Veer Says “Script Fonts Always Sell Better”

Written by Yves Peters on November 24, 2004

Upon receiving Veer’s Type of The Times e-mailing (November 9th) I was rather intrigued by the fact that their Top 5 sellers were all scripts. I was convinced until then that sans serifs and text faces generally were the top sellers at most type distributors. A perfect opportunity to ask Veer’s type man, Grant Hutchinson, for his thoughts on this. Imagine my surprise when he told me their entire Top 20 was comprised of nothing but scripts.

In terms of pure revenue and multi-seat licensing, the traditional text faces sell more. But in terms of unit sales (pure numbers) the more unique and personable display and script faces always sell better. This has been the case from Image Club through Adobe Studios through EyeWire.

Could it also be a sign of the times, a reaction to the overusage of “clean sans serifs”, just like the reason — on a basic user level — gazillions of end users apply Comic Sans as an alternative to the aseptic, “boring” Arial?

Scripts are especially hot right now, I think, due to the need for things that have a personal touch. A humanity to them, if you will. Plus, you just can’t get a lot of the faces that we are selling anywhere else. People haven’t seen them, and they want them.

Here’s the complete list:

  1. Stephanie Marie by Jason Walcott (Jukebox)
  2. Gizmo by Nick Cooke (G-Type)
  3. Miss Le Gatees by Alejandro Paul & Charles Bluemlein (Umbrella)
  4. Annabelle by Jason Walcott (Jukebox)
  5. Fenway Park by Jason Walcott (Jukebox)
  6. Cocktail Shaker by Stuart Sandler (Umbrella)
  7. EF Petras Script by Petra Beiße & Günther Flake (Elsner+Flake)
  8. Valentina Joy by Jason Walcott (Jukebox)
  9. Sudestada by Diego Giaccone & Alejandro Paul (Umbrella)
  10. Amorinda by Alejandro Paul & Angel Koziupa (Umbrella)
  11. Brisa by Alejandro Paul & Angel Koziupa (Umbrella)
  12. Zanzibar by Gabor Kothay (Fountain)
  13. Kon Tiki Enchanted by Jason Walcott (Jukebox)
  14. Goo Goo Gjoob by Andrew Smith (Letraset Fontek)
  15. Voluta Script Pro by Viktor Solt-Bittner (Adobe)
  16. Arcana Std Manuscript by Gabriel Martínez Meave (Adobe)
  17. Bickham Script Std by Richard Lipton (Adobe)
  18. Luxury Royale by Jason Walcott (Jukebox)
  19. Andantino by Jason Walcott (Jukebox)
  20. Scriptorama Hostess by Jason Walcott (Jukebox)

See also: The Serif is Dying

Yves Peters is a graphic designer / rock drummer / father of three who tries to be critical about typography without coming across as a snob. Previously columnist for Typographer.org and editor-in-chief for The FontFeed, he has found a new home on FontShop News. His ability to identify most typefaces on sight is utterly useless in daily life.

20 Comments

  1. 14 of those 20 are exclusive to Veer or difficult to find elsewhere. I think that might account, in part, for the fact that most other retailers are still reporting that sans faces dominate their bestseller lists.

  2. John Butler says:

    I notice the $79 Bickham Script Std is on that list. New buyers should instead pay $16 more and go straight to the just updated Bickham Script Pro, which is the most amazing example of Contextual Alternates you can buy. More detail at Adobe.

  3. Hrant says:

    Nice to see the list.
    Some of those are nice.

    Grant, an unrelated question: How well do your t-shirts sell?
    And/Or: How much does bundling shirts with font sales help?

    Also: Is “shape-fitting girly size” a standard industry term?
    And if so, could I see more pictures please?

    hhp

  4. I notice the $79 Bickham Script Std is on that list.

    The list is a compilation of sales over the past several months. To clarify things a bit, Bickham Script Pro became available on the Veer site only within the past month or so (a couple of weeks prior to it being available on the Adobe site, in fact). Otherwise, the Pro version would certainly have shown up on the list. I agree that the extra bit of coin gives you a far superior iteration of the family.

    How well do your t-shirts sell?

    Quite well, thank you very much.

    Shirts (and other custom wearables) are really one of those spur of the moment purchases that people make. Like buying chewing gum or breath mints at the grocery check out counter. If the price point is reasonable and they happen to be cool to look at, they sell themselves. The non-digital, custom merchandise is really a natural extension of what we do anyway.

    Is “shape-fitting girly size” a standard industry term?

    The term has been slightly paraphrased.

  5. Dan Reynolds says:

    Zapfino is number 7 on the Linotype top-ten chart, but number 1 on MyFonts.

  6. Armin says:

    One thing is for sure… Jason Walcott is getting some nice royalty checks.

    Well deserved.

  7. Troubleman says:

    Indeed – 8 out of 20 aint too shabby. ;) Sudtipos comes second with 4 entries, go Alejandro go!

  8. Karen Huang says:

    > Plus, you just can’t get a lot of the faces that we are selling anywhere else. People haven’t seen them, and they want them.

