How Do You Run a Type Foundry? 15 Founders Discuss

Why do people use your typefaces?🐛💭 Dinamo

Is it better to offer less products—or more choice?🐛💭 Dinamo

What are the biggest challenges facing the typeface industry today?🐛💭 Dinamo

What’s your biggest daily worry—and what are you doing about it?🐛💭 Dinamo

What do you need to change about how you operate?🐛💭 Dinamo

Who will manage & sell your work once you retire—a.k.a what’s your exit strategy?🐛💭 Dinamo

It’s a long way from know-nothing to guru. After nearly ten years of running Dinamo, we’ve been wondering about the life cycle of our typefaces lately, and what it means for foundries to be bought up by giants. These thoughts have lead to bigger questions about the nature of publishing itself—and who will take care of our work when we’re gone.

With all this in mind, we reached out to 15 of our friend-competitors at foundries big and small, to hear how they’ve been thinking about the future of their companies and the products they’ve released into the world.

Participating Foundries

⚓ Joyce Ketterer, Darden Studio
🔥 Matthieu Salvaggio, Blaze Type
🌈 Robin Mientjes, Tiny Type Co.
♟️ James Edmondson, OH no Type Company
🌺 Leah Maldonado
🦢 Kris Sowersby, Klim Type Foundry
🎠 Margot Lévêque Studio
🪴 Anna Sing, Greenhouse Type

🍏 Luke Prowse, NaN
💌 David Jonathan Ross, Font of the Month Club
🧵 Paul Barnes, Commercial Type
🧵 Christian Schwartz, Commercial Type
📕 Charles Nix, Monotype
💅 Jérémy Landes, Studio Triple
🐈‍⬛ Jung-Lee Type Foundry

Why do people use your typefaces?🐛💭 Dinamo

I hope what attracts my customers most is also what I value the most about my own catalogue: The selection is small but thorough. Small families with lots of characters and broad application.🌈 Robin Mientjes, Tiny Type Co.

It’s funny you ask because it’s always something that has made me ponder. Of course I think we’re doing our best at designing new innovative fonts and we care a lot about the technical end of them, but I have no clear answer. Is it because of the font? The license? The price? Our values? All or none of the above?🔥 Matthieu Salvaggio, Blaze Type

We aim for each of our fonts to be “best in class” for its genre, not just in terms of being well designed but also by innovating. We release fonts infrequently to focus on design innovation and high quality. I think we’re slightly better at designing fonts with how they will be used in mind. Our fonts both have a lot of personality and a lot of functionality.⚓ Joyce Ketterer, Darden Studio

Some reasons might be: 1. Uniquely vibrant display typefaces that I put a lot of love into. 2. Nostalgic stuff—many of our typefaces are things that were already beloved in the past. 3. It’s a family business, and we show our faces to our audience. 4. We have some amount of visibility through Instagram. 5. Many of our typefaces are included with an Adobe subscription.♟️ James Edmondson, OH no Type Company

I think people use my typefaces because they have strong personalities with interesting backstories and are accessible to a large audience. My typefaces are mostly strong display typefaces that are inspired by houseplants—they’re unconventional and I hope a bit on trend. Now more than ever, people from all backgrounds have a general understanding that typography is an extension of who they are or what their brand is. I also set my typefaces at a low price and have one that’s completely free—it drives a lot of interest.🪴 Anna Sing, Greenhouse Type

There are a range of reasons people use our typefaces and those of our foundry partners, ranging from “I need a typeface for my book report—any typeface with feet,” to “We need a typeface that looks like other typefaces in our brand sector,” to “Help us create a unique visual expression of our brand mission.” They come to us because we have a huge library of type—both old and new, text and display, neutral and full of character. They come to us because we have a large marketplace and a tremendous number of foundry partners. They come to us for variety—for choice.📕 Charles Nix, Monotype

