The font business is having some of the same woes as the music business.
Typography is mainstream now, most people recognise the impact of good type design, and there’s cool type foundries opening up everywhere created by passionate young designers. But just like Napster for music back in the day, file sharing means lots of people aren’t paying for it.
The analogy goes one step further. As streaming services like Spotify and Pandora make paying for music seem positively old fashioned (and having a shelf of physical media like something from the stone age!) similar services like Typekit and Google fonts fonts deliver fonts straight to your desktop or browser for free. Then everyone sees the role of type, but no one recognises the value.
How do you counter that? Most foundries have started by moving away from the old dense font websites, where an endless list of small samples crowded the screen and the price was most prominent. Now vibrant colour and crazy sample text make font browsing a lot more engaging.
Dalton Maag have gone one step further, and introduced trial licenses for their fonts. They know if you really want a typeface for free, you find it online or from a friend. This way, hopefully once your client has fallen in love, you’ll be back to buy. And you’ll see their other products along the way.