TY BRADFORD

What I'm Doing With Fonts Now

# meta, typography

This is new, all of it. The URL. The code. The–dare I say…strategy? Even this font I’m typing in. For a long time my website served as a portfolio, or as a blog, and at some point it was a shop. Now it’s all of those things at the same time, which seems ambitious but was a long time coming. But let me explain things as quickly and simply as I can.

When Google Fonts liberated my typefaces from Etcetera Type Company (read: gave me money in exchange for updating my fonts to their standards and (link: https://fonts.google.com/?query=finck text: making them open source)), that felt like the start and end of a certain chapter in my life. I’m thrilled that those works are now open source and out in the world. I love that you and I can use them in Google docs/slides/whatever. I am hesitant to add more fonts there, or exist as a type foundry, because it’s only one portion of what I love doing. I don’t want to put type on a pedestal or take it too seriously, there’s way too much of that happening already. Making fonts began as a fun hobby on the side, and I’d like to keep it that way.

So I revived Public Type Works, a website that I hoped could bridge the gap between a completely open source foundry, and a person trying to get compensated a little bit for creative resources. I think that vagueness threw people off a little bit, so a month ago I pulled the plug completely and, well, came up with this new site. It's going to be the home for everything I make, except music.

The fonts that exist now in my “shop” are not free, but they’re as little as $1 (and as expensive as you want to make them). I’ve always wanted things I make to be accessible and have hated pricing and licensing in general. So now I’m keeping it simple: pay whatever you want/can (can’t be zero) and use it however you want (just don’t share the fonts - here's the license). This feels more right than, well, everything, recently. Can I expect it to pay the bills? Absolutely not. I told my wife that maybe, if I’m successful at getting people to these new fonts and enough of them paying whatever they feel like, it can generate enough money to pay for health insurance. Imagine that.

A few years ago I pulled a lot of my commercial fonts offline, from my personal site and from vendors like Fontspring and MyFonts. I don’t really add things to those sites anymore for a few reasons, but I’m taking old favorites–like Furrow–and improving them to re-release here. There’s some stuff that I’m proud of that can be better, and is just sitting around. So, expect to see some of my older work, in better shape, here. Soon.

Why am I not including variable fonts here? Good question, since I’ve been making variable fonts for four years now. The simple answer is: using variable fonts anywhere outside of the web/CSS is a headache. Each application treats them a little differently or just doesn’t support them, period. Even Google Fonts (and I love them) hasn't figured it out completely (some of my fonts like Imbue and Gluten have variable axes that can't be implemented yet). So I’m enjoying a back-to-basics strategy now with static files.

But a big thing on this site that I’m proud of is the Freebies section. I have been giving things away for over ten years, and I don’t ever want to stop giving things away. I have as many future freebies in progress as I have future “paid” work. It is exciting, but I also need to eat. So expect a balance of both. Balance is great.

That about wraps it up, which is good because this post was getting long. The only other thing I'll say is that I now, for the first time, have an Instagram account dedicated to my work. Follow along: @tyfromtheinternet

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