I guess it’s because I prioritize the aesthetic aspect rather than drawing my fonts perfectly—maybe it makes my typefaces less ordinary? When I'm drawing, I keep this question in mind: “Do I really like what I'm doing?” I show things only if my answer is yes. And automatically, I think people like it because I myself really enjoy my fonts! I don’t have the goal to build a big foundry with a lot of typefaces. Just do some type when I have inspiration.🎠 Margot Lévêque Studio

I have a subscription that puts my fonts in people’s inboxes every month. Having this sandbox to play in gives me the opportunity to offer my users a mix of utilitarian and novelty fonts that probably wouldn’t exist if I had to figure out how to market them conventionally.💌 David Jonathan Ross, Font of the Month Club

I think people use our typefaces for lots of reasons, with something like Graphik, it’s because its utilitarian in nature, with a wide range of weights, widths, and language support. Others like Canela because it seems to be a typeface of a moment, it seems to reflect a fashion. I guess our typefaces are a reflection of ourselves and the designers who made them and the many places where they have been designed. None of the ingredients are unique, it’s the combination of them that makes the venture unique.🧵 Paul Barnes, Commercial Type

I’ve only released free typefaces or done custom things. I think that I bring my personal point of view as an artist to my typographic work and people are interested in how my concepts can become part of their design or brand. I also make wacky looking stuff and I think that with the world is trending towards maximalism right now—people want that.🌺 Leah Maldonado

Our fonts get used because they seem to hit a sweet spot between function and novelty. They’re well made with clear historical roots. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what the reasons are, but designers seem to like what we make. We also put a lot of effort into marketing and writing about the fonts.🦢 Kris Sowersby, Klim Type Foundry

Honestly, I’m not 100% sure! If I had to guess I think (hope) it’s because we’re kind of aesthetic oddballs and we match that with a Michelin craft. So… our typefaces have a kind of like-mindedness in approach and outcome. On a personal level, it took a while for me to understand that no one can compete with you being you—that was a kind of revelation for me.— 🍏 Luke Prowse, NaN

We’ve heard from a lot of clients and customers that people like our “editorial sensibility.” Paul has worked as a magazine art director, and most of our early projects were custom typefaces for newspapers and magazines, so I’m sure this has influenced our whole approach to type design—from how we structure a family, to gravitating towards larger x-heights.🧵 Christian Schwartz, Commercial Type

I believe each anatomical detail of a typeface (possibly) embodies emotional values and may evoke emotions from the reader—I’ve been researching this in my practice (as published in Real-Time Realist). Impact Nieuw is a stead seller of mine: I think it’s because people find it interesting that a typeface can be seen as a person, a growing emotional entity with feelings and thoughts, which changes its looks over time.🐈‍⬛ Jung-Lee Type Foundry

I think people use my typefaces for two overlapping reasons: licensing and style. Since the beginning of my career, I’ve been sensitive (thanks mostly to Frank Adebiaye) to licensing and, as I started releasing typefaces, I tried to release my work under the most interesting license models—either open-source or proprietary. Both models have (different) advantages for both users and designers. Then, the bigger thing I discovered is that the more of myself I put in my typefaces, the more they’re used.💅 Jérémy Landes, Studio Triple

Digital shelf space is unlimited. Is better to offer less products—and a boutique vibe—or more choice?🐛💭 Dinamo

I have so many products now, it’s hard to keep track, so I guess I have to say “a lot of choice.” Perhaps this is less about what my users might want (it gets annoying when fonts are buried), and more about all the different kinds of things that I want to make. I like the idea of pushing for more typographic variety in general, and offering a lot of choice is one way to make that possible. Even within my library, I am always rooting for the lesser-used typefaces, and I like encouraging users to choose fonts that are specific to their projects rather than the most versatile or hip.💌 David Jonathan Ross, Font of the Month Club

Well. I guess I answered that already in the first question. Though I should say that we partner with lots of smaller foundries that definitely have a “boutique vibe.”📕 Charles Nix, Monotype

Working on the next thing is always exciting for me creatively. A Walt Disney quote comes to mind: “We don’t make movies to make money, we make money to make more movies.” I feel the same about typefaces. So whether or not a larger library will make us more or less cash seems less important than the fact that creating new things just gets me out of bed in the morning.♟️ James Edmondson, OH no Type Company

