Would you license a library of fonts for $100 per year

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James Montalbano's picture
Joined: 18 Jun 2003 - 11:00am
Would you license a library of fonts for $100 per year
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The header says it all.

100 bucks for a basic license (1-5 users single location). Larger installations would require larger yearly fees

James

Bert Vanderveen's picture
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Joined: 13 Jun 2004 - 8:19am
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How much of a library? in other words: how many fonts?

. . .
Bert Vanderveen BNO

James Montalbano's picture
Joined: 18 Jun 2003 - 11:00am
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How many fonts would make it worthy of your consideration?. 50, 100, 1000?

At $19-$50 per font as a current average price, what is the size threshold that would be the tipping point?

Claus Eggers Sørensen's picture
Joined: 17 Jan 2007 - 5:49am
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The question is which fonts. Isn't it?

Adam Twardoch's picture
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Joined: 3 Dec 2002 - 7:36pm
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Also, would there be just a static batch of fonts that would never change, or would that be a plan where new fonts are added to the pool once they are released, for no additional fee?

If you'd expect me to give you an answer based on a one-liner like "would you license a library of fonts for $100 per year", my only response could be "Maybe".

A.

Dan Reynolds's picture
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Joined: 20 Jul 2002 - 11:00am
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I would want it to be a lot of fonts.* But if it were, then the answer would be yes. I would do that. And I would keep paying year after year. 100 dollars isn't really that much actually, I wouldn't miss it mentally the way that I would miss even $200. Funny how we draw these lines.

* I don't know what this number would actually be. It'd have to just feel right. Sorry for being so subjective.

Stephen Coles's picture
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Joined: 14 May 2001 - 11:00am
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The number of fonts and the price are important variables, of course, but in general, I think a "subscription license" is an interesting idea, James. P22 has something like it with their P22 Club, incidentally, also $99 per year.

Sharon Van Lieu's picture
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Joined: 14 May 2004 - 2:17am
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Doesn't the P22 deal just give you a discount on fonts you buy? I like this subscription idea quite a bit. My answer would be - probably.

Sharon

Dan Reynolds's picture
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Joined: 20 Jul 2002 - 11:00am
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You know, now that I think about it, the number of fonts would have to be only about as big as the Underware library. They only have about fix or six typefaces out, but they all have what I consider a lot in them, and I like all of them a lot. I'd pay a hundred bucks a year for that. Hope this helps a little.

Blank's picture
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Joined: 25 Sep 2006 - 2:15pm
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As a student, it would depend on the library, but probably. I’ve already dropped $400 on fonts this semester—and it’s only a month in! It would have been even better during my sophomore and junior years when I had less money to spend and was just using whatever bootleg fonts were going around. I also think professors would be less likely to give fonts to students if the cost of a years worth of fonts was about equal to two good textbooks.

This would also be a great deal for the organization I work for. We don’t have a huge budget so our display types don’t change much because we can’t justify dropping money on a font to use it once or twice. Paying a subscription fee would make a lot more sense, and allow me to avoid getting every font purchase approved. I would have very little trouble getting $100 per month approved if the collection were big enough.

Edit: On a related note, I would be especially likely to use it if the whole thing operated using FEX.

Stephen Coles's picture
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> if the whole thing operated using FEX

Paid Typecasts. Linotype, are you listening?

Claus Eggers Sørensen's picture
Joined: 17 Jan 2007 - 5:49am
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I also think professors would be less likely to give fonts to students...

Is this common? I heard about one such case before and it really sounds like a very... well, stupid thing for a teacher to do.

Beth Budwig's picture
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Joined: 17 Aug 2006 - 4:53pm
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Yes, as long as the fonts were good. Quality would matter far more than quantity (hey, I hear I can get 1000 fonts for only...).

paul d hunt's picture
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Joined: 5 May 2005 - 8:44pm
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My answer would have to be "It depends". I'd like to have the option to choose between this and current standard licensing. I'm assuming that you wouldn't be able to license an entire library for $100, so if I could choose maybe 2 full families in fully-featured OpenType and a handful of single-style fonts (probably display but not necessarily) this offer may be worth it. I'd much rather be able to pick a few things that I think would work for me than be saddled with whatever a default licensing package might be. Of course, I'm speaking as someone who is currently a hobbyist user of type, not a professional.