    That’s exactly what I was gonna say… Veer seems to have the exclusive to a lot of new / boutique foundry script faces that almost look handrawn. Whereas the bigger foundries only carry the overused staples.

    But even on Myfonts, the top selling fonts tend to be mostly display.

  9. Dan Reynolds says:

    >But even on Myfonts, the top selling fonts tend to be mostly display.

    Karen, at the moment (and it is usually this way, I think), sans serif text faces are leading the fonts list. In fact, of the top ten, there are only three display/script fonts.

    http://www.myfonts.com/bestsellers.html

    Script fonts may sell best at Veer, but not at MyFonts.

  10. Hrant says:

    > the top selling fonts tend
    > to be mostly display.

    Which is why text fonts (at least the well-made stuff) should sell for more than display fonts. They simply last a lot longer.

    hhp

  11. Karen says:

    > Karen, at the moment (and it is usually this way, I think), sans serif text faces are leading the fonts list. In fact, of the top ten, there are only three display/script fonts.

    Yeah, I guess, the “mostly display” thing was just the impression I got scrolling down the list. There isn’t a lot of bodytext / serif fonts on the top sellers list.

  12. Which is why text fonts (at least the well-made stuff) should sell for more than display fonts. They simply last a lot longer.

    Well-made fonts of any style or function should sell for more. I am continually surprised by how many quality designs (by talented designers) are practically given away.

  13. 42ndSSD says:

    Isn’t this really asking the question of who’s actually buying the fonts, and for what purpose? (Ok, yeah, yeah, I’m slow.)

    I suspect end lusers will cheerfully (willingly, slavishly) use a free Adobe font when they want a serif font. And those few radicals who are tired of using Arial or Comic Sans for a sans-serif will probably be looking for… Helvetica! (“Font Wars III: Revenge of the Linotron. The 70s are back and they’re fighting mad!”)

    Of course nothing truly says “kwalety” quite like that free homespun pi font, of which there are only three zillion or so. I’m thinking of writing an essay on the appropriate use of pi fonts in desktop publishing, with a focus on how scaled Amiga bitmap fonts can improve any electronic document.

    Quickly eliding over 50 other categories, that pretty much leaves script fonts. There aren’t many good free ones, and I’m pretty sure that’s an area where bad ones look… really, really bad, even to the untrained.

    There’s also more obvious visual variety; Zapfino is markedly different from Satisfaction, Corinthia or Crayola, but for some it takes a microscope and hours of study to tell Helvetica and Comic Sans apart.

  14. Hrant says:

    I hope you’re not making fun of the Amiga, dude.
    It was to computing what Hangul is to scripts.

    hhp

  15. 42ndSSD says:

    Aw, no, no insult intended; the Amiga is friend to millions, enemy of few. It’s just that somewhere around here I have a largish collection of elegantly crappy (crappily elegant?) bitmap pi fonts for the Amiga.

    I should’ve said something about the Sinclair ZX81 instead; nobody minds very much if I insult the lowly Sinclair.

  16. Hrant says:

    I once convinced a friend to buy a ZX81. After all, it was expandable to twice the memory of the computer I myself had back then (the original 8K PET), plus it had direct pixel addressing! Like you could draw graphs and stuff. Amazing. Even more amazing is that the guy is still my friend.

    hhp

  17. si says:

    > plus it had direct pixel addressing!

    That may be technically correct, but the graphics resolution was only 66 x 44 pixels (black and white) so made it rather limited for charts. Perhaps you’re thinking of the Sinclair Spectrum?

    Si

    Misspent youth = ZX81->VIC20->BBC Micro->Amstrad CPC->Toshiba MSX->C64->Atari ST etc.,

  18. Hrant says:

    No, it was a ZX81*. Were the dimensions so small? Did it use less screen area for graphics or was text also limited to that size? I don’t remember. BTW, one thing I do remember is that it had keyboard shortcuts for reserved words (like “print”), and I think these were encoded to save memory.

    * BTW, the total RAM (after expansion) was 17K, not 16. Huge difference of course.

    hhp

  19. This is veering (ha!) completely OT I realize, but you might be interested in the recent book Digital Retro by Gordon Laing. It’s sort of a photo-essay/history of the home computer era. It’s got a UK slant to it (lots of Amstrads and Orics and such), but it made enjoyable light reading for me over the last week. All my earliest computers were in it (ZX80, Atari 400, etc.) and it brought back lots of memories.

    I no longer have the ZX80, but I did pick up a ZX81 for free somewhere along the way. They both are about the size of a DVD case but squarer and about twice as thick. The ZX80 had 1k of RAM and 4k ROM and cost only $200. I sold it for $35 but kind of wish I’d kept it.

  20. si says:

    Here’s the spec…

    http://www.old-computers.com/museum/computer.asp?c=263&st=1

    oldcomputers.com is a great site.

    Si

Post a Comment

Comments at Typographica are moderated and copyedited, just like newspaper “Letters to the Editor”. Abusive or off-topic comments are not published. We appreciate compliments, but don’t publish them unless they add to the dialog. Thank you!