Type USB

ScribblezGfx's picture

Hello (Your name here)

General scope of project;
The project I’m working on is selling. Which is done through the notion of a vending machine.
There are two products being sold 1. The font/typeface 2. Product packaging

My first solution to approach this concept, is to have a vending machine that stores Discs, where fonts/typefaces were sold on “floppy disks” by such foundries as FontShop during the late 80s to early 90s. However with previous talks with my lecturer Discs have become very obsolete in this day of age.

The approach is finding another way of storing theses fonts, is to make a Font USB stick. Allowing you to store the font and still have future use by the consumer.

The vending machine which stores theses fonts will be sold in shops such as Magma bookstore where people with good income would buy fonts as Magma being a store to sell design books.

Fonts and Typefaces are sold today online by via payable methods.
Through some research on Typohile.com font foundries that are selling fonts are have new ways of giving customers fonts without files like OTF TTF due to illegal font sharing… This has put some designers off from buying fonts online. This is were the idea of selling fonts in shops can allow more designers purchase fonts over the counter by cash or card.

*Please note;
The vending machine is more of an installation to create its awareness and done at a gallery on limited days of the year or at typography exhibitions.


1) Do you think more people would interested in buying a font in the shops? rather then online?

2) Who are your target audience? And the age group of people buying fonts on your website?

3) If there was a product that stored your fonts like ‘Type USB stick’ and can sold by your website and online - would you be interested in investing in that product?(example a fontfoundry USB)

4) What illegal ways do have on cracking down on font sharing? As I know most font foundries are programming fonts to certain amount of computers and some needing licensing.

Mock-Up.jpg527.63 KB
ScribblezGfx's picture

In advance, sorry for any spelling mistakes & grammar.

cuttlefish's picture

All attempts at copy protection or other digital rights management with fonts have met not only with customer resistance, but with technical hurdles sufficient to make the product unusable.

A market exists for font sales in stores on physical media, but those tend to be home and general office users, not designers.

I do believe there is a market for designer novelty USB memory units. Memory devices in the shape of cartoon characters are already widespread, so I see no reason why other designs wouldn't be accepted as well.

Demand for your product may not be sufficient for a dedicated single-product vending machine, but they may fit well along side other high-end devices in machines such as those in airports and hotels that sell iPods and such.

The above are all anecdotal assertions. The experience of others may vary and objective data may not bear them out.

Ray Larabie's picture

I've always liked the idea of one-shot retail fonts. As a kid, I'd drool over the Letraset/DecaDry/Mecanorma dry transfer sheets. I'd occaisonally buy one even tho I had no real use for it. Rather than delivering the fonts on physical media, the font could be delivered thru a unique URL inside the package. Nothing fancy, just a folded card glued shut. The outside of the package could be a sort of album cover, like the square flags on MyFonts perhaps with a specimen on the flip side. That way the buyer isn't saddled with another undersized USB stick in the back of a desk drawer.

A great advantage of selling fonts this way is that it opens the doors to a whole new group of font users. Font enjoyers who lack the knowhow to pirate fonts othe web can simply shoplift them the old-fashioned way. Everybody wins!

ScribblezGfx's picture

Thank you Cuttlefish & Typodermic, for those great insights.

Cuttlefish: I know I couldn't store the physical font or typeface on the USB due to the 'EULA' - However I could have a code that allows the buyer to download the font or typeface from the type foundries.

Typodermic: I did come up the CD packaging for fonts, which the packging for CD covers would look like the food packets you get in a vending machine(see attached 'Mock-Up.jpg') That idea changed with one to one crits with my lecturer. The reason I went for USB sticks is, they can have this use of being re-used over and over again by the buyer. My idea of selling them could be done limited edition at a typography exhibition. That way its being sold to my market who are at that respectable age, of not going into the shop to five finger discount.

Ray Larabie's picture

The download codes could be unique and a limited run. Even if it's on a USB stick, someone can backup the font and ditch the stick.

Check out the old Letraset, Deca-Dry packages or some of other 1/4 page dry transfer lettering. The kind that hangs on a display peg instead of lays flat in a drawer. The alphabet was always visible through the cellophane. I used to look at my collection of dry transfer lettering sheets and think, "what can I put these on?". Those weren't fonts that I bought, they were packages of letters.

darkwolf29a1's picture

Firstly, I think that this is an interesting idea in itself. I am not sure how it would work, or how weel. Most people just buy them and download them, also creating a backup. The one thing that I find annoying is using multiple fonts. I have enough trouble with USB ports. Somehow, putting multiple font sticks into my computer would not make things easier on me.

That stated, there is another here that you are overlooking, I think. What about selling USB sticks in the shape of fonts, like you have posted? Personally, I'm always looking for new sticks myself. I'm in the market right now, because I want something bigger than my old 8gb. But, my trouble has always been that they are not very exciting. Oh, I've found a few that aren't plain, but they cost an arm and a leg.

Just another way to work this, in my opinion. ;)

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