Introducing Future Fonts

Everything is in progress.

Lizy Gershenzon
Feb 27, 2018 · 6 min read

With a lot of hard work, hope, and love, we are very excited to open up our latest project, Future Fonts! It’s a new marketplace to shop experimental typefaces, as well as a community of designers who create and use typefaces. It’s a way to gain access to interesting typographic styles sooner, and help fund the long process type designers undertake.

What’s been really special as Future Fonts has taken shape is being a part of this talented, supportive, slightly rebellious crew of typeface designers. We are also so thankful for the design community’s enthusiasm towards us building it and pumped to see all these freakin’ awesome new typefaces! Here’s an overview of what it is all about.

A preview of the typefaces on 😍

The Freshest Type

Future Fonts is a collection of brand new typefaces that talented designers are currently working on, and will be continuing to update. This platform encourages designers to release workable versions of their typeface throughout the process, similar to how software versions are released. This makes new styles available sooner and helps fund a long, and therefore expensive, creative process. Since these typefaces are beyond fresh, they haven’t been overused yet in advertising campaigns or existing design work. They are all making their initial debut in to the design scene with Future Fonts.

Early Bird Pricing & Good Feels

Future Fonts also makes financial sense for both type designers and buyers. Without devaluing the work, you can get typefaces at a cheaper price. This is because they are still in progress and don’t cost as much as their final releases. As more work is completed and new versions are added, the price goes up. Early buyers lock in at the cheapest rate and get free updates along the way. It’s a win, win, with extra incentive to buy typefaces early.

Although we don’t require type designers to finish their project(s), we know from personal experience that community support, both moral and financial, helps boost designers to the finish line. We also built a way to contribute a few extra bucks, just to show love for a project or designer, and help them keep momentum.

Designer Feedback & Ownership

In addition to being a marketplace, Future Fonts is a platform for creative fundraising and early feedback. Buying one of these typeface helps fund its development, gives you a voice in which styles get made, and is a way for type designers to test if there’s an audience for their new idea. You can also comment on a project if you have a keen eye for letterforms or any helpful feedback that may better the project.

As independent designers, we understand how important it is to keep ownership and control of designs. That is why all the designers and foundries choose the price, manage the font files, and have their own license agreements — with no long term contracts from us. We built Future Fonts as a way to empower type designers with new tools and financial opportunities, minimizing risk and encouraging innovative design.

Each typeface has version notes so you know how far along the typeface is, and what to consider when designing with it. (See Cheee)

Understanding the Typeface Process

As an added benefit, Future Fonts is a valuable educational resource for beginners learning about typeface design. It gives more designers a front row seat into the process. With each new release there are version notes explaining how far along the typeface is, and tips on how to best use it. This transparency is helpful when using a typeface in progress. We hope it encourages more use of experimental type and inspires others to give typeface design a try, or at the very least, can help make the world of type a little less intimidating.

Discover Your New Favorite Type Designer

Future Fonts is more than just a type marketplace. It’s a growing community of independent type designers and foundries. Each Future Fonts designer was invited because of their track record of great work, fresh perspective, and openness to new ideas and technology. Plus, we want to help them make more money doing what they love. On launch, Future Fonts is excited to highlight the new work from Inga Plönnigs, Dave Coleman, Ryan Bugden, Rüdiger, Sun Helen Isdahl Kalvenes, Erik Marinovich, Acute Studio, Teo Tuominen, Jake Fleming, JazzMaType, OH no Type, and Scribble Tone with many more coming soon.

We will announce new designers and typefaces on @futurefonts, so stay updated.

Working With Type In Progress

Depending on the project’s needs, a typeface with a unique personality and style may be the highest priority. One example of how we’ve designed with an in-progress typeface at Scribble Tone is in the branding of Design Week Portland, aka DWP. We created the typeface Kicker for the DWP branding to add a sporty team spirit vibe with a slight nod to Portland’s neon signs.

Kicker started out as one inline weight with uppercase, numerals and punctuation. Initially it was used for the logotype, big numbers, and headlines. Only a very basic character set was needed to do its job of adding the DWP voice to hundreds of independently run events. We often use typefaces as foundational elements in our branding systems because of how valuable they are in adding personality and consistency across marketing materials.

Early stages of Kicker in use for Design Week Portland. Fyi, this year DWP is April 14–21, come visit!

Fast forward six years and we’re still working on the commercial release! Kicker is now available on Future Fonts with seven fun weights, including new outline, doubleline and hairline styles, as well as an extended character set. Kicker is useful in its current state and has been for a while, but there are new additions we’d still like to explore. Maybe most users won’t notice or need these changes, but they’re important to us, and were holding us up from a public release. This is exactly why we built Future Fonts: to give ourselves and others a way to release type designs as versions throughout the process, rather than waiting until the very end.

Strengthen Your Type Game

Future Fonts is a fresh voice in typeface design. It provides early access to cool, useful, and affordable fonts, and is a tool that encourages creativity and helps independent typeface designers fund personal projects. Future Fonts is a type community for designers, by designers, built to make each other’s work stronger. This is just the begining.

A Little About Us

Future Fonts is made by Lizy Gershenzon and Travis Kochel of Scribble Tone, with James Edmondson of OH no Type Co helping shape and grow the community.

Scribble Tone is a design studio in Portland, Oregon, known for designing experimental typefaces like FF Chartwell, and making digital products for creative and social communities. This past year we’ve been dedicated to creating personal projects like Future Fonts. We also recently launched Notch as a new community for game and sports players, and as a way to help photographers protect photos online. We hope you check them out.

OH no Type Co. is a type foundry in San Francisco that sells the chillest type, and serves as a friendly ambassador for the type design community. For some of James’ styles, see Hobeaux and Vulf Mono.

Both Travis and James also teach typeface design. Travis is currently an adjunct professor at Portland State University, James teaches Type at Cooper West.

Future Fonts

A creative community for type designers

Thanks to Travis Kochel

Lizy Gershenzon

Written by

Designer and Co-Founder @FutureFonts, @ScribbleTone, @Notch_ftw, and @EXIFco.

Future Fonts

A creative community for type designers

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