshop, what would you like them to add?

Miguel: ANything you are interested in. We have a roadmap. Arabic, Hebrew, Greek, Cyrillic in development. If you tie intot hat, great, but if you do coptic, anything liekt hat, please do it.

Q: The first adobe contribution was 1992 Slimbach Utopia. Also, what did you learn about open source fonts that Google didn’t already show? And why isn’t the FDK open source?

David Lemon: Well yes, we did donate 4 wights of th type1 verion sof Utopia to the X Consortium. We extended that license a bit. Its still donated but its not open source as the SOURCE sin’t free. Its a free distibution license to accomopany some software. As some people know, we have been working towards the FDK, it is gratis now and we have internal work to do before we can open source key components in it, but we are working on it.

Miguel: Its just a side… its an excuse, you can still contribute to the sources if you want, they are UFO that works with anything, and let us do the builds. In the interium, before the FDK is open source, still ocntibute. Don’t let that stop you.

Paul: what did this do that Google Fonts does not? We felt that it didn’t set up to be very collaborative. You go to get the source to one of the fonts on google code, you can get the sources, but then what do you do with them, how to submit that back? We wanted to make the sources available as part of our project so people could see how to modify them and spin them off as they needed to.

* * *

Pureosseugi: Script reform for a new page, by Aaron Bell, a program manager at Microsoft
——————————————————————————————

Hangeul is a script made of 10 voewls and 14 consonsants, they combine in 9 ways. This is the ‘chinese square’ when the script was invented in the 1400s to unify better with chinese writing.

That’s how korean works! :)

Ju Si-gyeong, a foremost korean linguist in the early 1900s, worked to standardise the script, and coined the name ‘hangeul’ in 1912.

It was invented in 1400s but not widely used until the late 19th C when china and japan inspired more korean nationalism.

He tried to standardise grammar and spelling and also wanted to improve writing; the rotary press and printing distribution was new technology, but you had these old typsetting methods.

He invented ‘linear hangeul’. The consonant voewles look very different. The circle in the chinese square style writing is more round and better looking.

You can work well with linear h on latin centric systems, its simple, and that simplicity means you can make more typefaces!

There are low 100s of official typefaces in Korea. A simple form can create a whole new type community.

The syllablised form was made for interwomen typesetting with chinese. if we don’t do that in our texts, why use syllablic form?

There are some other attempts to latinise korean, Ch’oe Hyonbae in 1937 had a pretty crazy thing. Kim Zong-su in 1990 made something more familiar but rotated 45′ :)

In the 1960s the UN wanted to mechanise all the worlds scripts, and Kenneth Ross in the USA ICA worked with LInotype (Jackson Burke) who made a linear form of Hanguel, with 2 versions, 1 has ‘lowecase’ style vowels that make it a little more economical in paragraphs. Its kinda crazy.

I showed this to a group of koreans, and they couldn’t READ IT AT ALL, they had to sound it out like a small child :) Guess that’s why it never caught on. The Korean man involved in the project refused to support it and it was shelved.

So, what we read best is what we read most. The korean occupation, war and rebuidling meant there wasn’t energy and time for script reform.

Where to go?

There is still formal experimentation going on, but there is a playful graphic design that happens that linearises hanguel. I think these are the people who preserve the script…

I saw this twitter post, which uses Pureosseugi to give a slower pace to the text.

I think Pureosseugi will never become main stream

* * *

Fonts by Subscription: Threat or Menace? Panel
————————————————————

Thomas Phinney

Greg Veen

Bill

Patrick from Canada Type

Thomas Phinney: David Lemon did a propsal inside ADobe a long time back. Fonts by subscription is common for web fonts and in japan, but now its happening to western desktop fonts, the bread and butter, and this is a little scary. Will the total revenue to type designers go up or down? the total revenue may go up by the revenue to designers may not.

I’m going to move down the panel now to speak for 5 mins on the point of view.

Greg Veen

I’m a cofounder of TypeKit, acquired by Adobe. That has been a really great home for typekit, an organization like Adobe that had type in its DNA from the start.