Boutique is an interesting word because if we look at the big fashion labels they all started out as numerically boutique and then as they grew big, they keep the associated values and moniker and scaled larger. I guess my point is, boutique is something of a brand (and resource) issue, and less to do with product count. I prefer to have a lower number of high-quality relationships in life than the opposite. It’s the same approach to what we sell and make as well as the relationship we build with designers. Frankly, I feel a strong responsibility to them—in encouraging, supporting, marketing, selling—and I can’t see how that could be maintained by spreading ourselves thinly over many releases.🍏 Luke Prowse, NaN

Digital shelf space is unlimited but the amount of signals a human brain can process is, and digital products have an environmental cost too, even if we tend to forget that. With this in mind, I tend to be for a smaller number of products approach. Which is also going in the same direction of trying to do what I am good at, and not what my colleagues are good at. Even though I love challenges.💅 Jérémy Landes, Studio Triple

We attempt to balance a boutique vibe with a big library, to varying success. I don’t think we have too much overlap between similar products, but the sheer number of typefaces makes it hard to spread the spotlight around.🧵 Christian Schwartz, Commercial Type

I think this all has to do with personal intuition. For myself, I’ve found that a more boutique vibe is better for me. I’ve found the most success in focusing my time towards making typefaces that excite me. I have a hard time working on projects I'm not super invested in, so making a lot of options isn't really my personal style. It’s like that saying—quality over quantity. Finding my niche and grooving with what I want to make has brought the most the success.🪴 Anna Sing, Greenhouse Type

Sometimes, I compare a foundry’s output to a band or an artist. We expect a certain consistency and similarity in output. For example, if Slayer put out a dubstep album, it would likely be disappointing to the fans. Foundries are almost the opposite, they’re expected to have diversity. It would be “weird” if a foundry focussed only on geometric sans’. I don’t think we’ve ever had a specific focus on covering all genres: We have diversity because we like lots of styles, and we have overlap because sometimes the first attempt wasn’t quite what we wanted.🦢 Kris Sowersby, Klim Type Foundry

A bit of both as long as there’s a coherent mind in the way the font catalog is shaped.🔥 Matthieu Salvaggio, Blaze Type

I work mainly on custom stuff—I fill my digital shelf with my own thoughts and concepts, which are endless. Nothing I make is easy to get, you have to email me personally. So, in a way, I am exclusive, but once you're in, the bounty is endless. If I were to compare myself to a boutique or store, I’d say that I’m more of a tailor sitting at a sewing machine. I am ready with tools in hand to make what you're looking for—but I’m also a freak and won’t shut up, so the end product will inevitably be a mixture of what the customer wants and what I want the customer to want. It seems like people would not like this, but I’m here to say that they do!🌺 Leah Maldonado

I vastly prefer a smaller set of options, where they’re more purposefully designed, because I like the idea that even a novice can tell my (current and upcoming) releases apart very easily.🌈 Robin Mientjes, Tiny Type Co.

I believe everyone’s need for a typeface is different. Some might be tired of seeing/using the same fonts that are widely used by the public, so some subtle changes might be sought out, while for others, it might not. To offer well-crafted quality typefaces, I can only afford to have a limited library as a one-person studio.🐈‍⬛ Jung-Lee Type Foundry

I think our library reflects where we are as a type foundry after more than a decade of operating, and after the many years we have been in the business. At the beginning we started off with a small and very select set of faces; the gap between them was well defined—so Graphik was a very different taste to Dala Floda, and Guardian was very different to Austin. Over time, with more designs, you cannot help but fill the space between faces, so the space between designs becomes smaller, and more nuanced. The complexity then becomes how you present these typefaces, how can you make sure that none of the new designs become lost.🧵 Paul Barnes, Commercial Type

I prefer to have a small catalog. I admit I don’t think about what style of fonts I should draw next to give people more choice. I draw what I want to draw. I only have serif fonts for the moment, because I haven’t felt like drawing anything else! Maybe it will change. I feel that when a type designer really likes what they design and when they work with sincerity, people feel it!🎠 Margot Lévêque Studio

