The best font foundries NOT on MyFonts

pdxuser's picture

If I'm browsing for fonts on MyFonts, what other foundries should I also make sure I check out? I know of House Industries and HFJ. Who else should I bookmark?

Pomeranz's picture

DTL, TEFF

hrant's picture

Good question.

hhp

Frode Bo Helland's picture

Monokrom.

Jackson's picture

I'm only half on myfonts. My newest release is exclusive to myself : https://okaytype.com/harriet/series

Nick Shinn's picture

Terminal.

eliason's picture

Riccard0, G-Type appears to be on MyFonts.

riccard0's picture

G-Type appears to be on MyFonts.

Yes, I know, but I wasn’t sure all of Nick’s fonts were on it. Plus, I know he would prefer a direct purchase ;-)

pdxuser's picture

I think everyone would, and I always try to buy direct, I just use MyFonts to find what I need because it has such a large library and great interface.

Thanks for all the suggestions, keep them coming! I forgot about Letterhead, and I thought Village was on MyFonts, but it looks like it's not. FontFont is. I can't find HHP or Monokrom in a Google search, though. Any help?

hrant's picture

Uh, "hhp" is just my initials! I know it's old-fashioned to use a signature... You should hear about my political views! (Nothing too nasty - it's just that I'm a monarchist... :-)

Anyway, actually I do run a foundry that's not on MyFonts. But that's mostly because I do custom commissions almost exclusively, and little retail work.

hhp

Frode Bo Helland's picture

Monokrom is still a secret. Shsss!

riccard0's picture

FontFont is [on MyFonts]

Again, not all of their offerings (example: https://www.fontfont.com/fonts/ernestine).
The same goes for Letterhead Fonts (whose limited offerings on MyFonts enjoy more liberal license terms, though).

hrant's picture

In the case of FontFont, are there old fonts that are not on MyFonts? Because I thought Ernestine is not on only because it's relatively new... although it is taking a while... I hope not for the reason that I'm fearing...

hhp

Mark Simonson's picture

I think everyone would, and I always try to buy direct, I just use MyFonts to find what I need because it has such a large library and great interface.

Keep in mind that there are some of us who only sell through distributors. This is a business decision that each font maker must make, whether to take on the responsibility of dealing with customers and payments directly or not. I did this for a while, and I liked the direct contact with customers most of the time, but the extra percentage of income from the direct sale of a license was not worth being on-call 25/7 for support issues, which most often were from novice users with installation or download difficulties. I am a one-person operation. I'm happy to pay my distributors for taking this burden from me and leaving me to do what I do best (presumably).

Sorry for going somewhat off-topic, but there seems to be an assumption that distributors are a bad deal for font makers, and that they should be avoided if possible. If MyFonts' "large library and great interface" makes it easy for you to find the fonts you want, don't be a jerk. If font makers don't want you to buy their fonts on MyFonts for some reason, they shouldn't be on MyFonts.

hrant's picture

Mark, what do you think about charging for tech-support?

> there seems to be an assumption that distributors are a bad deal for font makers

In some cases it's a bad deal, but it's crazy to think it's generally a bad deal, simply because there are many successful type designers who use -and keep using- distributors! Not that I consider myself "successful", but I've been quite happy with Linotype since 1998 and delighted with FontFont since December.

hhp

Mark Simonson's picture

Tech support and customer support is included in the price of the license already, but it's the distributor's responsibility, so in effect I'm paying them to do tech support and customer support. If a support issue turns out to be an actual problem with a font, they bring it to me to fix and I send the update to all my other distributors as well.

Nick Cooke's picture

Yes, all my typefaces apart from Rollerscript and some currently being updated are on on MyFonts.

My mate Jeremy Tankard isn't though:
http://typography.net/

pdxuser's picture

Wow, I just looked up the commission on MyFonts. I had no idea it was 50%! I'm definitely going to continue buying direct. And for those who don't sell their own fonts, is there another aggregator like fonts.com that takes a more reasonable cut?

hrant's picture

Actually 50% is not bad.

hhp

pdxuser's picture

Amazon's commission on third-party sales is 15% for most items. It goes as low as 6%. I imagine if they tried to take 50%, they'd essentially lose every vendor.

pdxuser's picture

And yet Apple is only taking a 30% e-book commission.

eliason's picture

iStockPhoto.com takes 80-85% for most photographers.

pdxuser's picture

Yikes, I've used them, and I've thought of creating illustrations for them. You'd think a competitor could come along and tell all their artists they'll give them a giant cut of the sales to go exclusive with them. A stock agency with 1/6 the sales volume could make it worth it for an artist by turning their 15% share to a 90% share. And by poaching major talent from iStock, the smaller rival will grow, benefiting the artist and the agency alike. But what do I know.

daverowland's picture

You'll probably find most foundries here that are on MyFonts are on a better rate than 50%. But even at that rate, the exposure you gain that you wouldn't on your own is invaluable. That's why many foundries that do sell direct also go through MyFonts. It'd be interesting to hear a breakdown of their sales, but I'd wager the vast majority of their income is from MyFonts sales rather than direct.

pdxuser's picture

Sure, MyFonts charges that much because the market will bear it. But 50-50 doesn't reflect how much work each party puts into the arrangement.

hrant's picture

Wait, you just got here from which planet?

hhp

daverowland's picture

But 50-50 doesn't reflect how much work each party puts into the arrangement.

