Fonts and typefaces form an integral part of the design process. In fact, just like color scheme and other design elements, typography too can single-handedly make or break a design.
As a result, the role of the font designer can never be underestimated. Since fonts are needed in almost all forms and genres of design, the talents and skills of font designers are always sought after.
Naturally, font design in itself can be lucrative career, if pursued correctly. In this article, I shall be discussing all that you need to know when it comes to font design as a career — how to decide what font to design, and how to sell your fonts and typefaces.
Selling Your Fonts? Here is What You Need to Know!
Font design, much like every other form of design, starts with creativity, but needs to be backed by intelligent choices.
To begin with, you need to figure out your target audience for the concerned font in question. After all, you wouldn’t want to create a comic font for enterprise usage, would you? Since fonts serve specific purposes, you need to be aware of the type of font that you are creating and the category of users that it intends to serve.
This is where your own skills as a designer come into play. You might need to introspect and decide what type of fonts you are most comfortable designing — formal, casual, comic, handwriting, and so on.
With that said, we move on to the tougher part — selling and marketing your fonts.
Selling Your Fonts
Before going any further, here is the trickier part: there are a crazy number of free fonts out there! Google Web Fonts, Adobe Typekit, open source fonts that are freely available, and so on. As a result, for anyone looking to sell fonts and make money, the prospects are not outright welcoming.
Yet, it is indeed possible to sell your typefaces and make good money out of them. There are multiple methods of doing the same, each with its own merits and demerits. We shall now discuss these very methods at length.
1. The Font Foundry Model
This is the standard method when it comes to selling fonts on a regular basis. As the name suggests, font foundries specialize in dealing with fonts. They provide and distribute fonts to outlets such as design agencies and shops, etc. Quite obviously, selling your fonts by means of a font foundry can be lucrative deal. Much like WordPress theme marketplaces, font foundries too retain a percentage of the sale proceeds and offer you another percentage from the revenue, as specified in the terms of sale.
- Zero headaches or business planning required. The foundry takes care of all the boring business-related issues and you are left with just font design.
- Protection from piracy, misuse and other scams.
- Generally, font foundries have a much larger audience and thus, your work can get more buyers.
- If marketing is not your stronger side, the foundry can help you out.
- You are given hardly any control vis a vis the sale of fonts.
- The foundry retains a stipulated percentage of the sale revenue, so you have to share your profits.
2. The Reseller Model
Under this model, a reseller basically offers fonts from and across multiple foundries. As such, a reseller acts as a bridge between font publishers and foundries, and sells fonts in the latter’s marketplaces or libraries, and retains a percentage of the revenue.
- Resellers can reach diverse markets, specialized clientele and other niche segments with ease.
- Resellers generally offer a much better payout rate than font foundries, albeit resellers do not always deal in every genre of typefaces.
- Even in this model, you are forced to part with a specific percentage of the earnings.
- If the reseller in question does not have a good reputation or solid foothold, your fonts may just fail to be noticed at all.
3. Going Solo
Well, in this model, you have the option of going all by yourself! If you are an upcoming designer with not the world’s largest portfolio to boast of, this option might yield you hardly any benefits in return. On the other hand, if you are a popular enough designer, or have designs that can impress anyone, you might just try your hand at this model.
- The biggest benefit of operating without any intermediaries is the fact that you have absolute control over everything related to the business. You set the pricing, you decide the promotion and marketing strategy, and you reap the benefits (or tolerate the loss).
- You need not share your profits with any third party whatsoever. Yes, you keep it all. All of it. Every single penny!
- You can establish a good name for yourself (assuming your business gets popular).
- Again, it is difficult to get noticed when you are operating solo.
- You need to have a good business mind and terrific marketing skills.
- Sadly, this model is much like running a full-fledged business. As a result, you might end up spending less time designing and more time marketing.
With that, we come to the end of this article.
Since typography in itself is a very vital component for designers worldwide, designing and selling typefaces and fonts can indeed be a profitable venture. However, due to cut-throat competition and the amount of time, efforts and consistency required, font design is not everyone’s cup of tea. Yet, if you do decide to persist with it, the outcome will surely be well worth the effort.
Are you someone who designs and sells fonts, or are thinking of taking up font design as a profession? If so, share your views and experiences with us using the comments below!
Image Credits: Ethan Celuch