We have a smaller number of products simply because that’s the only way to make things to our standard. If it was possible to make on volume and maintain our curation, we’d do it. This is why we're happy to be a part of Adobe’s Creative Cloud offerings. It gives us the best of both worlds.⚓ Joyce Ketterer, Darden Studio

What are the biggest challenges facing the typeface industry today?🐛💭 Dinamo

If we want a more diverse industry, there needs to be greater accessibility into the industry as a whole. The future generation of type designers are incredibly talented, but most importantly, diverse. It's important that as the industry starts to evolve, more opportunities are made accessible to people of color, non-binary people, those from low income backgrounds, etc. Programs like the Malee Scholarship from Sharp Type are great advancements towards making a more diverse industry. I hope to see and create safe spaces like those to nurture the future generation of type designers.🪴 Anna Sing, Greenhouse Type

We are in a world where people want things fast and consume faster and faster. But type design remains a slow practice.🎠 Margot Lévêque Studio

EULAS!!! They are so difficult to understand as a consumer and a designer. And because of this I think a lot of great work gets put out for free or never gets released. The larger platforms for selling your fonts are sort of chuegy (looking at you and drive prices down—there is a race to the bottom attitude when it comes to pricing. It’s a shame. It’s like fast fashion. But there are great places like future fonts that are fighting this norm.🌺 Leah Maldonado

It’s maybe not the biggest challenge, but an interesting challenge is context collapse. Social media has become an important part of type discovery, which is great for finding new fonts but does not encourage spending time with them or learning more about them. Our industry is growing, which is great, but I’d love to see if we can avoid previous patterns of growth where each manufacturer builds siloed followings and then just offers them different versions of the same thing. So I truly appreciate efforts to make a more cooperative ecosystem where we all benefit from users having information about available fonts. This includes designers citing their sources, resources like the incredible, and places like and where folks can read non-promotional writing about fonts. And another good example is a foundry that is willing to feature other foundries in its blog :-D💌 David Jonathan Ross, Font of the Month Club

There is some reckoning to come for the enormous amounts of power that are being held by Google and Monotype, but I don’t know in what form. The concentration of resources, history, and type culture is uncomfortable to me, and we risk increasing the earnings-to-effort gap between the hegemons and the Indies.🌈 Robin Mientjes, Tiny Type Co.

Gaining visibility. We don't pay for advertising except for sponsoring Typographics, so I try to be clever about spending time in efficient ways to get us good bang for our buck.♟️ James Edmondson, OH no Type Company

More of the few remaining critical forums turning in to type Walmarts?🍏 Luke Prowse, NaN

The commodification of type seems to be speeding up, between subscription services, free services, and of course deep discounts from distributors, but I am more concerned about new barriers being created between customers and the typefaces they want to use or even have already licensed. It’s worrying that it’s almost impossible for companies to use their identity typefaces in web-based tools like Google Docs & Slides, and choosing a free alternative is becoming more and more normalized.🧵 Christian Schwartz, Commercial Type

Both designing and using typefaces has become more trendy and fashionable in cultural and commercial industries. As fashion trends quickly come and go, the time for developing typefaces gets shorter. And as making and distributing typefaces is relatively easy compared to the past, self-criticality towards such practice is lacking.🐈‍⬛ Jung-Lee Type Foundry

More than anything, it’s the misconception among agencies and clients that you can commission a quality font, and get assignment of rights, for less money than you can license a retail font. It’s just not true, but we battle it every day.⚓ Joyce Ketterer, Darden Studio

As Joyce Ketterer has been pointing out for years now, inconsistent and confusing licensing is a big problem. What one foundry allows, others do not. Uses that one foundry charges for, others give away for free. This isn’t great for the industry. We could all do better if we got on the same page (or at least the same chapter). And as Joyce points out, it’s not great for our customers either. Imagine being a publisher or agency and trying to wrangle the legal fine print for hundreds or thousands of individual font files. We love our customers. Why are we doing this to them? We need to continue to strengthen our typographic-communal ties. We can’t call ourselves an industry if we act like roving gangs. We need to respect ourselves, our work, and the work of our fellow designers. We need to celebrate the best of our work and demand just compensation for the value we provide.📕 Charles Nix, Monotype

