How to Price a Font?

wesmo's picture

Hey all-

I have a freeware font I created and released out to the web back in 2002. It's had about 20,000 downloads since then. Recently, a person emailed me about using it for a product of 600 units. I have no idea how to price such things or go about allowing as such for this kind of permission. I have used the Search function on this site to help find an answer but didnt have any luck. Can anyone point me in the right direction, or provide an answer to such a request? thanks!

aluminum's picture

I don't think there's really a formula for this. Charge them what they're willing to pay for it. ;o)

wesmo's picture

Aluminim-
thanks for your response. I hear you, but in reality is there a way to guage? I dont want to make a killing, just whats fair. Like by type of product, or size of company? Is there a down the middle standard somehow?

afuggini's picture

wesmo,

I think you should browse for existing fonts, compare their prices, etc.

Anyway, your font is unique, and if someone wants to use it in a product, it's probably well worth it, then they should pay a reasonable price for it.

What's a reasonable price? I would say anything between $10 and $30 is reasonable for a unique font.

I hope my comment helps =)

Cheers.

Ariel

---
My Design Blog

jasonc's picture

are you looking for a single price for unlimited use, Or a price per unit (meaning customer's units).
I know you said there will be 600 units, but is that the max they are going to be allowed to sell, or an estimate? You'd need to set that out in the agreement.

wesmo's picture

thanks for your responses.
To follow up with my own questions: afuggini: are you saying 10-$30 total to just buy the font and use it?

Jasonc:
you bring up a good point about aligning an agreement of total usages. As far as pricing per unit or unlimited, what would you advise?
thanks

aluminum's picture

"are you saying 10-$30 total to just buy the font and use it?"

And therein lies the problem asking about pricing on the internet. You're not going to get any specific numbers that will really apply to your locale and the context of the particular business arrangement.

.00's picture

How are they going to use it on the "products"? If it is going to add a lot of value to that product then you should charge a reasonable licensing fee. You could calculate that as a price per unit, or a price for use on up to a certain amount of units. Or, you could charge them a yearly fee to license the font software.

Unfortunately by initially releasing the work as freeware, you have put yourself in a difficult position to now attach any real value to the work.

wesmo's picture

Terminaldesign-
what would be a reasonable liscensing fee if it were a more front-facing use? And if it were front-facing, what would be a good price per unit if I went that route? I know I'm asking for something with too little details, but I'm just looking for loose direction and I can try to wing it from there, especially since it was freeware to begin with.

aluminum's picture

"what would be a reasonable licensing fee if it were a more front-facing use?"

We can not give you a specific number that will mean anything. I could say $10 and it would be as valid as suggesting $10000.

What, specifically, are the products they are going to use the font on? How are they using the font on them? Is it 600 units total for ever more? How much are they selling each unit for? How big is the company that wants to use it? Who are they selling to? What does your current font license state in terms of using it for products? Have they made an offer? Do they want exclusivity? These are all questions (and there are more) that would need to be addressed before any real numbers could be given that would be of any use.

wesmo's picture

wow those are good questions. I have no idea. I will follup and try to find out what I can. Thanks aluminum.

.00's picture

Quoting specific prices on a forum such as this can be legally tricky. Collusion, price fixing, those sorts of things. Aluminum's list of questions are right on target. Without that information you have nothing to go on.

Rob O. Font's picture

"Collusion, price fixing, those sorts of things."
Stop you're making me laugh. Quoting specific prices on a forum is imparting product information.

Cheers!

.00's picture

That was my intention David. I always try to make you laugh!

Si_Daniels's picture

$738.25

wesmo's picture

Asking a question as generally as I have is no need to be made into sophomoric jokes about specifics. For those that responded to my requests of just pointing me in the right direction regarding questions to ask, thanks again, I know it will help others as well.

Rob O. Font's picture

"...no need to be made into sophomoric jokes about specifics..."
yea SII, no jokes. On the other paw, wesmo, you are asking pretty ugly basic IP questions about a font that's been free-wared to the tune of 20,000-1,000,000 free copies. Why not familiarize yourself, yourself with font pricing. Everybody who takes the time to value and license their IP does this as part of the cost of doing business and a real answer to your question would come from a depth of understanding, not the superficial places it's coming from here. Go price some other font as your client has asked for, See what that price is. Price another. Price until you have a Grip, then face the Client with numbers.

Cheers!

Si_Daniels's picture

>”...no need to be made into sophomoric jokes about specifics...”
>yea SII, no jokes.

Sorry :-( didn't realize typophile went all serious while I was in Buffalo. But I think my answer is just as good as the others given the lack of information on the license request details.

wesmo's picture

Wow, heaven forbid somebody comes to the board and asks the type experts very generally about where to start in pricing a font. The nerve!

crossgrove's picture

There isn't a standard, and there isn't one answer. I hope you finally have absorbed that. Don't get too testy about jokes; they aren't going to stop. Notice that not all of the jokes are at your expense. We like to have fun.

If you place no value on the font, you might just reply with "Oh gosh it's freeware, thanks for thinking of me but just go ahead and use it". Or, if you want it to take on a new life as a retail product, revise it with more glyphs and better kerning, or other weights, or other added value, and launch that as a pay product with an explicit license. And the license/pricing for that is also completely up to you. Even after asking all the questions mentioned above, there are decisions only you can make.

Rob O. Font's picture

"Wow, heaven forbid somebody comes to the board and asks the type experts very generally about..."
... anything ;)

It is no different from asking generally about what "Tom" should eat, or what car he should buy, or clothes he should wear, without ever seeing or meeting him, or learning his habits, desires, requirements or needs.

We just care more, and this is a situation where it's already been free for 20,000 customers, so we wonder while we care.

Cheers!

cuttlefish's picture

I've actually been in this situation. I've released a few fonts as freeware several years ago, and every once in a while I'll get an inquiry of one sort or another regarding this sort of use. I didn't include a detailed EULA, but rather a simple read me file suggesting that they were free for commercial and personal use. I did include a recommendation, but not a requirement, that if the fonts are used in a commercial project that I should be sent a copy of the finished product, which I have received from time to time. Not much, mind you. I got a Hungarian video game, a badge made by a Finnish language teacher in Russia, a French Jazz CD, and a ghastly church newsletter. Only once did I get a payment, which I think was insisted upon by the legal department on their end, for a token sum of $80 for embedding in another video game which I've never heard about since. At least I got the check. If I'd really been thinking about it at the time I could have easily charged them more, but yeah, I had already declared it a free product, so they weren't obligated to offer me anything, at least that's how I felt at the time.

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