I love type, and I love design. My goal since starting YouWorkForThem in 2001 has been to help foundries and designers by providing the niche; the independent corner of the space that people discover and tell their friends about; the place where I would want to shop.
In recent times, the font marketplace has trended toward deep discounts, where SALE, SALE, SALE is the message. The Fontopoly dictated it, and the foundries fell into lockstep. One by one they chose to bring the HUGE DISCOUNT! methodology to each of their new releases on YouWorkForThem.
I’ve watched the steady progression of this trend as one watches a spreading rash. Even as I write, the “Bundles” are coming, and they’re going to bring everyone down. It’s a race to the bottom that I haven’t even been able to bring myself to address.
Well…maybe just a little.
So, I was a bit taken aback when we received some feedback recently from a foundry who requested that we pull their whole catalog from our shop, because we were not able to “resist this trend somehow.” The thing that truly floored me was that even though they acknowledged the Fontopoly was to blame for this trend, they were still going to sell their fonts there. So I submit to the font community, and the design community as a whole: Look closely at this rash of deep discounts and bundles as they continue to spread across our space, mandated by the Fontopoly with such presumed authority that even designers who deplore such methods are forced to capitulate. Fonts are worth more than that, literally and figuratively. I see examples of the literal side regularly. Clients that request special use are willing to pay big money. And custom font design is a valuable, rare niche. Don’t devalue this precious commodity by giving it away, or giving in to the pressure of the Bundlers. Look, selling a font for a small discount to attract attention is smart. You should do that. Put some stuff on sale. But 80% off? 90%? Bundles that reduce it to dust? I say your work is worth regular price. Stop giving it away.
This article was published by Computer Arts, issue 244 in September of 2015.