Corbis Buys Veer, Whither the Fonts?

Written by Stephen Coles on November 6, 2007

I can only find one source at the moment, but it looks like Corbis bought Veer today. This is more stock photo than type industry news, because imagery makes up the bulk of Veer’s sales. I wonder what this will mean for their independence which has propelled them into such success over the last few years. But more importantly for our readers: what is the future of fonts at Veer?

According to the report by The Stock Asylum:

Corbis said the acquisition advances a “strategic marker approach to establish a network of brands to serve different types of customers and accelerate its growth in the commercial space.”

Oh, that clears it up.

It’s no secret that digital type is a not a major money maker. Large organizations like Adobe have gradually shrunk their type activity since the booming ’90s, blaming low profit margins as a cause. This decade has belonged to the independent foundry and lean, innovative resellers like Veer, FontShop, and MyFonts.

Veer has no in-house type design team, as far as I’m aware. So the overhead in the fonts department, is assumedly low. To the designers and buyers of Veer fonts, this news is hopefully benign. But one wonders if a mother-company like Corbis will be down with all the elaborate printed typographic goodies which has made Veer a designer favorite.

Update: Corbis has posted their press release, a masterpiece of buzzphrases and opacity. It does state that “the companies will maintain distinct customer propositions and leverage cross-selling opportunities for Corbis’ industry-leading Rights Services and Veer’s discerning type face collections.”

Update: In a story for PDN, Daryl Lang further confirms that the acquisition won’t make much of a difference to the consumer.

Thanks to Jürgen Siebert for the tip.
See also: Veer Scripts : Veer Acquires Walcott Fonts : Veer Launch

8 Comments

  1. Chip Cullen says:

    Oh my dear god. I couldn’t get through the first paragraph of that press release. “a masterpiece of buzzphrases and opacity” indeed.

  2. JeffreyK says:

    I like that the press release features the phrase “type face,” as two separate words, signaling both companies’ understanding of and continued commitment to fine typography. :P

  3. I’ve always appreciated Veer’s independent streak regarding type and its consistent acquisition of new fonts. Veer sets the bar high with its smart interface, its good search tools, and its willingness to combine and suggest image and font combinations in its marketing materials. Corbis, in my mind, is not a designer-friendly company.

  4. Stuart Sandler says:

    If we are looking at a case of history repeating itself, Stephen, can you recount the fates of Image Club and Eyewire?

  5. Charles says:

    The story “Corbis Buys Veer” is not completely accurate. Corbis is solely owned by Bill Gates. A more accurate headline would be “Bill Gates Assimilates Veer.” If you want to speculate on how this will go for Veer, look at other small companies assimilated by Microsoft, like Atomic Games (now defunct).

  6. Stuart – Grant Hutchinson would be a much better man to tell that story, and he did tell a bit already. Fascinating that his first company went to Getty and his second goes to Corbis.

  7. The usual question I have in mind about the designers/foundries who published their fonts via Veer.

    What happening if they don’t want to continue with the new entity? This possibility is on the original contract? etc.

    Does the new entity will offer some options to them?

  8. Although I can’t comment on the aforementioned transaction, other than … it’s all good … I did want to offer one clarification regarding Stephen previous comment. The first company – Image Club – went to Aldus, itself consumed later that year by Adobe. EyeWire was actually the second company, Veer the third.

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