It might not be something we chat about in polite company, but we all have favourite fonts that we tend to remain doggedly loyal to. However, occasionally everyone feels a need for something fresh that none of the existing typefaces quite achieves – and that's when creating your own typeface could be the answer.
In my case, the result was Primary Sans, which was developed during my BA (Hons) in graphic design. I adore typography, and had always wanted to create my own font. Recognising a gap in the market for a legible, playful, child-friendly typeface gave me the perfect opportunity to experiment.
I wanted to produce a typeface that expressed the idea that writing and reading could be enjoyable, so a solid font with no distracting serifs seemed most appropriate. I created a one-weight typeface, comprising upper and lower case Latin characters.
Primary Sans was developed using Glyphs, which has similar commands to Illustrator. You can create and scale your font as individual vectors in Illustrator, and then go on to apply kerning to each letter.
After completing the preliminary version of Primary Sans, I uploaded it onto my Behance profile. Initially, I allowed people to download the font in return for a tweet or Facebook share, but then I received a message from my hosting service – my website had exceeded the permitted monthly traffic volume in less than a day, all because of Primary Sans. I couldn't quite believe it, and I posted a comment inviting people to email me if they were still interested in downloading Primary Sans. I received more than 300 emails, from both individuals and companies.
At this point, I had to consider attaching a fee. Many current typefaces are available to download for free, but if you've made the effort to create a font and hope to pursue a career in this field, it's essential to charge for it if you can. A customer who is willing to pay for a typeface will appreciate it more, and arguably be more likely to actually make use of it.
I wanted Primary Sans to remain widely accessible, so attached a price of just £1 for personal or student use, and £10 for commercial use by professionals and companies. Adding a PayPal button to my website provided a bit more security, and allowed me to identify my customers and where they're located.
Some other options for selling typefaces online include the Lost Type Co-Op and Gumroad, both of which permit buyers to select a price that they regard as fair. This allows you to assess an average selling price, which can be crucial if you intend to make and sell more typefaces in future.
Since relaunching Primary Sans as a payable font, I've received over 250 downloads and it's exceeded 17,000 views on Behance. All in all it's been a pretty amazing journey, and I've learnt a lot from the experience.
Words: Georgia Roussos
Georgia Roussos is a graphic designer and typographer, and recent graduate from Plymouth College of Art, where she developed her own typeface – Primary Sans – while studying graphic design. She enjoys tactile print processes, and is inspired by random lettering on old shop signs.
This article originally appeared in Computer Arts issue 219
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Have you profited from Behance? Tell us in the comments!