Licensing? Diversity in the creators and the industry leader? Discussions on originality, influence, and copying?💅 Jérémy Landes, Studio Triple

There’s the perennial struggle to simply make and sell fonts, and I don’t think that will go away. Workplace diversity and representation has been brought to light, which will be an ongoing challenge. But the fundamental core of typography—making verbal language visible—looks to be flourishing in cultures and communities previously reliant on western designers. Ensuring locals make fonts for locals is the hardest challenge right now I think.🦢 Kris Sowersby, Klim Type Foundry

I think the challenges are the same as they have always been: Educating users, promoting designs, pricing, piracy, language support. Obviously for individual foundries, the size of Monotype is a challenge, but also an opportunity.🧵 Paul Barnes, Commercial Type

I guess it would be educating our customers. Lots of new fonts get released on a daily basis and it a good thing to have such a large horizon of fonts, but at the same time, an understanding of font design and especially production can be lacking. So we end up with a lot of interesting font ideas but IMHO not really workable fonts.🔥 Matthieu Salvaggio, Blaze Type

What’s your biggest daily worry—and what are you doing about it?🐛💭 Dinamo

I want Monotype to be here in 300 years. I want it to survive and thrive. I want it to be a place where our collective typographic legacy (each of our legacies) lives on for future generations of typographers and designers. We’re already preserving the legacies of the giants who came before us. That’s a joy—and a huge responsibility. I want that to continue.📕 Charles Nix, Monotype

My worries are more on a society and world scale than a company scale, so I guess I’m trying to have a better influence on the former. How to link this to my professional activity has been an unanswered question for a long time, and I’m trying to put more and more energy into finding answers, through carefully choosing the people I work with, and through donating part of my revenues.💅 Jérémy Landes, Studio Triple

I worry that our revenue will suddenly plummet for reasons outside of my control, and I will no longer be able to provide for my family. This is not rational at all, and I have no reason to think that would happen, but it does cross my mind. The best thing I’ve done about it, is to get direct sales through our website to a comfortable spot, and I put our library on Adobe Fonts. Those two things give us income we can count on, so I don't worry too much.♟️ James Edmondson, OH no Type Company

There is this constant trend cycle and social platforms make it worse. I feel like the moment someone does something original it is eaten up and regurgitated and killed by the copycat masses.🌺 Leah Maldonado

I’m mostly worried that I won’t finish what I start. I’m not worried about sustaining the work, or whether I’ll continue having ideas for typefaces. The art of completion requires discipline and motivation. Discipline is my problem, and I use my friends for motivation—if people love using the work that is under construction, that's a good sign that I have something worth finishing.🌈 Robin Mientjes, Tiny Type Co.

I’m a single person running my foundry, so there’s a lot for me to navigate as more interest is shown in my typefaces. I started off Greenhouse Type as a senior thesis project, so I never thought it would get as much recognition as it has. I’ve been trying to figure out things like licenses, the best platform to sell on, etc. One of the best ways I’ve been learning about how to do these things is to connect with other typeface designers and pick their brains. Most type designers are so welcoming and encouraging, it’s been a great resource to learn from.🪴 Anna Sing, Greenhouse Type

Internal production processes and succession planning. Production is slowly being sorted, succession is much harder.🦢 Kris Sowersby, Klim Type Foundry

Type is a fashion business in a lot of ways, and I worry about us losing touch with people’s taste and falling out of relevance. We make sure our whole team of designers and outside collaborators, who have stronger connections to contemporary graphic design, have a major voice in what we release and how we talk about it.🧵 Christian Schwartz, Commercial Type

