Veer "shifts sights"

John Lyttle's picture

According to this article in Imprint, Veer will not be acquiring and selling licences for new typefaces. "The many tasty typefaces former “Head of Type” Joe Newton curated over the last three years will remain intact; but the collection will be frozen in time—at least for now—with no new additions on the [near] horizon."

This news about Veer seems sad and unexpected to me. Its predecessor, Image Club Graphics, was the first place I ever purchased fonts. It happens to be the most recent place I purchased a font, too. Their current collection will remain, but it won't grow, and that seems tragic. An initial urge is to jump to the conclusion that Corbis is focussed too much on profits and loss, and should allow Veer to do what it does so well, despite the current bottom line. But I suppose that would be naïve, uninformed and maybe both.

Anyway, it seems like a sad time for type. Then there's that phrase, "at least for now." Does that mean there may be a shift back? Living in hope …

Nick Shinn's picture

The curation model might not look good on a corporate bottom line.
Joe was making a lot of specimens.

I have always thought that the original online retail font distribution model, as pioneered by Makambo, was the best (with “wizard” software that enabled suppliers to upload and manage their products with minimum effort from the distributor), and it’s why I started my foundry in the first place.

Now if distributors could just standardize on a common size for specimens/banners, then foundries could do all the work of producing specimens—without having to produce differently sized and proportioned banners for each distributor. It’s a marketing principle, known as “collateral”, used in the printosphere for generations, but one which font resellers have been largely blind too. With the exception of Ethan Dunham at Fontspring, which utilizes the MyFonts “poster” size.

Strangely, many resellers don’t avail themselves of their suppliers’ marketing materials, and produce their own banners etc. Sure, that gives them control and consistency in branding, but as the Veer situation may have shown, it’s not the most cost-effective. Anyway, is there a downturn in the font market? Not that I’ve noticed.

Speaking of Makambo, that site went under, dropped by the conglomerate that owned it during the dotcom crash of 1999. A similar situation with Veer, I would imagine, the parent company cost-cutting its least profitable divisions, or looking for ways to cut costs during an economic downturn.

But stopping new product launches doesn’t make much sense for fonts, as that is when a typeface’s sales are most lively.

However, fonts do have a longer life than most other software, so I would expect Veer to be able to continue, silent running, for a while.

aluminum's picture

"Corbis is focussed too much on profits and loss"

A not too uncommon problem...specifically, short term P&L is often too much of a focus...or as I suspect this case may be...to narrow of a focus on one particular part of the business at the sacrifice of the overall brand image.

"Now if distributors could just standardize on a common size for specimens/banners, then foundries could do all the work of producing specimens"

With all the due respect I can muster for the highly talented type designers out there (seriously and sincerely)...I do have to say that more often than not, it seems, they aren't necessarily good graphic designers. There's a LOT of ugly on MyFonts. Some great fonts, but uglified in their little banner/specimen designs*. Veer definitely had one of the finer specimen catalog layouts IMHO.

* and that's not to say it's a universal truth...as many great foundries, like House are both incredibly talented type foundries as well as graphic design houses and make stunningly beautiful specimen catalogs.

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