Typekit is a web font service, we can take care of integration details for you and make web fonts simple. We recently added the ability to sync your web fonts to desktop. So, unconventionally, I will quote Louis CK. A comedian, writer, actor, well known. “The Woody Allen of our generation.” Thoughtful and hilarious stuff. He has a quote about the stock market relevant to the subtitle of the panel, threat or menace: “I don’t trust any of it. … Its not real money, its just ideas. When people get richer without producing anything, it can’t end well.” This gets at adding value and extracting value. Anyone in a transaction has got to ADD value, not just be a middleman. That has been a core value at typekit. We see an opportunity to make a bigger pie. I don’t mean to be cliche or trite, but we’re working on making it easier and more appealing for users to do the right thing automatically, to use fonts legally. TypeKit Desktop is a huge addition to that. With Creative Cloud, a user clicks a button and its so much more convenient than Bittorrent and the foundries get paid. That’s what we’re about.

Bill: We are a foundry and a distributor. We have our libraries and we distribute fonts for many of the folks here in this room, on fonts.com and linotype.com and myfonts.com – that is run separately, a acquisition rather than a merger. Monotype introduced a subscription based web font service, we want to make it easy and convenient to use fonts on websites. A year ago we launched SkyFonts. Its a technology. A desktop syncing technology; you can obtain a font from the cloud, and sync with your desktop. No need to download, unzip and install. When we first launched, it was part of a rental service. You could download a font for 5 minutes to try, you could license a font for a day or a month. Skyfonts is a technology to download a font securely to up to 5 comptuers. We hooked SkyFonts into the Web Fonts service, so you can download web fonts for mock up purposes. We’re continuing to evolve the technology; we license it to Google and now Google Fonts are easy to download as desktop fonts too. The SkyFonts have a lot of potential. What I like to have you think about is, as users, designers look for ways to conveniently use and try fonts and explore how a font will work in their project or design, whatever workflow they have. We want to improve the tools they use, and that’s a technical piece and then there is a business piece. We want to make it healthy for type designers to make a living.

Patrick: I’m skeptical of all this. Its all buzzwords. What does subscription mean? In the public mind, it means a renewable thing. You don’t subscribe to a watch, or a hat, you subscribe to things that renew; maagazines for new content. I understand what you are doing, but don’t use that word.

Thomas: Rental?

Patrick: Right, that’s closer to the reality. You subscribe to netflix to see new movies. But we tried this on our own, Canada Type, we tried the rental option. Some went for it. 428 companies rented from us. They paid yearly for the use of the font. Every year to keep using the font; its royalty managed photos. Similar to Adobe’s Creative Cloud applicatoins. 3 years ago, we had those 100s of companues. 1 year later, we had problems: credit cards expired, people leave, companies acquired, they cut off the rental. Designer turn over rate is high these days. If a designer thinks renting to use a font in a game or a tv series is a good idea, the replacement guy may not agree. There is design logistics issues to take care of. We now have 120 people still, and this year, 34. So I think its not a viable model. Its maybe viable for a specific kind of large company, they want to have font management done externally as rental… But thats only a few clients. We have 18,000 on our mailing list, we surveyed 11,000. The analogy of a hat is not mine, its from customers. Just because technollogy makes things possible, doesn’t mean users will go for it. We can forget the user, we see tech can do this or that. Look at web fonts, when that idea started about 4 years, foundries all saw dollar signs, wow, web fonts will be used and thats a huge opportunity for us. But the payment models that distributors put out there, had lots of restrictions, and only a few users went for it. Regular Joe designers didn’t go for it.

Thomas: Could Bill and Greg discuss DRM?

Bill: When you buy a desktop font you buy a license that is perpetual. To use on X workstations for Y uses, forever. Companies can lose their licenses. We help people straighten that out. We have those problems with traditional licenses as well as a rental model. But, how do we restrict our fonts? SkyFonts has a restricted folder, hidden from the user, so it will appear in your fonts menu but the fonts are not in the system fonts folder. If you want the font unprotected we can do it that way too. We’re using it in both ways; Google Fonts are deployed in an easy way to get at.

Greg: Typekit is similar, the fonts are installed in a non-system fonts folder that is obfuscated a little, not where people normally look. PS and AI are installed in the same way. To respond to the question of a rental model, the Adobe creative cloud has 700,000 subscribers who are renting software and fonts are software, so this is a thing that people are open to. Adobe has a uniqe position with their platform that makes it easy for that to happen. So there is openeness to it from users.

Patrick: Are fonts software? Perhaps. But people subscribe to the programs, and adobe is a quasi monopoly. What other choices do people have? CorelDRAW?

Greg: well foundries still provide the fonts, adobe has no similar position there…

Patrick: I was a font user for 18 years before I became a font developer. I see you try to do the DRM thing to combar piracy. Most fonts sold are display fonts, people see the name in the font logo, they make their poster, turn to outlines, and say they dont want the font afterall as they got their use they wanted. So you have to police that. You can’t.

