Why not Myfonts?

1996type's picture

Hey people,

When I just started to get into typedesign, I was convinced that Myfonts.com was everything. If it wasn't on Myfonts.com, it didn't mean anything to me. As I progress I'm starting to find more and more foundries not selling their fonts through Myfonts.com. Myfonts being (I don't know the numbers, but it seems kind of obvious to me) the largest reseller of fonts, a foundry is very likely to sell more with, than without Myfonts.com, no? So why is it that some decide to go for Fontshop.com, or any other reseller, only?

Cheers,
Jasper

Frode Bo Helland's picture

For one, the percieved value of your type is higher if it's not that easily found. Think K-mart vs. a gourmet shop. It's more likely to be used by people who know what they're doing.

1996type's picture

Good point, but would you care? Most of the users of a typeface won't know how to use it anyway. If you can get a financial bonus by selling to poeple who don't know what their buying at all (Myfonts.com), why wouldn't you? You can hardly call that unfair...

Stephen Coles's picture

Perceived value is is one reason. though I think it's faded in this case as MyFonts has improved. Another is that FontShop (and perhaps other resellers) might offer special benefits for exclusivity, such as extra promotion, more prominent placement and display, and a better share of the retail price. You might also want to submit your fonts to a foundry, or maybe none of the above and sell directly from your own site. I outline some of the considerations here.

Andreas Stötzner's picture

The difference is: Myfonts is just a selling platform, Fontshop and others are font editing houses. When you want to do business there, you’d have to queue at their gates first and ask for admission. At Myfonts you just go and sell, thats it.

The second way is simply more handy. But it means, of course, that *everyone* can go there as well and do the same, so you have loads of rubbish mixing up with the good stuff. Personally, I feel that at Myfonts the share of rubbish is moderate and not higher than at Fontshop or other big sellers. It’s different with smart little foundries though, who can afford to manage their own sales infrastructure.

oldnick's picture

Perceived value is just that: a perception, and perception can be misguided. If this were not the case, there would be no such thing as Optical Illusions. Exclusivity and Price (I call it the Veer model) are two Typographic Illusions: neither guarantees an actually superior product, but are presumed to. If I had a penny for every dollar people spend to flatter themselves, I would be a very rich man.

MyFonts generates traffic. If you have a decent product, a lot more people will see it. More eyeballs = more sales. MyFonts also has the most generous profit-sharing arrangement around. Because of their increased volume, they take a smaller cut.

So, your choice: Bragging Rights or potentially more money in your pocket.

.00's picture

and then there are a few type makers who eschew resellers entirely, and go it alone.

blank's picture

Not all type designers finish their own fonts. Many of them get their work to an almost-finished state and then let a vendor do other tasks, including expanding the character set, QA testing, family naming, and final font production. When this happens the font is usually under exclusive contract to the vendor. Exclusivity contacts can also get a designer a (slightly) higher royalty and a commitment to promote the font. Exclusivity deals are not always that great, though, as some vendors will just offer some extra promotion on their web site and regular email blasts.

Frode Bo Helland's picture

If you can get a financial bonus by selling to poeple who don't know what their buying at all (Myfonts.com), why wouldn't you?
The (philosophical) answer to that question is so obvious to me I'm having a hard time believing you're even asking. Not that I wouldn't consider selling via MyFonts, but it depends on the design and what I want to achieve. But first I gotta sell something in the first place :)

Frode Bo Helland's picture

And in the case of a display face, from the graphic designer's point of view, the degree of exclusivity is a big deal.

1996type's picture

Don't misunderstand me. I would try to inform these people as best as I can and perhaps even tell them not to buy my fonts (I've done this several times in the past), but there will always be people who don't ask for advise and don't read the information given to them. If they don't buy my font, they'll buy someone elses. They're gonna waste their money on the wrong fonts no matter what the situation is. You might argue that I would be taking advantage of other peoples stupidity, but I would hardly be doing any harm. If they don't want be well-informed, I'm not gonna prohibit them from buying my stuff.

"But first I gotta sell something in the first place :)"

We're both looking forward to our first serious release I guess :-)

Stephen Coles's picture

Two misstatements:

Fontshop and others are font editing houses.

I'm not sure what "editing house" means, but FontShop is a retailer in the same way that MyFonts is a retailer, selling fonts from many different foundries. You may have confused FontShop with FontFont, their "house" foundry.

Because of their increased volume, they take a smaller cut.

Not true anymore. For new contracts the MyFonts cut is now 50%, the same as FontShop and probably Fonts.com.

Ray Larabie's picture

Isn't is cool that Old Nick has to point out younger designers' outdated thinking?

Making fonts (or anything) less convenient is a way to increased perceived value. But the Internet is pretty convenient already . . . the hard-to-get fonts are probably 3-4 extra clicks away. If you really want up your snob value, make people drive to your house to pick them up.

