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February 03 2014

14:30

Expert Tips When Creating and Selling Fonts

Fonts are essential for the feel of the website. Font developers, like you, need to be smart when creating and selling fonts. In media, where typefaces are very much used, fonts have changed in the same rate as any other web page elements, adjusting to the need and time of its use. As there are people who are able to read, fonts will continue to evolve in its styles, uses and forms.

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Photo by Juan Joro

With that being said, the growing importance of font designers is also heightened. Because of the need for constant development, typefaces should adapt to the changes that the users demand, ergo, the talent and skill to create aesthetically beautiful and purposely readable fonts.

Actually, creating your own font is pretty rad. Imagine seeing your own handwriting or something you developed being used in designs and even in websites. At the most, if you have been trained well and created awesome designs, you could even sell your fonts! So it’s really a pretty good thing to learn.

This article will help you achieve that goal. 1stWebdesigner will be very much willing to teach you the following:

  • Things you need to know before designing a font
  • Shall I sell it or give it away for free?
  • Tools you might need to use, and some alternatives

With these points, let’s see if you can stand up to the challenge of being great font-designers and developers.

What do I need to know before starting to design my own font?

Sun Tzu once said,

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle”

You’re probably wondering why I wrote that. Well, those words should be the guiding principle in designing your own fonts. Knowing your ‘enemy’ and ‘yourself’ is a sure-shot weapon on making magnificent and potentially sellable typefaces. Once you mastered these principles, you can truly design fonts as sharp as the samurais.

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Photo from Career Girl Network

The first thing to keep in mind is your ‘enemy’. Now, who is your enemy? Let’s just say your enemy is your target. What is your purpose for designing this font? Knowing where to use it and to whom you shall use it for will be the key in making fonts that impact (pun intended) in the world of web design.

Ask yourself:

  • Am I targeting kids for this design? If yes, then, design a comical font.
  • Am I targeting professionals here?  If yes, then, you might want to think of a typeface that would suit them.
  • Do I want to see my handwriting on the computer screen? If yes, then you might want to think of a font that will suit this answer.

You should be careful in targeting your audience because you might fire a stray bullet and hit the ones you’re not targeting. So keep in mind that fonts have their specific uses for specific purposes.

Try reading: Font Police: 20 Fonts to Avoid to Maintain Your Readers’ Sanity

Next, consider if what type of font you will use. There are a few types of fonts out there. What you need to do is to know where to place your font in these categories. Doing this will easily make your font sellable and searchable in case you wanted to make money out of them.

Read Working with Types: Typography Design Tutorial for Beginners for the different types of fonts.

After knowing what font you will use, you will be challenged to know what fonts to suit you. As a designer, you probably have your own niche. Are you comfortable with script fonts? Do you prefer comical fonts rather than formal ones? What will make your design workflow easier, faster and better?

You need to address those cases and try to look at your own designs. Assess your strengths and play with them. If you are good at formal typefaces, then go for it. Learn where are you going to put yourself and also where to have fun doing it. Remember, if you love what you do, your target will  love what you make out of your designs. So choose.

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Shall I sell my fonts or give them away for free?

Now this is a pretty good question. Say, you were able to design a handful of awesome fonts. Your friends are pressuring you to sell them out so that you could take them out for dinner. And now, you come to ask yourself, “Can I really sell these?”

The answer is yes. Though the second question will arise, will they buy it? Now that’s another good question.

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Making people actually buy your fonts could seem very difficult, though, very possible. With the Internet growing more vibrant as each day passes by, you are basically given an unlimited number of people wanting fonts. Now, with a growing number of demands, your fonts will be competing with other designers which, in some ways, could be better than you. Now, how do you win? Try these:

  • Foundry Method – Foundries are font manufacturers. They distribute typefaces to a lot of outlets like web shops and resellers so it’s a pretty big opportunity to sell your font through them. It is an exclusive deal as the foundry will maintain the right to sell the font you designed as dictated by the contract. In return, you will be given royalty.

Good points of this method:

  • It requires minimal to zero business knowledge. The foundry will take everything in. No headaches.
  • They can improve your design and make it more sellable.
  • Foundries protect you from piracy and misuse.
  • You can focus on designing more fonts rather than thinking about how to sell them.

Bad points:

  • Little to no control at all with the method of selling the fonts.
  • You will receive only a portion of the earnings.