Greg: So I totally understand what you mean, but our fonts sync system, a user syncs to the desktop and the foundry gets paid then. If the user only uses it for a day, its not the same as the perpetual license, but so many more people see the fonts, use them in a limited way, but they do use it, then type designers will earn more money with the larger audience.

Patrick: I hope these models work, if they work, you’ll make us money, that’s great.

Greg: Our tools need fonts, we don’t want to see you go bust.

Patrick: But for web fnts, you have these distributors, they allow unlimited use for a 1 time payment. If I see that choice, will I prefer a rental or a one time payment. Self hosting is reliable, why rely on 3rd party infrastructre. ADobe Cloud was down for 30 mins and the whole design world stopped. All the privacy issues in teh news recently. Or I pay $70 and that it. Same as buying a screwdriver.

Greg: A web font is more complicated than a screwdriver. We have ‘bullet proof CSS’ but its always changing for new brwosers and OS. A hosted service can take care of taht content negotiation by the service and you don’t have to worry about it.

Patrick: A watch is full of gears just like a font ;)

Thomas: But the timezones don’t change on us under our feet, like browsers do ;) Audience?

Gerry Leonidas: There is no one model. Some text types are used for decades, some script font is trendy and dies out quickly. This is reflected in the diversity of licensing options. You may find MOnotype renting some fonts and retailing others. Think about the various users for fonts, and try to mitigate piracy and enahnce ease of use. …

Patrick: 100% of the survey said is, people like the handshake, one time transaction, give money get thing done. We come to these conferences to network and build relationships and if customers visit these events that would be nice. But customers don’t want that. The handshake model is proven for a long time. People are fine with that. Liek Thoams said, its another option. My skepticism is that I doubt users will pick it up. I hope they will.

Greg: Being sensivitie to losing things when you unsubscribe, well, people lose things when they aren’t backed up, and if you get a new computer with a sub service, you just resync. Its more reliable.

Patrick: MYFonts, you redownload your history of purchases, no problem.

Q: I see this shift in other parts of our culture like HIgher Ed going online. Going from manufacturer, to a land lord. Do we trust land lords? To fix the plumbing if it needs to be fixed? Its a profound shift in the relationship that maybe we don’t understand the consequences of.

John Hudson: I have no problem seeing the subscription model for web fonts, as you pay for the servers to run, the conversion on the fly. Some might prefer self serve. I dpn’t see the value added for desktop rental. It seems like a model that benefits the rentiers, those with large libraries of fonts, which we might imagine trickling down to type designers. Patricks’s example of someone renting the font for 1 day for a poster, and that happens 1,000s of times a day, is good for the central library, but not the 1,000s of designers who get pennies per day as they only have 100 fonts, not 50,0000 that the middleman has.

Bill: Desktop syncing, designers have the ability to try a font, pay for it for a while, to experiemnt, and if they want to get the full license they can do. It seems something that our customers want to be able to trial fonts in a new wya. We think this will lead to more font sales.

Greg: I agree with that. We have been considering Font Updates. We want to add features to a font? The user has ways to get the updates, or they might want to keep on their current version. A subscription makes that easy. You have a customer who subscribes to the font as a PROJECT.

Patrick: comping is hard now, its not hard for display fonts… getting samples, you can get PNGs from myfonts.com easy to place, and other foundries have neat type testers… but for text type, you need the whole font to comp. Text users email me and ask, can I get a copy to test in my project? And we worry that they will have ADD and forget about us… its a dilemma. I am all for comp tools online. Payments… when you bundle payments, there is this fraction of a penny revenue to the designer.

Q: I bought a font 20 years ago and couldn’t prove I had done so. What I like about rentals is that you are able to track it, that I could fully know what i use and for how long. …

Q: Its not a binary, you have to do a rental service or a retail sale. You can rent out a whole library or one font at a time. At the current time, it seems hard to pay a type designer from a large library situation.

Patrick: Font Bureau has a large library. It took us to be able to make a living, it started with Goudy, and then it took 150 years for that to become mainstream. It took a long time to go from the time that deigners just got 20% of the revneue. Now its a desigenr’s world. There are many distributors. You say large libraries, well, FB is around since 1991…

Thomas: we have wrpa it up, hope this has raised interesting questions for you to think about :)

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  • What we do

    Understanding Fonts is a type design training business. If you'd like an event in your college or city, let Dave know: dave@understandingfonts.com