As it’s a one-person practice, time management is becoming more and more difficult as there are several jobs to be done so that I have time to work on typefaces. Actually, the time I could work on developing typefaces becomes less and less. I would someday, when affordable, like to have assistance for administrative jobs.🐈‍⬛ Jung-Lee Type Foundry

Honestly, I don’t have a big worry because I don’t expect anything from my catalog—I‘m extremely happy when someone buys my fonts of course—but I don’t set any financial goals for it. This is not my main occupation.🎠 Margot Lévêque Studio

We need to hire more people and it’s very hard to find folks who work to our standard.⚓ Joyce Ketterer, Darden Studio

Font of the Month Club has essentially given me the excuse to take a five year break from properly documenting and marketing my fonts. Don’t get me wrong… it has been super nice not to worry about that. But I feel like I’ve also gotten a bit rusty and need to be better about telling the stories behind my new creations and showcasing them in a way that is appealing to a larger audience than the folks who are in my club. I have slowly started to invest time and resources into tidying up my library, and working with some folks on specimen sites for some of my neglected releases.💌 David Jonathan Ross, Font of the Month Club

The large number of faces in the retail library is both a blessing and an issue; how do you give all faces the same prominence and promotion? As the company has grown, we have had more and more faces to release causing a backlog. During the pandemic, this became an even greater problem; into what environment were you releasing a new face? One way we have addressed this is our Vault, which is a place faces can be released to the public without the fanfare of being a Commercial Type face. So in the case of Orleans, which was going to be a Commercial Type release, we could put it out with less fuss. It’s also a place where designs that we have made over the years for various reasons can be sold, without having to be finished to the same degree of polish as a full release.🧵 Paul Barnes, Commercial Type

One of the big reasons I started NaN was as a vehicle for ideas I couldn’t make happen by other means… or that didn’t reply on other people’s sign-off. So far, I’m having a lot of fun collaborating with my team! Not to say it’s always rosy, but we try hard to find the space for joy in the work we do. We’re a small team, so I’m also conscious of my responsibility there: The work environment, job stability, making space for their ideas, and not being mentally locked in to one way of thinking. That’s an easy list to rattle off but it requires a lot of work and I’m learning every day.🍏 Luke Prowse, NaN

What do you need to change about how you operate, and with this in mind, where do you see your company in 10 years?🐛💭 Dinamo

I need to investigate more thoroughly how I can expand my families and my catalogue without overwhelming my site. I care deeply about the background and purpose of my work, and the more I put into that, the more I risk that people will not take it all in. So, I need to keep editing the stories behind my work. In ten years, I hope that I will have clear core stories in place for many complex, fun, flexible, and stubborn releases.🌈 Robin Mientjes, Tiny Type Co.

In day-to-day operations, we’re a mixed bunch of people, however on the retail side, all of our fonts are made by a bunch of (nice) white, European dudes. We have to be proactive in changing that, because it snuck up on us and the system being the system will continue to reproduce and support itself. That’s something we’re currently working on.🍏 Luke Prowse, NaN

Maybe licensing changes, or maybe upward pricing adjustment needs to change. I’m not sure about ten years, the current global political and ecological situation makes fonts hard to care about to some degree!🦢 Kris Sowersby, Klim Type Foundry

I would love for my foundry to be my full time job in the next 10 years, and I need to make the perspective change from side gig to full project mode for that. I currently work at a branding agency and do what I can with my foundry on the side. At my core, I’m a designer, not a business person. It can be challenging to find the motivation to figure out all the backend paperwork to take my company to the next level. I’m finding that it’s more worth my time to find the right person to work with me on that aspect so I can focus on what I really want to do—create typefaces.🪴 Anna Sing, Greenhouse Type

Perhaps it would be better to be less prolific! But I don’t think that will change. It’s hard to know where we will be in 10 years, as much about us, as to what will the world look like?🧵 Paul Barnes, Commercial Type

We need to work more collaboratively with other foundries. We don’t want or need all of the work in the world and all of the sales of fonts, but we have a huge customer base, an incredible sales force, and a robust font marketplace. We need to do more sharing of those resources with great smaller foundries (like Dinamo).📕 Charles Nix, Monotype

