Kickstarter crowdfunding for Cristoforo

Help back my typeface “Cristoforo” via Kickstarter, and choose from cool typographic goodies, including the fonts themselves.

Cristoforo is a revival of some classic Victorian typefaces by Hermann Ihlenburg. It’s also known as the typeface of Call of Cthulhu, the H.P. Lovecraft roleplaying game, and as the original logo for Cracker Jack.

The campaign will only last until midnight on Saturday May 19. Basically, people pledge money for fonts and other goodies up front so I know the project is viable. Reward options for backers depend on their funding level, and include not only the fonts, but computer desktop wallpaper, postcards, T-​​shirts and posters.

Kickstarter is all or nothing. Only if the total pledges exceed the minimum funding target are people’s credit cards charged and the project moves forward.

If funding exceeds the minimum by enough of a margin, I can add more language support for central/​eastern Europe, and even pay an intern!

riccard0's picture

$8,192 goal… I suppose there’s some hidden meaning behind the number ;-)

Thomas Phinney's picture

I've been wondering when somebody would ask that. :)

It's an anagram of 1892, the year the original typeface was released. I knew I wanted to target somewhere around $8000 or $9000, and the exact number wasn't really very important....

hrant's picture

Hey, cool - good luck with it! I personally don't use fonts much :-) but I'll gladly chip in a nominal amount.

It's an anagram of 1892

Huh, you know it's also a power of 2. But how do you explain all the other funny numbers, eh?! Some mystic Kabbalah numerology action for sure... ;-)

hhp

ebensorkin's picture

A bit random but, Thomas, did you know about this Hungarian TV show?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l8P37Pq21MM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oE8bi2xbd2M&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ypDgz4_pciw&feature=related

I assume this is just meant to be a print type - correct?

Thomas Phinney's picture

Eben,

No, I hadn't heard of that show.

If you mean, am I eager to see it superhinted for use at small sizes on screen, then no. But I expect it to see a fair bit of use on screen, just because that's how the world works these days. It's very much a display typeface, however, so it likely won't have a lot of fine tuning for the screen....

Cheers,

T

riccard0's picture

I need to find some excuse to pledge some money for this...

PabloImpallari's picture

Only 50 hours left.. make your pledge!

Thomas Phinney's picture

Ended up at about 60% of the $8192 target! Dang!

It was a very interesting, albeit exhausting, experience. I'll be talking about Kickstarter as a font funding platform at TypeCon and possibly ATypI, based on not only my own experiences but interviews with almost everyone who has tried this.

Cheers,

T

hrant's picture

Damn shame. Although often there's more to learn from failure than success (and I'd be very interested in the talk you're proposing).

hhp

Jackson's picture

I'll be talking about Kickstarter as a font funding platform at TypeCon and possibly ATypI, based on not only my own experiences but interviews with almost everyone who has tried this.

Looking forward to it. Kickstarter is a thing I personally struggle with and I've been trying lately to understand why I feel the way I do about it. I hope you get opinions of type designers who have chosen not to do try this as well.

Thomas Phinney's picture

Jackson: Actually, that's something I hadn't thought of, but there are plenty of those folks to go around. Those of us who have attempted it are a more rarified group for now.

I am probably going to tweak my reward structure and offerings a bit, and try again. I already have all the info there ready to re-use, so it would be much easier to revise and re-try than to do it from scratch.

Nick Shinn's picture

So you get nothing?
If you have over 50% pledged, can’t you persuade a third party to put up the rest, reimburse them, and collect the difference anyway?

Richard Fink's picture

I thought about Nick's benevolent kick-back angle and I'm sure it's been done. But, uh, it's problematical. What if you get hit by a truck in the interim, before the money can be returned? (Sorry to be so grim, but stuff like that happens all the time.) Does Kickstarter have any provision for a project that gets funded but never begins for one reason or another?

$8,000 at the outset seemed a little optimistic. (Although what formula one could use to come up with a more "fundable" amount beats the heck out of me.)
If you're doing a talk about it, you might want to know about voyeurs like me: in addition to boosting your efforts with a link/post on Facebook, I also kept an eye on the totals. But by the last week it was clear that, barring a mighty big contributor, the project wasn't going to meet the required funding so I didn't bother pledging. It wouldn't have made a diff. I wonder if there were others keeping watch.

hrant's picture

I have a feeling the sort of thing Nick describes is prohibited by Kickstarter. Plus unless you have cashflow problems (like me...) you can just -indirectly- put up the missing money yourself (you will however lose the cut that Kickstarter takes).

