Monotype just released its new Library Subscription, and it will cost you less than a Mermaid Caffe Latte per week…
Ok, I cheated already, It would be €299,99 (that is to say €8,34 monthly, or less than €2 weekly, you’re welcome for having me calculate that for you) only if you are committed to pay for a 3 years subscription in advance. If you prefer to pay monthly the fee goes up to 14,99/mo. More expensive but gives you the freedom to cancel the subscription anytime. Gosh, freedom, what a demanding word, I guess someone could argue that this freedom word plays well along the word oligopoly, and here we go with an embarrassing short‐circuit of language.
To be honest I am glad for this low price, still I can’t help myself but thinking about how this trend will impact on small independent type foundries that simply can’t afford such low prices for their beautifully crafted creations. Let’s face it: Google is offering a large (800+) selection of new fonts and some of them are classics already (Open Sans, Roboto, Montserrat…). Adobe is giving away basically for free a huge (5660+) selection of quality typefaces (included with Typekit in the Creative Cloud subscription). Monotype is making the must have catalog of typefaces affordable to anyone.
So, what scenario can we imagine? All non‐designer out there, who can’t see the difference between apostrophes and accents,* will keep on doing just fine using Arial, Verdana and downloading files from Dafont (not calling them typefaces, files sounds more accurate).
After all, according to BonFX, web safe fonts are still #1 in top 10,000 sites.
Young committed designers will likely pay for their Typekit and Monotype subscriptions. How many of the latter will be acute enough to keep an eye open and check what else is available? Typekit Marketplace does a good job showing great alternatives besides the choices included in the subscription. Fonts.com on the contrary pushes Monotype, Linotype, ITC, Bitstream and Ascender type libraries against other foundries. Even browsing The online font catalog itself Myfonts you have a hard time finding a list of all foundries listed, sure I couldn’t find one. Luckily people like the ones at typecache are tracking all type foundries online.
Anyway, let’s look at the bright side: assuming a given budget of x typodollars any savings for type gives you resources to buy more type, so after all this could really be good news. Now I just have to keep saying that to myself.
(*) Oh, and if you are the non‐designer out there, please read this