I should work less, I guess. And I don't even try to make 10 year plans, as I don't know who I will be in 10 years. Just trying to find more long-term security and ways to ben even more creative in the long-term.💅 Jérémy Landes, Studio Triple

Definitely time management. I don’t see my practice as a company and not seeking a big financial success, at least I feel like that at the moment. I would be happy to continue exploring typographic research and publishing practice, Real-Time Realist as a result and create typefaces next to it. Hopefully, this could still be going in 10 years time.🐈‍⬛ Jung-Lee Type Foundry

I have a very untraditional relationship to type! I’m sure some very serious type designers would turn their nose up at my practice. But this is not something I want to change, I only want to become stranger.🌺 Leah Maldonado

Need to miss fewer deadlines.⚓ Joyce Ketterer, Darden Studio

We need to communicate more and better!🔥 Matthieu Salvaggio, Blaze Type

Honestly I just need to exercise and eat a little healthier! Gradually, I'm going to start doing a little less type design, and outsource technical aspects of font development to qualified employees/ contractors. In 10 years, I hope we are doing much of the same thing as we are now: Zero client work, few, if any, meetings, and a fantastic library that we are proud of. The only difference could be that I work less. At the moment I probably work about 30 hours per week, and by then I could maybe get it down to about 20, to spend more time with my kids.♟️ James Edmondson, OH no Type Company

I feel like growth is something that businesses should want, but I wonder whether it is something I actually do want. I know I spend too much time on administrative tasks and I know I should change that, but I also am afraid that growing the business will just mean having to think more about making money and less about making fonts. One way I hope to continue to grow-without-growing is to set aside the time/budget to collaborate with other designers.💌 David Jonathan Ross, Font of the Month Club

I would like to continue to create typefaces slowly but surely. Considering the time it takes me to finish a font because I work alone, in 10 years I could draw between three/five fonts at most! Maybe I’ll stop everything and become a yoga teacher in two years? I don’t really now. I trust life!🎠 Margot Lévêque Studio

At some point we’ll probably shift our focus from expanding our library to maintaining what we have already released, and I imagine we'll have less energy for custom projects in 10 years, though we both enjoy working with clients so much that I hope it doesn't go away completely.🧵 Christian Schwartz, Commercial Type

Who will manage and sell your work once you retire—a.k.a what’s your exit-strategy?🐛💭 Dinamo

We haven’t really thought too deeply about this; I would guess that retirement is unlikely to ever happen, rather the kind of work and priorities change. I think it’s also important that as you get older, you realize that the next generations need to be given enough space to grow into.🧵 Paul Barnes, Commercial Type

I don’t have this formalized yet, but I have a rough idea: To establish a partnership with another indie foundry, figure out for a few years how my work can transform to fit with theirs (or vice versa), and trust them to carry it onwards. If that ends up impossible, then one day the public domain may be the best solution for everyone.🌈 Robin Mientjes, Tiny Type Co.

This question isn’t really meant for me and Monotype, but it is something that we think about every day. We’re regularly contacted by foundries and designers looking to retire or exit the industry. Most of what is viewed from the outside as Monotype swallowing smaller foundries is actually smaller foundries looking to exit the field, retire, and/or preserve their work by adding it to our library. It’s legacy. We’re all human. We all want to live forever. Our typefaces can—but not if we toss them into the Thames.📕 Charles Nix, Monotype

For now, I’ve decided not to open my own boutique. I've chosen people I trust to deal with selling my work, and I’ve diversified my sources of income so the chance that they all fail at the same time is lower. That being said, the owners of the foundry where my work is sold will retire one day, but now, they will be the ones that will need to answer to those questions. And if they fail, I can still move my work elsewhere, haha.💅 Jérémy Landes, Studio Triple

I honestly have no idea, sorry! You offering a buyout? 😜💌 David Jonathan Ross, Font of the Month Club