The biggest obstacle I see would be enforcing this licensing scheme. Have self-obsolescing fonts been developed? How would you retrieve the fonts after 1 year? Would this system be based on the honor system?

Josh's picture
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Joined: 10 Nov 2005 - 1:46am
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Start a font of the month club!

Yves Peters's picture
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Joined: 7 Nov 2002 - 11:00am
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As a principle I think this would be a great idea. But it would heavily depend on which fonts exactly. Which would also influence how many -- I don't mind less fonts for the same price if they're really good.

Blank's picture
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Joined: 25 Sep 2006 - 2:15pm
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It would be interesting to combine this with a survey about font piracy. The last survey I saw showed over half of the respondents admitting to font piracy—I wonder how many would pay for a subscription service.

Russell McGorman's picture
Joined: 25 May 2006 - 10:01am
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no. I'd rather buy rights as I need them.

There are already so many annual, semi-annual, & etc. fees to keep track of the thought of a new one is not an attractive one.

-=®=-

Ricardo Cordoba's picture
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Joined: 6 Jun 2005 - 6:57pm
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as long as the fonts were good

My condition as well. I'd rather have quality than quantity.

Ch's picture
Ch
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Joined: 4 Feb 2007 - 7:48pm
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if the fonts were good and the number was generous : yes absolutely.

if the fonts were good but the number was limited : depends on the deal.

if the fonts were so-so : probably not.

if the fonts were fancy, exclusive, expensive otherwise : i'd seriously consider it.

smiling emoticon.

Gerald Lange's picture
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Joined: 15 Mar 2002 - 1:22pm
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I don't license fonts or lease them. What kind of bullshit is that? How did we all get conned into that? Digital foundries can't protect their wares from being copied and it is OUR fault?

Then, again, that is why I haven't BOUGHT a digital font in years. Though I did BUY (license) Peanut from P22 maybe a year or so ago. Hopefully, my license will transfer with the next font format change; does that work?

Gerald

Dan Reynolds's picture
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Joined: 20 Jul 2002 - 11:00am
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> Hopefully, my license will transfer with the next font format change; does that work?

That depends on the foundry. Many foundries do not upgrade you for free. Many more do not even offer discounts. On the other hand, an OpenType font often has far more in it than a normal PostScript Type 1 font may have. So a free upgrade there wouldn't really be fair in a lot of cases.

There will inevitably be a lot that changes in the next generation font format, and a lot that stays the same… just like every other technological step. But I personally don't expect the attitude toward the terms "licensing" and the idea of protecting intellectual property to change. In fact, if I were betting, I'd say that the next format will offer foundries even more protection somehow.

darrel's picture
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Joined: 4 Feb 2003 - 6:03pm
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It's a neat idea. As much as I hate 'renting' software, that's pretty much what all of us do these days anyways. I always thought Adobe should come out with some subscription plan. $x a year and you have access to whatever Adobe software you need.

"I don’t license fonts or lease them. What kind of bullshit is that? How did we all get conned into that?"

Bill Gates is a master marketer.

Jackie Frant's picture
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Joined: 24 Feb 2005 - 9:18am
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I don't know if a subscription would help any of the parties. Before they know it, they may have paid out more in a few years for all those subscriptions then they would had they bought the fonts they use.

Also, if a person subscribes in year one, and doesn't for year 2 - what is to stop that person from still using the fonts? Or worse, passing them on...?

Don McCahill's picture
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Joined: 30 Mar 2006 - 7:55pm
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> Is this [teachers giving out fonts] common? I heard about one such case before and it really sounds like a very... well, stupid thing for a teacher to do.