Things to consider about your foundries:

  • The niche of the whole foundry.
  • Their assistance to the production of your font.
  • Target market of the foundry.
  • Length and terms of the contract.

Here are some foundries you’ll want to take a look at.

  • Reseller Method – Resellers offer fonts from a lot of different foundries. What they do is they sign contracts with font publishers or foundries and sell the fonts in the latter’s library. They receive a particular percentage from selling the fonts. Each reseller can have different and various customers. It’s up to them how to sell the fonts.

Good points:

  • You could be able to reach more diverse markets, hence, more customers.
  • You could maintain the brand pricing and rights with different resellers.

Bad Points:

  • You need to know a lot about business.
  • You have to share your earnings with the reseller.

Things to consider about your foundries:

  • Who are their clients?
  • Are they pretty respected?
  • What are their methods?
  • What fonts do they actually sell?

Here are some resellers you can visit: Graphic Design Forum

  • Forever Alone Method – if you think you can handle it, you could go by yourself. Though it may be pretty scary to sell fonts on your own, it can give you a very good value boost. But it could be pretty difficult as you have to have great designs that stand out to do this.

Good points:

  • You have full control over your design and selling strategy.
  • You could take home 100% of the profit.
  • You can establish a name for yourself.

Bad Points:

  • You need to know a lot about business.
  • It requires less time on designing, more on selling.
  • It is pretty difficult to go in the system.

Tools you might need to use and some alternatives

As you will be delving into the world of font creation, you will appreciate the following tools, which will make your life easier and your designing experience, more fun.

For Drawing the Fonts

  • Paper and Pen – very rudimentary, yes, but this method is still accepted. If you have a cool handwriting and a pretty decent pen and a clean sheet of paper, you’re on the go. You could just scan it afterwards. (Tips: Draw big to achieve higher resolution and detail)

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Photo by Jeenie Green

  • Pen Tablet Input Tool – this is for serious designers. This will cost you money but will spare you from scanning the fonts. So it’s also a good deal.

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Photo by James

  • For Editing the Drawings

 Adobe Illustrator –Adobe Iillustrator is a very versatile tool to vectorize your fonts. It’s pretty complicated but learnable.

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Photo by Viktor Hertz

GIMP – GIMP is very easy to use, though, lacking the features that Illustrator possesses.

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  • For Rendering the Fonts

Fontographer ($350) – easy to use yet powerful font editor. You can design typefaces, customize existing fonts and it displays them in high resolution!

FontLab Studio ($650) – is a professional font editor used by major computer companies and most font foundries. It is very comprehensive and yet flexible software that targets professionals and amateurs alike.

Fonstruct(free) – is a fully operational web-ran software that allows you to create your own fonts. You can register as a user to be able to render your design.

Other free tools here!

Conclusion

The creation and selling of fonts just proves that the typeface is important in any aspect of design. Creating new typefaces signifies that this notion is still alive and moving. With newer designs emerging almost every day, it’s pretty good to see that it adds a sense of uniqueness in the design, making it more viable for income. Truly, when you learn how to make fonts, you’ll be in places you’ve never been.

November 25 2013

14:02

5 Killer Tips that Will Get You Clients: Copywriting for Web Designers

Your portfolio sucks. It makes me cry. You are a great designer with a perfectly designed portfolio site, and yet it’s still terrible at the same time. Even my cat, Sheldon, knows it too. Good thing you can still improve it.

Do you want to convert browsers into clients? I bet you do. That’s the purpose of your portfolio site, yes? To attract more clients. To make them want to get a bite out of the dish you are offering.

And it only takes one topping: copywriting.

I know, I know, you are a web designer, not a copywriter. But applying these tips to your portfolio won’t hurt one bit!

Just a quick note before we begin. Copywriting is the art and science of persuading people to take action by means of writing. It is the best form of advertising.

I need you to stop reading. Do not continue if you cannot promise that you will at least try one of the tips written below.

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1. Have A Catchy Headline

Design agency inTacto‘s tagline is “We take your brand into the Digital Age.” If you are a business owner with a brand that is still on the Stone Age, this seems like a great deal, right? And it instantly promises a solution to your problem.

That’s the key to writing catchy taglines or headlines. You need to make a promise. People are in pain and you have the cure.

