When Fontstand was originally launched in 2015, it was hailed as the “Netflix for fonts.” In reality, the model was different. Rather than discounting fonts and offering them for a flat fee, the app introduced the novel option to rent selected fonts, by reducing the duration of usage and charging a very small monthly amount. After the user had paid the equivalent of the full price, the font was transferred under a permanent license—a rent-to-own model—so the font could be used in perpetuity.
Today, Fontstand has introduced a completely rebuilt version of the app for the new Apple silicon chip. While it will continue to offer font rentals, it has added a unique new option for users of fonts: a subscription to a specific font foundry. Fontstand co-founder Peter Bilak explains: “Content subscription has become a popular way to access music, movies, and books. At the same time, content creators have been raising concerns that the split of the revenue arising from the subscription is unfair. We have been discussing this issue with type designers and foundries, and the outcome is a joint proposition: a foundry subscription, where the revenue goes directly to the people who make the fonts.”
Each year, Fontstand organizes a design conference, and takes the opportunity to meet with various font foundries to address new developments. It was at one of these meetings that the concept of a foundry subscription was proposed, and it was followed by a consultation with all participating type foundries. The aim of the new app is to connect fans directly with a foundry, thus creating a sustainable model that enables the funding of future work, while offering an affordable means of access to end users.
Fabian Harb and Johannes Breyer of Dinamo foundry commented: “Finding ways to ensure type designers have more financial stability to develop and distribute new typeface designs, while also ensuring that individuals, small companies, institutions, and non-profits can afford typefaces, is a topic that’s very close to our hearts!”
Fonts are critical to all visual communication, yet all too often users settle for substandard choices. Fontstand now presents a range of outstanding fonts from 70 foundries worldwide—a total of over 23,000 fonts representing the best contemporary type designers who are shaping our visual culture today. Their fonts are embedded in the identities, websites, books, and products seen daily by millions of people, and now they are affordable not only for professionals but also for casual users. The Fontstand founders believe that new design requires new fonts, and they are committed to creating conditions where users can discover and access high-quality fonts at the click of a button, strengthening revenue streams to the creators and creating a viable ecosystem of creation.