A Call to all Type Designers - Open Source Font Design Project

innovati's picture

Hello all,

I have recently noticed the lack of professional quality fonts available under open licenses here that are of any professional value.

Apple and Microsoft may have the money to license typefaces from other groups, or pay to have typefaces developed for them, but a community-built operating system depends on the community to contribute each in their own little way.

I am looking for any open fonts on a professional level, there are a couple already like Gentium, Bitstream Vera out there, which is a great start.

Are there any more freely available and freely redistributable fonts you're already aware of?

I urge all of you who benefit daily from open-source technology (Firefox, Openoffice, even Typophile is hosted on a linux server) to consider contributing some of your work towards the community that has provided you with so much software.

I am looking to build a package of only the highest quality typefaces under a free licenses and make that available for download on my site related to Linux and Design, but they would be valuable to people on all operating systems.

Also, the availability of professional alternatives might help even just a couple from pirating or stealing those fonts type designers sell to make a living. hopefully together we can give the community something valuable, generate more interest in good typography and at the same time help support those commercial designers who rely on font sales.

And lastly, by releasing one font for free with credit to a group of open-source users who desire fresh new fonts, you can direct traffic to your other reasonably priced fonts and this will more thank likely channel an entire new market of clients that are currently not buying your fonts.

abattis's picture

@Thomas: Assuming you mean about FOSS business models, well, to become living proof myself I have to graduate Reading first, which for personal life stuff is proving quite a struggle at the moment, but there are hundreds of companies that profit handsomely from creative works that are freely redistributable and modifiable, and plenty of articles on the web explaining how they do it. If you meant about your next 1 day workshop, is a similar situation: I've never run a workshop so I can't say anything about that, but I'm sure if you advertised it here on TP you'd get plenty of people signing up :-)

blank's picture

Dave, how many of the people giving creative work away are doing it to hook someone into a service contract, or sell concert tickets, or something similar? Type designers don’t have that option—we can’t give fonts away and make money supporting them. I don’t see how the free razor blade/MySQL/RHEL/Snort model applies to fonts.

Thomas Phinney's picture

@James: Exactly my thinking. That's why I want to see a model explained for it. What is it these folks are going to do to make money once they've given away the font?



nitrofurano's picture

apart of all this discussion about type drawing quality, can someone related to Open-Baskerville being present at Libre-Graphics-Meeting Montreal for presenting it and sharing some ideas there as well? it would be very interesting, since constantvzw.org did the same in Poland about NotCourier typeface...

Sye's picture

@James @Thomas - well, it's simple really, you make the typeface, then using the free font, create a logo that you then plaster on some disposable razors... which you bundle free with magazines, which gets people hooked on the razors... and err... means that you sell more razors... hmmm... and then... um... you make money?


Thomas Phinney's picture

@Simon: Heh. My problem exactly, no reason that benefit accrues in any way to the person who designed the typeface.


IEUAN REES's picture

It would be interesting to know more about the contributors to this thread.
How many of you for example rely entirely on type design for your living or are totally self employed? How many of you are financially secure? etc . I don't really want to know the answers but from my experience of over 40 years I find that self employed designers/craftsmen etc without financial security, can normally understand the attitudes of those with financial security better than the other way round.
As one who is totally self employed there is nothing I would like to do more than give of my talents freely for the benefit of others, and indeed I have done so on so many occasions. My family suffered as a result but my Bank manager was delighted as he could enjoy the interest on my overdraft.

Many years ago I was a Chairman of a prestigious society and I willingly gave my services and help for free and hopefully helped many people. But after 2 years I had to give it up as my freelance work and family suffered badly.
There is nothing I would like more now than to put my 40 years experience with lettering into font design as I feel I have learnt so much. But can I afford to do so - NO.
I have no financial security so I have to keep on working to make ends meet.
This is not meant to be a sob story or an excuse to get the violin out but to ask some of you to grow up and face reality. Not all of us can give our time for free even if our hearts want to.

If you want the best-pay for it.

From my long experience I have come to realize that many of those who expect things for free normally have low standards and lack professionalism and don't really appreciate what is really involved in good design.

Ieuan Rees

fontdesigner's picture


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