Strictly custom type companies?

Primary tabs

47 posts / 0 new
Last post
Ruxandra Duru's picture
Offline
Joined: 28 Jun 2010 - 10:18am
Strictly custom type companies?
0

Hello typophiles,

I was wondering if anybody knew of companies strictly offering custom type services (no retail releases). Are there any? I had thought of Dalton Maag, but they seem to be offering quite a few retail fonts now. Maybe http://www.pangeadesign.se/? I am not sure where to look for this information.

Any help would be very appreciated!

Ruxandra

Nick Shinn's picture
Offline
Joined: 8 Jul 2003 - 11:00am
0
Ruxandra Duru's picture
Offline
Joined: 28 Jun 2010 - 10:18am
0

Many thanks, Nick!

Anybody else?

Bert Vanderveen's picture
Offline
Joined: 13 Jun 2004 - 8:19am
0

My guess is that you won’t find many custom type foundries. A common (and sensible) business model for custom type is a limited period of exclusivity for the client, followed by commercial exploitation (aka selling to all).

Johan Palme's picture
Offline
Joined: 23 Jan 2011 - 6:07am
0

Well, the two companies above both do other design and identity work, and commercial fonts would be out of style for them. I know for instance http://www.stockholmdesignlab.se/ has done custom typefaces too (Stadium Sans, Åhléns sans etc.).

Nick Shinn's picture
Offline
Joined: 8 Jul 2003 - 11:00am
0

IIRC, Roberto de Vicq de Cumptich (BTW, designer of the Just My Type cover) has designed some non-retail fonts—I recall him giving a presentation at TypeCon a few years ago showing a face with lots of ligs.

Riccardo Sartori's picture
Joined: 13 Jul 2009 - 4:20am
0
Frode Bo Helland's picture
Joined: 26 Feb 2007 - 1:03pm
0

a2swhk used to be, but they went retail with a2type.

miles newlyn's picture
Offline
Joined: 28 Feb 2002 - 4:56am
0

I was custom only for a long time, but have made a few releases in the last couple of years. I have never done limited exclusivity and then release - if you commission a font from me it's yours.

Thomas Phinney's picture
Offline
Joined: 3 Sep 2002 - 11:00am
0

Tiro Typeworks is close.

Andreas Stötzner's picture
Joined: 12 Mar 2007 - 10:21am
0

Some experience with custom http://fonting, yes. Details on request.
What are you after?

Nick Curtis's picture
Offline
Joined: 21 Apr 2005 - 8:16am
0

I am rather curious at to why "strictly custom services" has any validity when it comes to purchasing a typeface design. Are we wading into the old "Perceived Value" realm, where paying a princely sum is supposedly a guarantee of superior quality?

Ruxandra Duru's picture
Offline
Joined: 28 Jun 2010 - 10:18am
0

Thanks a lot everybody!

I think explaining why I am looking for this information beforehand would have been wiser. I am working on a short masters thesis on the state of the independent type foundry industry today, and, as part of my introduction, I have created a schema of the different players in the business around type design, including foundries that offer retails fonts, and also those companies that don't. I wanted to give some examples of the latter, but it was much harder than I thought, as the ones I wanted to include (ex: Dalton Maag), recently transitioned towards offering retail fonts as well. It's interesting to see how this model is becoming rare, and now mostly applies to companies that do other design and identity work along with custom type design, as mentioned by Johan.

Nick Cooke's picture
Offline
Joined: 25 May 2004 - 2:29am
0

AFAIK Dalton Maag have offered retail fonts for at least 10 years.
I too don't understand the "strictly custom services" question - why would anybody want to limit themselves like that? Most companies, especially independents, offer both retail and custom fonts.

Ruxandra Duru's picture
Offline
Joined: 28 Jun 2010 - 10:18am
0

Thank you for your comments,

10 years? I was under the impression it was more recent.

I am aware that most companies offer custom type along with retail fonts, I simply wanted to mention a few companies that offer custom type (whether they do other type of work such as graphic design as well or not) but don't release retail fonts. It might a very small segment that does not reflect the general tendency, but I wanted to be exhaustive.

