John Jago

Is typography commercially worth it?

One reason I’ve hesitated to spend much time on type design is the lack of commercial prospects. It’s the reason that the only exit for most is to be acquired by Monotype. It looks like the name has taken on more meanings than originally intended!

However, after thinking a little more, I’ve found something that I could start as a consultancy which would have potential to be a viable business. Of course, there may be others out there doing the same already! I’m just thinking my thoughts.

What do companies or people look for when getting fonts for commercial purposes? They’re trying to represent their brand through the font. Sometimes they might not even go to the font as the first thing. Usually the plans are, at startups, to hire a “graphic designer” or a “designer” who will make all the branding problems go away. But it’s not like that!

Brand comes from a lot more than just “design” or the font. It’s the colors, the style, the writing, the voice, the presence, the understanding of the context and cultures around, and the type! It’s the combination of all the aspects of how a company or product represents itself. People can pick cool looking fonts, but coming up with a cohesive brand strategy requires attention to details in a lot of areas that span design, writing, and public relations.

The font is the tool, but the problem people are trying to solve is how do I change the public’s impression of my company or product? It’s like the implicit public relations through design and writing. As a bonus, the companies that need this are often in a good financial position!