Neue Haas Grotesk - Why so expensive??

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Nikabrik's picture
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Joined: 31 Aug 2009 - 8:56pm
Neue Haas Grotesk - Why so expensive??
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Well, Font Bureau has just released their update of Neue Haas Grotesk, as updated by Christian Schwartz.

Specimen page: http://www.fontbureau.com/fonts/NeueHaasGrotesk/
Mini-site: http://www.fontbureau.com/nhg/

Looks great, right? Well you better hope you work for an agency or something, because there's no 1-user license. The complete font of 22 styles starts at 2-5, for the low low price of $1232. Even if you want to buy individual weights, you have to buy a 2-5 user license, so that's $80 each.

Can somebody please explain to me why this update to Helvetica is worth that much? Especially when that $1200 could get me ...

This Air superfamily of 81 weights ($999): http://www.myfonts.com/fonts/positype/air/
All 64 weights of Gotham ($1196): http://www.typography.com/fonts/font_styles.php?productLineID=100008
All 32 weights of Knockout ($799): http://www.typography.com/fonts/font_styles.php?productLineID=100013
ALL FIVE FONT FAMILIES IN THIS LIST ($1277): http://www.myfonts.com/users/gikrs2alzi/albums/603578/

I just don't get it.

Craig Eliason's picture
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Joined: 19 Mar 2004 - 1:44pm
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I'm not in line to make the purchase, but I suppose one argument might be that it would seem more versatile than some of those other options. If you can use it in twice as many applications as you would use Knockout, then charging less than twice as much could be seen as a better deal.
(There also might be differences in the EULA that should be part of the comparison.)
BTW your myfonts gallery isn't set to be publicly viewable.

Nick Shinn's picture
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Joined: 8 Jul 2003 - 11:00am
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It’s not an update.
For the true believer, no price is too high for the Holy Grail of Helveticas.
Anything less would be blasphemy.

Kent Lew's picture
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Joined: 21 Apr 2002 - 11:00am
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Even if you want to buy individual weights, you have to buy a 2-5 user license, so that's $80 each.

Hmm. When I checked the cart, it allowed me to select a 1-computer license.

Same with singles.

And as you add more individual styles, the volume discounts start to kick in. One font starts at $40 for 1 computer. Three or more goes down to $35 each. I think there’s at least one more tier. And the whole family works out to $28 per font (for a single user).

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am
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What Nick said. And the way he said it.

hhp

Kent Lew's picture
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Joined: 21 Apr 2002 - 11:00am
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Actually, I did just now get the cart to display a message about not being available for a single-user license.

I’m pretty sure this is an error. I’ve alerted the FB web tech to look into it.

Nikabrik's picture
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Joined: 31 Aug 2009 - 8:56pm
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If you update that cart with 1 computer selected, you'll be told:

Neue Haas Grotesk is not available as a 1 computer license. Please select a different license.

FontBureau confirmed that with me via Twitter, that their contract specifies no 1-user license. I could handle $616 for one user, but forcing someone to pick the 2-5 user license is crazy.

And I guess I don't see why these updates (or revivals, or whatever) are so expensive. Even if it took a ton of time to prepare it, you're still basing it off someone else's design that's readily available, even if the current versions are slightly imperfect. Plus, the high-end font market already has Activ Grotesk and other recent revivals. I fail to understand how this 22-weight family (especially considering 6 are just text versions of the display weights) could be considered more versatile or more valuable than some of the ones I listed above, or hundreds of other typefaces.

I think they're assuming that people buying with a 1-user license will probably break that license and use it/share it with more computers. So they're just jacking up the starting price and using the 2-5 user license to justify it.

Also, I updated that MyFonts list to show just how far $1232 could go for a freelancer like me. I prepared it pretty hastily, but the point is the same.

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am
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Are you're really upset because you really want it?

hhp

Kent Lew's picture
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Joined: 21 Apr 2002 - 11:00am
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Nikabrik — My mistake. Right you are. I just got the same confirmation from my contacts inside.

FB’s contract with Linotype for the licensing of NHG prevents them from selling single-user licenses.