Nick Shinn's picture
Offline
Joined: 8 Jul 2003 - 11:00am
0

… independent type foundry …

Independent of what?

All type foundries are independent, so the term is redundant.
"Indie" was a musical term, used to describe record labels without their own means of distribution.
It has some "alternative" cred.
By the same token, "independent" type foundries would be those without e-commerce at their web site.

Are the non-independent type foundries Microsoft, Adobe and Apple?
Those companies are not type foundries, but hardware/software app companies with tiny type departments.

James Todd's picture
Offline
Joined: 16 Apr 2011 - 8:58pm
0

I'd guess Independent would mean type foundries that aren't Monotype or Linotype.

Ruxandra Duru's picture
Offline
Joined: 28 Jun 2010 - 10:18am
0

Independent as in foundries founded by designers who create, own and distribute typefaces themselves and/or through vendors, unassociated from companies such as Monotype, and generally small in size. It excludes corporations like Microsoft, Adobe and Apple.

Yes, this definition includes most foundries today, and maybe the term is becoming less relevant. It does seem like it is still in use though: http://shop.gestalten.com/type-navigator.html. Paul van der Laan and Pieter van Rosmalen from Bold Monday, among others, also use it to describe their foundry: "Bold Monday regards itself as the typographical equivalent of a so called “indie” record company." In any case, I wanted to use a term that excluded large corporations such as the ones mentioned above.

Nick Shinn's picture
Offline
Joined: 8 Jul 2003 - 11:00am
0

Is FontFont an independent foundry?
And Font Bureau?
What about Commercial?

Bold Monday may position itself as hip and alternative, but the majority of foundries aren't, because they are the mainstream.

Thomas Phinney's picture
Offline
Joined: 3 Sep 2002 - 11:00am
0

I have always thought that the term "independent" or "indie" when applied to typefaces and fonts was dubious, mainly because it was undefined or underdefined. "Companies such as Monotype" and "generally small in size" are both vague phrases.

Of course, one can leave the definition vague. That just means that besides the obvious cases, there will be plenty of uncertainty about whether certain firms are "indie" or not, notably Nick's examples.

Thomas Phinney's picture
Offline
Joined: 3 Sep 2002 - 11:00am
0

Regarding "strictly custom fonts" I don't think it's a useful categorization. Too rare, and custom vs retail work is a continuum rather than a binary classification.

More interesting might be to survey some foundries and ask what % of their annual income is from retail fonts, custom fonts, other type-design/production-related work (hinting?), or "other" (graphic design?). Or even just the relative proportion of custom font income vs retail font income, you could show them on a continuum line. Not everyone would be open to providing that info, but many might be.

Cheers,

T

Ruxandra Duru's picture
Offline
Joined: 28 Jun 2010 - 10:18am
0

Nick, Thomas,

Yes, I am including those three foundries. I think I will keep that rougher definition of independent foundries, unless you have other suggestions of terms that would exclude large corporations.

The project will actually be completed soon, thank you for your suggestion Thomas. I have interviewed a number of foundries (mostly by mail) about various aspects, including how they manage custom and retail work, and some mentioned where their income came from as well. I practically have all their answers ready, I will now synthesize all this and hopefully before the project's deadline!

And about the "strictly custom fonts" I will discuss it again with my tutor, but I agree it might be too rare.

Thank you for your help!

Nick Shinn's picture
Offline
Joined: 8 Jul 2003 - 11:00am
0

… unless you have other suggestions of terms that would exclude large corporations.

"Foundry".

Would you call Procter & Gamble a battery company?
Or an appliance manufacturer?
And yet it owns Duracell and Braun.
By the same token, Microsoft, Apple and Adobe are not type foundries.

James Montalbano's picture
Joined: 18 Jun 2003 - 11:00am
0

I received Ruxandra's one sentence request for information about Terminal Design.

Not a very good approach to gathering information. Is that the survey technique they teach in grad school now?

