Type and technology specialist Monotype has launched the Foundry Program, which aims to give type foundries and type designers access to an enhanced royalty model as well as increased visibility.
According to Monotype, its 4,500-strong network of independent type foundries and type designers has grown by 30% over the last three years. Monotype’s director of partner product and operation Mary Catherine Pflug is heading up the foundry programme and describes it as an investment in the type industry, adding that that Monotype is “uniquely positioned to provide business insights, training and tools”.
Her hope is that it will help designers “respond to the changing ways that customers prefer to license and use fonts in their workflows”. Over 1,000 foundries and type designers have signed up to the Foundry Program pre-launch, which has been in the works for two years.
The free-to-join programme is aimed at designers of any experience level, which presented a challenge, as it had to be “flexible enough to work for type designers at any stage of their career”, says Pflug. This involved “a lot of testing and iterating”, she adds, resulting in “a programme that will continue to grow and move as the industry changes over time”.
Designers can start uploading fonts and adding merchandise straight away, with metrics around performance appearing later. Pflug says that all fonts are “checked for quality”, offering designers “real-time human advice” to give fonts the best chance when they reach the market.
Monotype surveyed thousands of its existing type partners in a bid to understand their most prevalent “priorities and challenges”, which informed the design of the programme, Pflug explains. Having fonts distributed within its subscription service, Monotype Fonts, was the most requested component, according to Pflug, so Monotype offered inclusion in the subscription to all foundries in the programme.
Foundries were asked which educational topics they would want to learn about, leading to the creation of articles within the programme centred around SEO for fonts and how to create effective marketing images. The programme also provides “a solid roadmap of business tools”, based off answers from the survey, says Pflug, including a brandable page on MyFonts and font licence and management platform Monotype Fonts, a new analytics dashboard, self-service tools for uploading and managing type designs, and additional marketing support.
She outlines some of the key benefits of the programme as increased visibility, as fonts will reach “over 100 million potential customers”, and an enhanced royalty model, which Monotype says was created with the intention of providing its type partners with “a consistent, scalable revenue stream”. Being part of a community where they can access “educational guides, business webinars, and a team of people available to provide advice” is another plus for designers, according to Pflug.
Despite seeing a growing demand for quality type, Monotype also identified sticking points on the customer side that might leave independent foundries at a disadvantage. These include increased time spent searching for fonts across different websites, managing multiple individual perpetual font licenses and forecasting the total cost of type within the business.
While the Foundry Program was ultimately designed to benefit type designers, it will also benefit buyers by giving them access to “an extensive library of quality fonts via a single end-user license agreement”, says Monotype. Examples of Monotype’s customers and partners include Canva, Toyota, Nike, H&M, Samsung, Microsoft, Adidas, Ford and Duolingo.
The ultimate goal, says Pflug, is “to grow the type industry as whole”, by helping it respond to “ever-changing design ethos and trends” and encouraging innovation by “pushing technology and design to its limits”. Equally, to facilitate this growth, “it must be a viable to earn a living by making type” she adds, explaining that the programme seeks to generate “a healthy ecosystem of type designers and customers”, so typographers can “scale their business and take them to the next level”.