Anything can be sold on the internet if you are brave enough; when we say anything, we mean anything literally. You can sell (or buy) the most bizarre things on the internet if you know where to look, so there’ll be no one stopping you from selling your font designs. Here’s how to sell fonts online if you’re sane enough not to sell something illegal.
Potential Revenue Streams
There are many ways you can gain revenue from selling your fonts—or even your design work—on the internet. However, generally, there are three ways: retail, royalties, and custom projects.
As the name suggests, retail revenue is the amount of money you get for each purchase of your font. The revenue could come either as royalty payments from font foundries or from font resellers. How much you get from this revenue model varies according to the retail stores you sell your font from.
Simply put, it is as if you are selling your paintings. You can choose—among the galleries that accepted your submission—which one you want to sell your paintings through. If you are feeling adventurous and like a bit of a challenge, there is another alternative besides relying on font foundries or resellers: selling fonts from your platform.
Selling your fonts on your website is still one of the best ways to market your designs. Make no mistake, it is not easy to do, and it was never easy, to begin with. Previously, you had to design your website, hire a web developer team, consult with eCommerce functionality experts, etc. Nowadays, you can use templates like the ones available in WordPress to design your marketplace.
Royalties from Licenses
One alternative to selling your fonts through an online marketplace—either 3rd party or your website—is licensing your fonts to original retail manufacturers (OEM). In this model, you will get royalty payments from OEM businesses that license your work to be used or bundled with their product.
This revenue stream model was limited to software applications and operating software until just a few years back. However, OEM font bundling opportunities have opened up thousands of opportunities yearly. Smartphones, vehicle entertainment systems, digital cameras, and even video games are among the consumers of font licensing today.
If you can strike a licensing deal with long-term products like video games or computer software, you will be guaranteed a royalty payment each year. The number of royalties you’ll receive annually will vary—always negotiate a reasonable amount before you sign the deal.
Payment from Custom Projects
If you can create typefaces to be sold online, why not create a custom logotype for high-paying clients? The demand for customized logotypes, typefaces, or fonts is increasing yearly. The demand mostly comes from companies looking for an exclusive typeface.
While it’s true that projects like this will yield a one-time payment per project, most clients who commissioned this service are willing to pay a hefty amount. If you can successfully manage a steady stream of high-paying projects in a year, chances are you’ll have better revenues here than selling or licensing your finished fonts.
Tips on How to Sell Your Fonts Online
You have identified the potential revenue streams that fit you; now what? What should you do? How to sell your fonts online? There are many ways you can continue from this point onward.
There are two options: 1) you join a font foundry and receive royalty payments, and 2) you sell your fonts directly to end users through resellers. If you choose option 1, you don’t have to think about marketing and setting up your fonts for sale; the foundry will do it. However, you will only receive royalty payments instead of a sale price. If you choose option 2, you will get your font’s worth minus the expense of getting your font sold there.
A thing to note here is that if you join a foundry or send your fonts, you usually can’t sell those fonts anywhere else by yourself. All sales of your typefaces will be organized by and under the name of the foundry. Meanwhile, if you sell your designs through resellers, you can place your sale on several platforms. Selling through multiple resellers might help your font’s reach as well.
We’ve talked as if licensing only works with companies that want to include your fonts in their product lineup. However, putting your fonts in a foundry counts as OEM Licensing, too. In both cases, the license purchaser (company or the foundry) holds an exclusive arrangement to your design.
These exclusive arrangements may be translated as an exclusive right to control all sales of the fonts by the licensee. The arrangements might also mean the licensee has exclusive distribution rights, in which you may still sell your fonts directly to the users.
The royalties you may get from exclusive arrangements range from 20-50% of the price. Still, this number is generally viewed as lower than non-exclusives since the licensee made large investments for development, release, and marketing campaign.
This model has the highest chance of landing a huge paycheck of all three. However, like any other design gig, it is a ‘high risk, high return’ occasion. Depending on the client and the design, the price of a single approved design could land you anywhere between hundreds of dollars to a six-figure income.
Since most of the clients in this endeavor are corporates, ensure you will be paid fairly based on your performance. It’s a given that bigger companies should pay you more than smaller ones. However, you still need to carefully read the contract before signing.
Selling graphic designs, particularly fonts have never been easier. There are many ways you can capitalize your font and get a living from it. The key is to know your worth and which revenue stream model you want to follow, and that’s how to sell fonts online. Enjoy!