I think they're assuming that people buying with a 1-user license will probably break that license

Actually, my assumption is that Linotype thought that FB selling single-user licenses would cut into their own sales. (But that’s just idle speculation.)

So I guess if you want a single-user license, you’ll have to go to Linotype directly.

Nikabrik's picture
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Joined: 31 Aug 2009 - 8:56pm
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I guess I'm an idiot then, I didn't know Linotype sold single-user licenses of the same font. I guess that begs the question of why Font Bureau is selling it and promoting it like they are, but it doesn't matter really.

As for why I posted this? Well it's the sort of thing I'd like to buy, yeah. But I don't NEED it, as I've already got Helvetica Neue (plus the mac-native Helvetica). So when I'm making another font purchase, I usually tend to get something that's going to broaden my palette a little bit.

And even if I wanted to use it in a project and bill the client, it'd be hard to justify it to them... "yes, I know you've got Arial and Helvetica on your computer, and they look practically identical to this, but it's really worth it for the alternate capital R."

I think it's the forced 2-5 user license that bothers me about this. It's like they're explicitly saying that they're aiming at in-house designers and design agencies. Which is fine I guess, it just seems discriminatory. That or they're trying to compensate for piracy somehow... but that's being declared guilty without a chance to prove your innocence.

What if Adobe eleminiated the 1-user license and started their pricing at two copies of CS6... people would be PISSED.

Nick Curtis's picture
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Joined: 21 Apr 2005 - 8:16am
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If and/or when the time comes that each individual font is sold with a unique serial number and requires activation in order to be used, single-user licenses may become practical. Be careful what you wish for.

Ryan Maelhorn's picture
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Joined: 24 Nov 2011 - 11:30am
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Actually I like Helvetica Neue better.

David Berlow's picture
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Joined: 19 Jul 2004 - 6:31pm
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"I guess I'm an idiot then, I didn't know Linotype sold single-user licenses of the same font."

I think you are just early. FB periodically develops and co-develops fonts from the Linotype library under agreement with Linotype, and with other type designers. This particular design and licensing development took some time to create, and I'm delighted to hear that you found the licensing you were originally looking for.

As for need for this family at all, I understand that most designers seek things extra-Helvetican to purchase their lifetime rights to. I hope you appreciate that there are others, from designers to large corporations, who seek the densest possible array of choices when it comes to this area of type designs.

Whether this is the best of them or not is beyond my simple sheep-herding tongue, though I do remember being asked for it quite regularly since the release of Fontographer 1.0.

Finally, on the need for text and display versions, a lot of people understand that a single version of some glyphs, like the bold M in this case, are doomed to mediocrity when only offered once for all sizes of use.

Nikabrik's picture
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Joined: 31 Aug 2009 - 8:56pm
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Thanks, and I do appreciate the value of the subtleties in the updated font, and I know that many people want that specificity. I just think that it's the large corporations who could justify the purchase price rather than any individual designer (at least at the $1232 price point). The single-user pricing definitely makes more sense.

Ryan Maelhorn's picture
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Joined: 24 Nov 2011 - 11:30am
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What happened to the horizontal terminals on the s?

Etah Chen's picture
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Joined: 19 Feb 2009 - 4:49am
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@Ryan, aren't they still horizontal?

Aaron Thesing's picture
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Joined: 6 Jul 2009 - 1:10am
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FWIW, you can buy a [[http://www.linotype.com/6690/winnerfontsvaluepacks.html|value pack]] at Linotype.com right now that includes Neue Haas Grotesk Display 25 Thin. Each font in the package is $9 so you only have to pay $27 to get that one Neue Haas font. That is a pretty significant discount (even if you don't want the other 2 fonts).

Indra Kupferschmid's picture
Joined: 8 Aug 2007 - 3:23am
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Hello Nikabrik, I can try to explain, at least the pricing part.

I guess Neue Haas Grotesk is supposed to be sold for the same price on both websites. The basic end user license from Linotype is usually for 1–5 computers = $54 for a standard font and $65 for the pro version. Font Bureau’s webshop though is set-up for their own standard licensing model, which only knows licenses for either one computer at $40 or 2–5 as the next tier. They are probably not allowed to sell it under $54 a style, thus you cannot select the 1-only license but have to chose 2–5. I heard they are currently working on changing it so the price for 2–5 will be the same as 1–5 at Linotype. If you want the fonts urgently, maybe just give them a call.