Sadly, it is. Usually in graphic design courses, not typography ones. I once worked with a teacher who laughed when I said I was saving up for Adobe's font folio. He came in the next day with a copy on disk, and thought I was foolish for not accepting it.

James Montalbano's picture
Joined: 18 Jun 2003 - 11:00am
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Thank you for all your comments. I was just trying to gauge your opinions.

Currently for several of our clients, we offer a licensing deal as follows: For a yearly fee they gain access to our entire library. As we come out with new fonts, they get access to those as well. When they use our fonts in their client's work, they bill price of the relevant fonts to their client. We offer them a discount on the font price that they can either pass along to their client, or take as a sales commission.

We also work with them to develop designs that they feel are useful.

So far it is working nicely.

James

Frode Bo Helland's picture
Joined: 26 Feb 2007 - 1:03pm
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Say you could license 10 typefaces out of a full library with the ability to select different typefaces every year. That would be something.

Dan Gayle's picture
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Joined: 17 May 2006 - 7:00pm
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@Terminal Design
So are you saying that you give the design firm full access to the typefaces for design and layout purposes, but charge a discounted price for the font when it is actually put into use?

James Montalbano's picture
Joined: 18 Jun 2003 - 11:00am
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@DanGayle
Yes. So if you use typeface A-Light for a client1 you purchase the license of A-Light for the client at a discount. When you use typeface A-Light for client2, you purchase the license of A-Light for the client at a discount. And so on.

James

Dan Gayle's picture
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Joined: 17 May 2006 - 7:00pm
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I like that idea. It monetizes a practice that some designers have already. Some designers will download entire foundries' libraries, not legally of course, for use in the design process. Then, after the work of getting the typefaces approved by the client, etc., they will properly license the font from the foundry.

Your idea is the same, except legal. As an added benefit, the actual purchase of the typeface comes at a discount, and you get access to the newest fonts and perhaps unique fonts that otherwise would be unavailable. Nice compromise.

Eran Kaplinsky's picture
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Joined: 24 Jul 2007 - 4:07pm
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It’s a neat idea. As much as I hate ’renting’ software, that’s pretty much what all of us do these days anyways. I always thought Adobe should come out with some subscription plan. $x a year and you have access to whatever Adobe software you need.... Bill Gates is a master marketer.

Soon the day will come when you will pay licensing fees for your first born's first name.
You read it here first.

Nick Shinn's picture
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Joined: 8 Jul 2003 - 11:00am
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What kind of bullshit is that?

Licensing is a mechanism which protects copyright in digital media.

darrel's picture
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Joined: 4 Feb 2003 - 6:03pm
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"Licensing is a mechanism which protects copyright in digital media."

But so is selling. ;o)

Ch's picture
Ch
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Joined: 4 Feb 2007 - 7:48pm
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http://typophile.com/node/42540

a thread i started on the future of licensing.

the current model is seriously flawed and woefully cumbersome, and thus doomed. i have mixed feelings.

Russell McGorman's picture
Joined: 25 May 2006 - 10:01am
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So is selling

Mmmm.. No. I don't think so. Selling implies complete ownership including the right to re-package, re-sell.

-=®=-

Ch's picture
Ch
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Joined: 4 Feb 2007 - 7:48pm
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an argument for revising copyright law. not mine, just for discussion.

http://www.boingboing.net/2008/01/29/we-need-a-different.html

Bert Vanderveen's picture
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Joined: 13 Jun 2004 - 8:19am
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James: So if you use typeface A-Light for a client1 you purchase the license of A-Light for the client at a discount. When you use typeface A-Light for client2, you purchase the license of A-Light for the client at a discount. And so on.

That’s a great idea. Count me in.

I would gladly pay 100 usd a year for the use of say 20 or 25 type families.

BTW I have been a P22 Clubmember for a few years now, because I like that concept too. Just a shame that their Library is somewhat limited. So for THIS concept to work there has to be quite a broad base of fonts to choose from & maybe the possibility to change your prefs and such.

Let me think some more on this.

. . .
Bert Vanderveen BNO