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february 2003
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PAGE magazine germany
article in issue 01.2003 pp. 56-59
by Antje Dohmann

[excerpts only]


True Economy

"There is no end to the daily 'horror news' about economical developments. PAGE wished to know how far the type industry is affected, and spoke with pundits of the trade about their situation and survival strategies."

In the US, the situation appears in no way rosier at all. "Especially San Francisco still looks damaged, since the dot.com boom bagged the city, then dropped it, and left us behind with not much else," says Joachim Müller-Lancé, co-founder of the Typebox foundry in San Francisco. "Larger cities like New York or Los Angeles seem to pull themselves together easier – maybe since they have other business branches that remained more stable."

The colder the wind blows, the closer people cuddle together; 'cross-selling' is at the order. Finding many foundries under one roof is helpful for vendors, customers and users. "We also sell via MyFonts.com," as Joachim Müller-Lancé tells. "Their 'department store' system with numerous foundries, keyword search, designer biographies and foundry information seems useful and well-organized. MyFonts keep only 20 percent of retail price, but also don't advertize much. Most other companies keep 50 percent, and in turn, invest more in promotion."

Especially in marketing, it pays off for smaller foundries to team up, and not print an own catalog every year, but rather join forces with other type vendors. One example is the book "IndieFonts", published by P22. Eighteen independent foundries are presented in it, and the fee for participating was perfectly justifiable for this internationally-distributed marketing tool.

The Internet certainly makes sense as a sales tool, but one should not give in to the illusion of being present everywhere with it. "Popularity and success in other countries depend on many factors," says Joachim Müller-Lancé. "Marketing locally, advertizing, building trust – all this takes time, and our currently slim funds. Aside from that, there's always the consideration whether such measures may have any effect."

So despite it all, the trade appears optimistic. If that seems not enough, a comment from Emigré founder Rudy Vanderlans may be of comfort: "The difficult economical situation of today, and its results for sales of typefaces, are nothing compared to the current font piracy at large, which has always put damage to foundries anyway, and will continue to do so."

kame interviewed
via e-mail

kame's website selected
into the noteworthy on the internet
by newstoday.com

one more thanks to florian the finder.


kame's typeface shuriken boy spotted by findmeister florian fangohr – thx!

ever wondered what shuriken boy does after school?
he takes art classes of course.
when he's grown up,
he wants to be a manga artist,
and create a comic with his autobiography as a ninja boy.