What is this all about, anyway?
Good question! Basically, we help type designers get paid for the creation of new open source fonts.
Okay but why are the fonts “for sale”?
They’re not, each one requires a specific amount of people to contribute whatever they can (minimum $3) to bring the font(s) to life. The designer chooses how many people they need support from. Upon reaching the contribution goal, the designer finishes the font and releases it to the world as they get paid. The final result will be released with an Open Font License (OFL). This model provides creators the opportunity to share their rough draft here but wait until there is a critical mass of interest and some dedicated funds to complete the project.
Why not use Kickstarter?
Kickstarter is cool. BUT, by doing this ourselves we cut the middle-person, saving transaction fees (8-10% of the total amount, which is not insignificant). We also didn’t want a time limit for projects. And we wanted the goal to be based on the number of people supporting it, rather than a financial amount (though there is clearly a minimum financial amount if you do the math).
Why is the goal based on number of contributions rather than a dollar amount?
As type designers, there’s nothing more satisfying than seeing our creations used (well) “in the wild”. The dollar model would allow a small number of contributors to fully support the font with a few large donations, but it’s more important for us to see that hundreds or thousands of people are interested in using what designers are creating. And maybe you’re super excited about a font and want to be a big-ticket supporter. Well, that’s why we made the contribution model “pay what you want”… you’re welcome to pledge as much as you want!
How is this different than Future Fonts?
Glad you asked! We love Future Fonts. Their platform is amazing and full of talented type work being designed for commercial purposes (which is great). Our model is a little different… every font that meets its goal on our platform will be released to the public for free with an Open Font License. Future Font supporters also gain access to the in-progress font. Access to fonts released through Public Type Works is not available until the goal is met.
I make fonts and I want in!
That’s not really a question but we’re glad you’re as excited about it as we are. We have an application process for that but are starting small with a limited number of designers. Note: this isn’t a collaborative process unless you’re part of a group/foundry. The designers here are making their own work unassisted. If you are drafting a font, you’ll be required to bring it to life.
I funded a font and I want out!
Again, that’s more of a statement really. No problem, just cancel the pre-order through your account page. You have the right to do this any time. Alternatively, a designer has the right to cancel their project any time, and no payment would be processed. An email notification would be sent out in this case.
How come I can only checkout with one font?
It’s annoying, we know. Basically, because different fonts will meet their goals and be released at different times, your support needs to be in separate orders so we can process your payment, or refund it, at the appropriate time for the appropriate font. For this reason your account is created automatically during the checkout process.
Who are you?
Public Type Works was started by Tyler Finck.
What’s your business model? Do you take a cut?
We don’t take a cut of designers payouts, but we do have fonts on this site seeking support. If we run into the good problem of having a lot to manage here, that might change. As of now, after the payment processor fees (Stripe) all of the funds go to the respective designers.