Slinkster: A free modular display face + commercial licensing question

willryan42's picture


A modular display face consisting of letters, numerals, basic punctuation, and a few extra goodies. Featured on dafont, Free Typography, and Pixel Pixel Pixel.

When using this typeface, bigger is better ;)

Available on my personal website here:


I was recently contacted by someone asking if they can use a font I created for commercial use (the font is freely available for personal use). I'd like to get some money out of this if it's a possibility. How do I proceed from here?

HVB's picture

Nicely done! For years I had very unsuccessfully tried to create something like that from Daniel Gauthier's Alphabet, seen (and downloadable) here:

Gauthier's Slinky EPS Alphabet

willryan42's picture

Thanks for the link, I've never seen that. I dig the 3D-ness of it.

I was mainly inspired by Lemniscate, with a little more order to mine.

Té Rowan's picture

One foundry (at least) took the approach of asking commercial users of their fonts to make a voluntary (IIRC) Paypal donation to the order of what the users thought the fonts were worth.

Some others require donations for commercial use, forgetting or ignoring that 'required donation' already has a name: 'Price'.

Then there is barter, just to mention a third approach.

Frode Bo Helland's picture

You could always revise and release it, with or without the help of a type designer and/or foundry, and keep the free variant as a teaser.

Frode Bo Helland's picture

On Myfonts, for example.

willryan42's picture

Thanks for the info guys. I have it set up as donationware on dafont, but have yet to get any donations even after almost 25,000 downloads...

Excuse my ignorance, but does it cost anything (on my end) to release a font through a foundry?

paragraph's picture

Will, check how much would vendors (Fontspring, MyFonts, Monotype?) charge you for selling your font. I believe the common range is between 30-50% of your sale price. Some foundries would offer you less but they would probably say they need to finish your font or market it exclusively, or some such. It's up to you, really.

Karl Stange's picture

In my experience, if you want to remain independent you would benefit from doing some research into equivelant commercial typefaces and what is being charged for them. It would also be worth considering an approach to embedding licensing and possible conversion for web font usage. PayPal is fairly standard in terms of payments and transactions.

I have it set up as donationware on dafont, but have yet to get any donations even after almost 25,000 downloads...

Donationware usually gets ignored, which is unfortunate, but it is often the case that the person downloading a font for a company that is happy to pay for it would not be the person responsible for making that payment.

Dafont offers the ability to post additional information about the font which you could use to make clear that commercial (print & digital) use requires a specified payment or is subject to a scale which you can discuss in greater detail via email and which would be payable via PayPal.

In my experience as someone that has negotiated this kind of payment the biggest obstacle when you want to license something appropriately is access to contact information, a clear overview of pricing and a convenient way to make payments.

aluminum's picture

It'd be interesting to hear from the Lost Type crew as to how well their donation system is working.

riccard0's picture

Re: Lost Type. The fact that they removed the “Type 0 for free download” could be telling.

On another side, I remember Pablo Impallari saying that Lobster fared well with donations.

hrant's picture

How well, exactly? Or even approximately.
Pablo, may we expect you to be "libre" with inside info too? :-)



willryan42's picture

Thanks for the info guys. I've always felt that Lost Type's setup is probably more financially rewarding than dafont's "donate" button. Dafont's setup consists of a download button with a donate button directly below, allowing the downloader to get the font immediately. Lost Type's system (at least last time I was on there) forced the downloader to "name their price." Even though $0.00 is an acceptable value, being confronted with this screen might convince more people to donate. Maybe I'm over-thinking it...

I've contacted MyFonts about getting it submitted onto their website and I'm currently talking back and forth with them. I've found out that they split the cost with their designers 50/50.

After perusing their display face section, I'm thinking about selling it for $20-$30 (hopefully with a webfont version, too). I'm still really unsure if this is an appropriate price or not as I always seem to lowball myself when it comes to pricing... In the meantime I'm continuously tweaking the font and adding more and more glyphs :)

PabloImpallari's picture

Pablo, may we expect you to be "libre" with inside info too? :-)

Sorry for the late reply... and, Yep, no problem.
Regular users are still donation frequently (2 years after the release)... I haven't made exact calculations, but a very rough approximation will be something like $10 per day... approx... (more or less: some days $1, some days $5, some days $10, some $25, some days $50, and some days none.). Sometimes, donations goes down a bit... them someone features the font in a blog, a donations goes up again... it's a bit random.
Occasionally, Advertising Agencies donate a bit more ($100 or $200... in exceptional cases up to $500). This only happens about once a month.

Here is a screenshot of the last few days (donors names blurred):

hrant's picture

Pablo, very gracious of you to share those details.

It looks like Lobster was served 127 million times in the past week. Now, that's not the number of sites using it* (so it's probably impossible to gauge the true generosity of $10/day) but it equals to a little under $2 per million servings. I have no idea if that's impressive or not.

* Is there a way to tell how many people downloaded it in the past week?


Syndicate content Syndicate content