I did not respond.

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am
0

James, that's very ungracious.

I myself saw nothing wrong with the approach, especially since
Ruxandra dedicated the time to an email exchange leading to a
good grasp of The MicroFoundry's evolution.

hhp

James Montalbano's picture
Joined: 18 Jun 2003 - 11:00am
0

... response edited... not worth the time

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am
0

Candor is worth it.

hhp

James Montalbano's picture
Joined: 18 Jun 2003 - 11:00am
0

Worth what?

Reynir Heiðberg Stefánsson's picture
Joined: 19 Nov 2010 - 11:15am
0

It's like jazz... if ya gotta ask, ya'll never get it.

James Montalbano's picture
Joined: 18 Jun 2003 - 11:00am
0

worth it.

Reynir Heiðberg Stefánsson's picture
Joined: 19 Nov 2010 - 11:15am
0

Shoulda remembered not to get into a battle of wits with an unarmed man.

James Montalbano's picture
Joined: 18 Jun 2003 - 11:00am
0

See my above comment.

James Montalbano's picture
Joined: 18 Jun 2003 - 11:00am
0

worth it.

Ruxandra Duru's picture
Offline
Joined: 28 Jun 2010 - 10:18am
0

Thanks a lot Nick, I appreciate your input!

Ruxandra Duru's picture
Offline
Joined: 28 Jun 2010 - 10:18am
0

As for James’ remark, I didn’t mean to upset anyone or appear careless in my method of obtaining concise information (ex: foundation date). Most people have kindly responded but, in retrospective, I concede that the brief context of my request could have been expanded.

Cheers.

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am
0

Graciousness notan.

hhp

Reynir Heiðberg Stefánsson's picture
Joined: 19 Nov 2010 - 11:15am
0

Sure, I do not play jazz (or any other music), but I do not need it explained to me either.

James Montalbano's picture
Joined: 18 Jun 2003 - 11:00am
0

worth it.

Göran Söderström's picture
Joined: 15 Feb 2006 - 2:53am
0

Hi Ruxandra,

Pangea design doesnt sell any commercial fonts, we only do custom work for clients, sometimes visible and sometimes invisible. However we have designed FF Dagny (from a custom typeface we did for a swedish newspaper DN) which we released at FontFont.

I know for instance http://www.stockholmdesignlab.se/ has done custom typefaces too (Stadium Sans, Åhléns sans etc.).

That is not entirely true as Stockholm Design Lab does not have their own type development team. I know for instance that they worked with Monotype for the development of the Stadium Sans custom font.

At Pangea design we do all the work In House.

Best,
Göran Söderström

Reynir Heiðberg Stefánsson's picture
Joined: 19 Nov 2010 - 11:15am
0

Always thought FF Dagny was named for someone.

Göran Söderström's picture
Joined: 15 Feb 2006 - 2:53am
0

Té; it comes from DAGens NYheter.

But. It’s also a female name and a swedish song :)

Reynir Heiðberg Stefánsson's picture
Joined: 19 Nov 2010 - 11:15am
0

@terminal_design - Advice noted and filed to /dev/null.

Ruxandra Duru's picture
Offline
Joined: 28 Jun 2010 - 10:18am
0

Sorry for the late reply, but thank you for the information, Goran!

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am
0

She might be too shy, modest, or busy, so I'll do the honors of
linking to the truly useful survey Ruxandra ended up compiling:
http://www.eina.edu/arxius/docs_2/Duru_Ruxandra.pdf

hhp

Göran Söderström's picture
Joined: 15 Feb 2006 - 2:53am
0

That looks like interesting reading. Thanks.

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am
0

FYI the old link is broken. Now there's this:
http://ruxandra-duru.com/web/pdf/Ruxandra_Duru_type_foundries_today.pdf

hhp

Stephen Coles's picture
Offline
Joined: 14 May 2001 - 11:00am
0

I'm pleased to announce that Ruxandra is updating her survey and we will publish it on Typographica in 2013.