BTW, I think Jackson might feel uncomfortable because this is mildly reminiscent of begging, and the uncertainly of success is an extra stigma. But I personally think it's a great tool if used well (and Thomas was on the right track, it's just that people -still- undervalue quality type design).

hhp

riccard0's picture

There are different crowd-funding services that allow half-financed projects.

Thomas Phinney's picture

Yes. But I wouldn't want to do this half-financed.

I've worked out a revamped version that I think will fly: revised rewards including some options with a personal license or a stripped-down font, combined with lowering my target by 20%. Kickstarter has approved it. I'm just awaiting backer feedback on the new reward structure before I launch it.

riccard0's picture

a personal license or a stripped-down font

Smart move.
Any chance for a “Cthulhu for President” themed reward? ;-)

Jackson's picture

I think Jackson might feel uncomfortable because this is mildly reminiscent of begging

I wouldn't say it's begging any more than any other font marketing is begging. Please buy my fonts. It's more that it asks other people to assume the risk. That's not necessarily a bad thing, imagine how different things would be if we could all know beforehand if a font will sell!

JamesT's picture

A few months ago, I almost went down this path. I had the project approved, the rewards decided, all the time invested in the write-up and the beginning of a video. Then, I changed my mind and decided not to do it. My reasoning was that I didn't want to be accountable to anyone and I wanted the time-frame to be as long as I needed. The money would have been extremely helpful, of course, but I figured actually doing it myself would be more rewarding.

I also didn't want to spend the time I could be working on my typeface making rewards.

Thomas Phinney's picture

It has been relaunched!
http://kck.st/KJk3Hy

James: Those are all legitimate concerns. When I re-structured the project I eliminated the postcards so as to slightly reduce the amount of work I would have to do.

Jackson: How does it ask other people to assume the risk? Do you mean the risk that the fonts/project won't actually be completed? (The money never changes hands if the pledges don't reach the goal, so there's no risk to either side on that count.)

Nick Shinn's picture

Sounds like a plan, T!

blank's picture

I also didn't want to spend the time I could be working on my typeface making rewards.

My sentiments exactly. I want to make fonts, not shirts.

hrant's picture

But you don't mind making a website. Something I for one do... and you can tell. :-/

There are so many non-type things that are required to be able to sell type well, and each one of us understandably has their personal preferences. And you can always pay somebody else to make the shirts for example, the same way many type designers pay third parties to make a site for them. This BTW is where a font house can come in: they take care of all the boring stuff, and the money you lose to them is made up for by more time to design.

hhp

Thomas Phinney's picture

This is part of why I am taking on an intern: get them to help with the more "graphic design" elements of the Kickstarter project that I would not do as well. Not sure it is a net gain of time, but I think it will help quality of the rewards, and help keep me on track in terms of putting the needed time into the project.

Also, while I want spend my own time making fonts, not shirts, I am also quite happy to *have* shirts and other things that promote my fonts. Y'know?

riccard0's picture

There still time to get the “full fonts, at less than the retail price” :-)

abattis's picture

Wow, very interesting to see that the 2nd try has pushed past the original target amount!

Thomas Phinney's picture

Yes, it did—by a good margin even!

There are multiple reasons for that... all of which I will talk about in the panel discussion at TypeCon, or my solo presentation at ATypI. Everything you wanted to know about Kickstarter for font funding!

hrant's picture

Wow. There is a lot to learn here...

Thomas, I hope you'll put your presentation online eventually.

hhp

piccic's picture

Hi everyone! How are you? :-)
Glad to see you finally managed to develop Columbus for real, Thomas… ;-)

May I ask how this Kickstarter site basically works?

hrant's picture

Nice to "see" you again Claudio!

hhp

piccic's picture

Hi Hrant, thanks… :-)
Actually I have just seen (in person) Paul Shaw and Alta Price, which had a two-day stay in Parma some 10 days ago during the Legacy of Letters 2012 tour.

Reason I have been away so much is simply I did not work consistently on anything type-design related since last autumn. Now I hope to pick up again in some way…

hrant's picture

I'm glad Paul and Alta managed to pull it off this year.

hhp

Thomas Phinney's picture

Hi Claudio,

> May I ask how this Kickstarter site basically works?

Some bullet points from my TypeCon presentation today. :)

WHAT IS KICKSTARTER?
Biggest “crowdfunding” website
Run online funding campaigns
- Supporters pledge to get rewards (often the product you are getting pledges for)
- Neither investment nor charity
average pledge $71, most common $25
All or nothing funding
Time delay 2–3 weeks
10% overhead

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