That all depends on whether you consider the amount of work it took to get MyFonts to where they are today. Sell one font on your own at 100% royalty rate, versus, say, ten at 50% (conservative estimate of differing exposure levels!) and it becomes clear that MyFonts is the better option. If you're coming at it from a point of "I spent ages making this font and they just take their cut for doing not very much" then go out on your own. I prefer the "MyFonts get me way more exposure than I could dream of getting on my own and they only charge a small (relative to other distributors) cut for it" way of thinking. Each to their own though, I suppose.

Si_Daniels's picture

>But 50-50 doesn't reflect how much work each party puts into the arrangement.

If you look at Bitstream's earnings over the past ten years you'll see a lot of red ink associated with MyFonts. It's not like this was a huge money maker, at least not for most of the sites existence.

.00's picture

...

pdxuser's picture

Well, as long as there are designers happy to give MyFonts half, MyFonts will take half. You never get more if you don't demand it. And no, as great as MyFonts.com is, it didn't take an effort anywhere near 50-50 parity to the development of over 100,000 fonts by 1000 foundries. The simplest way to earn more money -- a much more cost-effective use of time than developing another font for sale at MyFonts -- would be to organize with other foundries and demand a higher base rate for all designers or else MyFonts will find themselves lacking products to take half the profits of. But I have a Norma Rae streak in me.

Si_Daniels's picture

>would be to organize with other foundries and demand a higher base rate for all typographers or else

A type designers strike! I like it, but this is real life not an episode of Portlandia. :-)

Florian Hardwig's picture

The simplest way […] would be to organize with other foundries

That’s the Village approach, no? But then, many of their member foundries are on MyFonts and other distributor websites, too.

pdxuser's picture

Type designers constitute a very limited pool of talent, and their expert work is very time-consuming. They are therefore difficult to quickly replace, so a strike could be highly effective. Losing distinctive, well-known bestsellers like Museo and Storefront Pro would be especially problematic. People looking for those fonts will just Google them and start buying elsewhere.

Of MyFonts' 50 bestselling fonts, 11 come from itself (Monotype, aka Berthold, Bitstream and Linotype -- and several others that aren't in the top 50), while of the rest, the majority share comes from just 7 sources: Jos Buivenga (exljbris), Hannes von Döhren (HVD), Hubert Jocham, Emily Lime, Ryan Martinson (Yellow Design Studio), Parachute and URW++. I'd imagine Mark Simonson, owner of #1 bestseller Proxima Nova; and Font Bureau, with two entries on the top 50 and a large library; could also wield some influence.

There's also grounds for a DOJ antitrust suit against Monotype, as they are the Walmart (MyFonts), Target (fonts.com), Proctor and Gamble (Monotype), Johnson & Johnson (Linotype) and Unilever (ITC) of their industry, setting the terms by which every smaller manufacturer must sell their wares if they want to be in the world's largest stores.

tourdeforce's picture

Thing is that popular fonts like Museo or Proxima Nova would probably never become so popular if there was no MyFonts.

Why don't you make an test. Create one font family and start selling it on your own. Let's say for first 6 months. And then sign in on MyFonts and report us results from both sources.

(and it's a question of font attractiveness also, that moves you up on the list)

Florian Hardwig's picture

Isn’t dissatisfaction a prerequisite for going on strike?
This is what Jos says himself:

I needed a partner that would relieve me from the hassle of setting up and maintaining a shop. MyFonts looked ideal to me because of the fact that I was able to do my own marketing and because MyFonts gives a fair commission on sales.

daverowland's picture

As I said before - most of the foundries in the top 50 will be on much better royalty rates than 50%. Most will be on 65% but some are as high as 80% I believe. I think 50% is a fair amount for new foundries - the exposure is greater than it was when these foundries joined up at better rates.
Nothing's set in stone though. Show your fonts to MyFonts and make them an offer royalty-wise. Worse they can do is say no.

pdxuser's picture

I agree that if you're a less experienced, lesser-selling type designer, you should get less. But that's because you're selling less, not because the industry's biggest competitors are taking advantage of your weaker position and helping themselves to a larger chunk of your already tight income. 80% is fair, but 50% isn't. And if one designer is getting a better rate than others, I can see why they wouldn't have complaints.

But for the record, I'm not a type designer. I just think Monotype is using its market dominance and ownership of the channels of commerce to take advantage of its smaller rivals.

Frode Bo Helland's picture

It's type designer, not typographer.

pdxuser's picture

Duly noted and corrected, thank you very much.

tourdeforce's picture

Here's one analogy:

USA politics and army control half of the planet and still wants more.

That's how business works. If you're Monotype, I bet you'll do the same they're doing or they did. It pushes you forward, to become bigger and bigger.

Or look from this side: if you open your grocery shop in your one-way street where you live and sell your fruits only there, will you be satisfied with the traffic of customers same as me, while I sell my fruits in the biggest and well known hypermarkets.

Same relation... why do we need banks then? They are just basically traders, who do export-import for you and take their %.

...

hrant's picture

> Type designers constitute a very limited pool of talent, and their expert work is very time-consuming.

Have you really looked at MyFonts? :-/

> Of MyFonts' 50 bestselling fonts ...

I'm assuming that's from the current list. If you could aggregate such data over time* then that would actually be quite a useful contribution on your part.

* Assuming they're not gracious enough to provide that data themselves.

> Monotype is using its market dominance

The 50% figure was in place way before Monotype took over.

> Why don't you make an test.

Maybe that's what Jackson is doing.

BTW, I think it was 85% in the early days.

hhp

TOM-MLL's picture

If you are a designer, than your best option would likely be YouWorkForThem, they seem the most designer focused shop it seems (also selling stock art) to me.

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