Zev Iosupovici's picture
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Joined: 17 Aug 2008 - 12:22am
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What happened to the condensed variants? Are designers supposed to purchase Helvetica Neue for those?

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am
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> They are currently working on changing it so the
> price for 2–5 will be the same as 1–5 at Linotype.

Indra, it's interesting (and nice) to see big rivals (there
aren't many left...) collaborate this deeply in marketing.
Is what you wrote "official"?

hhp

Indra Kupferschmid's picture
Joined: 8 Aug 2007 - 3:23am
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No, Hrant, this is just my personal guess, what I pasted together from the info you can find on their sites and I only heard that they are trying to solve that problem. You have to ask Font Bureau for more details.

Don McCahill's picture
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Joined: 30 Mar 2006 - 7:55pm
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> What if Adobe eliminated the 1-user license and started their pricing at two copies of CS6

Good lord man, don't give them any ideas on how to suck more money out of us. They have enough staff doing that already.

Ryan Maelhorn's picture
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Joined: 24 Nov 2011 - 11:30am
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etahchen, doesn't look like it.

Kent Lew's picture
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Joined: 21 Apr 2002 - 11:00am
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What happened to the horizontal terminals on the s?

@Ryan, aren't they still horizontal?

etahchen, doesn't look like it.

Really? :

Ryan Maelhorn's picture
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Joined: 24 Nov 2011 - 11:30am
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They look non horizontal to me, especially the right hand side. Perhaps it is an optical illusion.

Bert Vanderveen's picture
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Joined: 13 Jun 2004 - 8:19am
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Consider this: Helvetica is on billions of computers. And it is essentially free.

To differentiate, the *real* Helvetica should cost the inverse of free, e.g. infinite. The price quoted is cheap, thus.

nemo's picture
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Joined: 27 Oct 2010 - 6:22am
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Putting the Grotesk back into Helvetica?

I can’t be the only one who noticed this, surely:

That’s from the mini-site, on Firefox. If they can’t get the WOFF right… And yes, it’s a very silly price.

Zev Iosupovici's picture
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Joined: 17 Aug 2008 - 12:22am
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Also kooky in Chrome.

Frode Bo Helland's picture
Joined: 26 Feb 2007 - 1:03pm
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The jaggedness (in larger sizes) is due to the lousy Cleartype rendering engine, but the misaligned v/i is clearly not hinted. Even the most basic autohinting would lock these to the same alignment zone.

Steve Snowdon's picture
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Joined: 13 Sep 2011 - 10:45am
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@frodefrank

Again I learn something. The example text given by nemo looks genuinely terrible. Is that solely something that will happen on a computer using Windows? (I am inferring this from your reference to ClearType).

Frode Bo Helland's picture
Joined: 26 Feb 2007 - 1:03pm
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Yes. Cleartype has no aa in the y-direction, but utilizes the subpixels in the x-direction. Sharper then the old Standard rendering at text sizes, but horrible large. DirectWrite "corrects" this.

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am
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Why the quotes? Yes, not anti-aliasing in the y-axis was a mistake, but with that in place nothing beats it. And nothing is worse than treating intelligently hinted fonts like any other dumb font.

hhp

Ryan Maelhorn's picture
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Joined: 24 Nov 2011 - 11:30am
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Does anybody have a good shot of the lowercase s? I swear the lefthand terminal is lower on it's leftside. It may just be because the lower half of the s curles outward a bit more than the top half.

Kent Lew's picture
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Joined: 21 Apr 2002 - 11:00am
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Neue Haas Grotesk Display 55 Roman lowercase s, upper terminal:

lowercase s, lower terminal:

William Berkson's picture
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Joined: 26 Feb 2003 - 11:00am
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In the S, the lower hook is bigger than the top hook, and the lower terminal farther from the spine (as usual), so for some there may be an illusion that they are different in slant, even though they are not.

Ryan Maelhorn's picture
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Joined: 24 Nov 2011 - 11:30am
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Check and mate. I resign.