Most of the users of a typeface won't know how to use it anyway. If you can get a financial bonus by selling to poeple who don't know what their buying at all (Myfonts.com), why wouldn't you?

Oh, I see. It's the customers will not know how to use your fonts. I hope you can improve your fonts to make them easier for customers to use. Maybe think about an instruction manual. Mine is like this:

step 1: install font
step 2: type words with font

JamesT's picture

When I first started out in Graphic Design, I would often go to FontShop much more often than I would go to Myfonts.com. My reason for this was that I was under the impression that FontShop was better curated than Myfonts and, with my typographical awareness less developed, I had more faith that the selection presented to me was of a higher quality.

To me, at that time, Myfonts was a place that was far too confusing (sorting good from bad) and too time consuming; sort of like trying to find a few beautiful antiques at your average estate sale (although the odds at Myfonts are much better).

Stephen Coles's picture

It worked!

1996type's picture

@Ray Larabie: When I said "won't know how to use it anyway", I didn't mean they can't install it. I mean they don't have typographic skills and are therefore likely to use it in the wrong context. Working in Microsoft Word and using Word's auto-bold instead of a real bold is one of the many amateur mistakes.

@James: This may be the case for you, but I'm under the impression that whenever someone wants to share a typeface here on typophile.com they link to Myfonts.com (if possible), not fontshop.com. Anyway, I'm not comparing Myfonts.com with fontshop.com. I'm merely wondering why some foundries don't use both.

riccard0's picture

I'm under the impression that whenever someone wants to share a typeface here on typophile.com they link to Myfonts.com (if possible), not fontshop.com

That has more to do with the fact that MyFonts make it easier to look for a font (in different ways. For me the killer feature is the search plugin).

Indra Kupferschmid's picture

I'm under the impression that whenever someone wants to share a typeface here on typophile.com they link to Myfonts.com (if possible), not fontshop.com

In addition to what Riccardo said, this also has to do with the fact that MyFonts’ display of search (type family, styles, glyphs, alternate cuts) and test-drive (size, custom settings like color and OT features etc.) are better.

I don’t shop much at MyFonts, but might be one of their heaviest users when it comes to search, compare, tag and bookmark typefaces.

tourdeforce's picture

I'm under the impression that whenever someone wants to share a typeface here on typophile.com they link to Myfonts.com (if possible), not fontshop.com

We give links to all our vendors when we release new font, so if you interested in first place to buy that font, you'll get it anyway no matter from which vendor. It's a personal choice, you may love FS more then MF, I maybe think the opposite way, a someone else thinks somebody third is the best choice and so on.

...

I can say who is my personal choice, but that won't help you anyway, cause you already concreted your opinion that you're against MyFonts (in this case). But I'll just say, from my graphic/web/ui point of view, comparing MyFonts and FontShop's websites, as a selling tool = one of them is very user friendly and very easy to navigate, to find what you're looking for, to organize your searches, albums... while the other one is very not.

oldnick's picture

I didn't mean they can't install it. I mean they don't have typographic skills and are therefore likely to use it in the wrong context.

For this reason—and this reason alone—no clothing manufacturer should ever sell Plaid.

blank's picture

Regarding Fontshop versus MyFonts, remember that FontShop claims to be a curated collection, whereas MyFonts will sell anything without considering it. Fontshop creates an air of class by only selling sub-par fonts if they can be passed off as groundbreaking postmodern experiments of the 1990s. MyFonts doesn't even do basic Q&A on fonts. Pirated fonts have even been released through MyFonts with the original copyright data intact.

Ray Larabie's picture

@Ray Larabie: When I said "won't know how to use it anyway", I didn't mean they can't install it. I mean they don't have typographic skills and are therefore likely to use it in the wrong context. Working in Microsoft Word and using Word's auto-bold instead of a real bold is one of the many amateur mistakes.

Yeah, I know. I was making fun of you.

ralf h.'s picture

In addition to what has been said already:

Just having your fonts in these large catalogues doesn't sell a single font file. You still need to do the marketing to point people to your fonts. And selling your fonts on many different sites (maybe even with different pricing) might be even more confusing for your customers. And you need to manage all these different contracts, maintain the different font files they are selling and so on. A lot of work, which does not necessarily increase the profit.

But most of all: MyFonts might be the easiest and fastest way to sell your fonts. But if people buy your fonts there, they become a MyFonts customer, not your customer. They trust MyFonts and your fonts are just one of thousands of options. If you can afford to sell the fonts only on your own website, you might even make more profit in the long run, because people will buy more and more on your site and develop trust in your fonts and customer service.

There are plenty of options how to sell your fonts and what works for one foundry/type designer might not work so well for another.

tourdeforce's picture

Yes.
Everything is relative, that was my point, too. What works for you, doesn't mean it'll do the job for me, also. Find your best way, learn on your own, at the end it all comes on that.

typerror's picture

One consideration is the sheer volume of fonts that Myfonts uploads on a monthly basis. Fonts tend to get buried fairly rapidly. Just an overview.

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