When it’s my time, I think I will just make all of my typefaces free and their original files open source, even if I found someone to take over. When I was learning how to make my very first typeface, a mentor shared a file of a real working typeface to help me better understand Glyphs. The file is something I still refer to to this day, and it helped me learn more than I ever received in my formal education. The current wave of open source typographers inspired and encouraged me to make my own, and one day I’d love to contribute my work to it to help a self-starter like me.🪴 Anna Sing, Greenhouse Type

We’re still working on our entry-strategy! Too busy pulling the oars to look out the window right now…If I had to speculate, though, I’d say we eventually sell-out to Monotype. They seem like a really humble organization that values creative spirit.🍏 Luke Prowse, NaN

WO!!! What a question. Thank you for asking me, because obviously I had never asked myself. I'm sorry, I don't know. Maybe my instinct would be to let life happen. Let my typefaces go to oblivion? Or maybe not?🎠 Margot Lévêque Studio

We’ve been so focused on the day-to-day of deadlines, releases—and lately getting through the pandemic—that we don't spend much time thinking about our legacy or a succession plan. My kids just turned 5 and 2, and it’s hard to imagine them wanting to take over an aging library of typefaces 20 years from now. It’s also hard to imagine selling the company and dumping our library into a bigger library. Maybe someday we’ll just give everyone their rights back, open source our own work, and walk off into the sunset?🧵 Christian Schwartz, Commercial Type

Ah, the million dollar question. I’m sure as fuck not letting Monotype anywhere near our fonts, that seems like the coward’s way out. I sometimes wonder if it’s possible to establish an international “font legacy co-op.” A bunch of foundries elect to place their fonts in a trust. The trust establishes a long-term cooperative to manage fonts and sales. A percentage is paid to the staff and engineers to maintain the fonts, and develop if necessary. It may have to be a shared license, and might have to deal with a legacy customer base. But really, these are just loose thoughts.🦢 Kris Sowersby, Klim Type Foundry

Typefaces live on much longer than humans. I hope that once I leave the earth those who keep my typefaces alive will also keep my curiosities alive. I view type as a great equalizer, a shared voice, and those who aim to continue my work will see it the way I do too.🌺 Leah Maldonado

I am not a designer. I’m a business side owner. I plan to sell the company to a staff member who will continue to pay me royalties.⚓ Joyce Ketterer, Darden Studio

Haha, I realize that I have no exit strategy! Will I step down? Maybe. I have gone to great lengths already to give myself a job from which I’d rather not retire. If I do retire, it would be ideal to sell the library off to a respectable entity that I would trust with the work. The reality is that by then, there will be thousands of new designers, doing excellent work, and new graphic designers that want to use THOSE fonts. Ours will long be out of fashion, and will likely have little value. ¯_(ツ)_/¯ I do no want or need my work to keep traveling when I step down. I will be sick of looking at them anyway! More so than my work living on, I hope I can be useful to students who are on a similar path. I learned a lot from folks who were just eager to pass on the stuff they'd figured out, so it would be great to continue with that.♟️James Edmondson, OH no Type Company

No retirement. I will personally die designing fonts behind the computer or behind whatever tools there'll be. It's all been decided by fate, I'm a viking. Jokes aside, this question has come up a lot recently (due to the recent sell of Hoeffler, I guess?) but I do plan on never retiring from the profession. So the question, then, will be: What happens with the company after my passing? Well, hopefully someone else can carry the flame. My wife, if she outlives me. I actually need to get a will down about these things (just in case). I don't wan’t our work to fall in oblivion so there are things to be considered. The best option would be to offer our catalog, my fonts, to other companies I like, and have them deal with our catalog while still giving some of the royalties to my beneficiaries.🔥 Matthieu Salvaggio, Blaze Type

I’ve given myself a week to think about it, but still couldn’t find my answer. It’s definitely something to think about!🐈‍⬛ Jung-Lee Type Foundry


We want this to be an ongoing conversation and we want many foundries—of many sizes and locations—to take part. We’d love to publish a book with more answers and thoughts by the end of 2022. If you have something to say about working in fonts today and want to contribute, please email for more information.

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