While we’re at it, what do you think about this?

Discover Four Secret Strategies And Tools You Can Use To Find And Build Trust With Your Clients NOW!

Is it catchy enough? How will you improve it?

2. Don’t Be A Nameless Hero

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Do you know who is Spence…The Evil Genius? I bet you do now. Want to hear how he says it?

My point here is, you need to make yourself memorable to people. Invent a nickname for yourself and give it an unforgettable attitude. Clients do their research, they will look at several services before making their decision on which one to pick, and often…wait, who’s that guy again? Ah, I already forgot. Let’s just move on to the next guys.

I’m betting that you have experienced something similar. Say, your password. It wasn’t memorable enough to the point where, seconds after setting up a new one, you’d have to reset it again. It happens to everyone, don’t cry.

3. Highlight Benefits Over Features

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Understand your target market. You are a web designer. You are THE web designer. Your target people see web design as witchcraft. They do not care about how it works, all they care about is how it will benefit them. Don’t tell them about your jQuery Sliders and Responsive websites, but tell them about how you can help improve their online presence which will lead to increased sales.

Which one sounds better? “I build retina-ready responsive websites using HTML5 and CSS3″ or “I will help you gain more sales by scientifically designing a website for you.” Scientifically in a sense that your design is backed up by case studies, A/B testings, and standards that actual people worked on.

Since not all web designers are copywriters, I should tell you that by following this tip you will (and I want you to read the following very slowly) attract more clients by telling them the benefits they will get from your features. Repeating things also help.

But if your target clients are developers who can’t design well, then you will have to highlight features over benefits. They already know how a certain feature will benefit them, they only need to know that you offer the service.

4. Talk To Your Clients…Without Actually Talking To Them

Browsers are prospect clients and they are browsing your website because they need something. They are not sure if you offer what they want, though.

Picture this: an angsty teenager wearing his school uniform with a fedora goes to Walmart for some bacon. Five minutes passes by and he still can’t find the bacon. He would ask where but his teenage mind says that’s too low for his dignity, so he decides to leave instead.

First, your prospect clients are not teenagers and no, they’re not angsty. They maybe wearing a fedora and love bacon, but they will not spend five minutes in your portfolio site if you do not talk to them. Think of them as a confused buyer, with you being the salesman. Go and ask them what they want. Help them find what they’re looking for.

  • “Do you need a website?”
  • “Want to modernize your website?”

Try including these, and variations of, on your homepage. Hit them where it hurts. Ask them what’s hurting. Ask the right questions, let them know that you have an idea of what they are looking for…and that you have the solution.

5. Keep It Short But Sweet

You are awesome for reading this far.

The final tip I want to share is to keep everything in your website short. Keep it short while applying all of the tips above. I know, you are amazing, you truly are, and I bet you can write an entire novella about how you successfully satisfied a client from hell. But don’t.

Write about the things that you can do for them. Write something short and sweet that they can’t refuse.

I can easily read George R. R. Martin’s books but don’t expect me to read a 100-word paragraph regarding your skills. I just want my damn website designed, please.

Let’s Repeat Everything, This Time Shorter

  1. Write a catchy headline, tagline, and descriptions. Ask a friend, your parents, and even your favorite teacher, including Mr. Cuddles, if your tagline or headline is memorable enough. Your friends will make fun of you, your parents will support you 100%, your favorite teacher will give you a good feedback, and Mr. Cuddles will probably just doze off. Your goal is to make them not forget it. Make a promise and fulfill it.
  2. Give yourself a fancy nickname that people will be fond of remembering. We all give nicknames to people we don’t know, and they, too, don’t know about it. We give them nicknames because they are so memorable. It can work the other way around. Name yourself and never be forgotten. Do you know Soda Guy? Or Cute Cathy? You know what I mean…I bet you call your pizza delivery guy Pizza Man.
  3. Write about the results, not the process. I just want my burger, I don’t want to know the ingredients and how you cooked it to its perfect golden brown color.
  4. Show them that you have what they want. Tell them you can redesign their website and modernize it or that you can design any website they want you to design. Make them feel their problems will be solved in just one or two sentences.
  5. KISS.

I lied to you. These are not killer tips. These are simple tips. Yet many web designers still fail to follow them. Start updating your portfolio site now!

Don’t forget to share your tips below!

See you next time!

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