Sayonara 23, welcome 24

Marmite Defontes newsletter #9

Sayonara 23, welcome 24

I’m happy to close 2023 by looking at what I was able to do with the foundry this year, but most importantly looking at what is coming next.

The menu:

  • Website Updates
  • Six Months (tiny) Report and Foresights
  • 🎟️ For Paid Subscribers: New Typeface Speed Run
  • Bye-Bye Substack!
  • Triple Dose of Music!

Website Updates

I took some time to make some updates to the website. Some updates are just typos or invisible tweaks. But two updates deserve explanations.

I added a “Technical information” section at the bottom of the detail pages, to display information like versions, language support, publication date, etc.

The more visible update is a new “Work in Progress Fonts” page, where I can share the typefaces I’m currently working on. You can find details on the expected styles and production statuses. I took my inspiration from what Future Fonts is doing for a bunch of years now. Interestingly enough, I saw other foundries sharing coming fonts and typefaces that are “under construction”. Let’s not call this a 2024 trend, but it makes total sense teasing on these ongoing works. First to prepare the official release, then to test the interest and maybe gather feedback from designers.

Six Months (tiny) Report and Foresights

Marmite Defontes is still very young business-wise. So it might be too early to issue a full report. But here goes a couple of information and lessons I learned in 2023.

The good news is revenues cover costs. That is business 101 stuff, but I’m glad I was able to reach this stage after 6 months.

Costs and Revenues
My technical cost breakdown is straightforward: domain name, Framer subscription and Fontdue subscription and fees (plus a pinch of Substack fees). I did not include licences for Glyphs or plugins as I paid those before 2023. As for the revenue split, it is fairly simple: 65% from direct sales and 35% from Substack paid subscribers.

I was sharing some learning on Twixter a couple of weeks ago with Paul Hanslow from Tandem Type. Paul was asking about people selling exclusively on their website.

Summarising my thoughts:

  • I want to be in control of the distribution of my typefaces.
  • One channel of distribution means one source for the font software (one provider for the customers).
  • I have the indie state of mind, so it makes total sense to self-publish my fonts and not rely on big corporation platforms.
  • The cut from resellers is rarely justified (30% to 50%).
  • I’ve totally underestimated the communication and marketing effort. To be improved next year.
  • Building your own brand is a very exciting and fulfilling experience, leveraging on my previous jobs to grow my own product line feels great!
  • Having to monitor only one platform is easy.
  • I’m very happy with using Cabin for analytics. It is very effective and the free plan is more than enough for my current use.
  • I won’t hesitate to ask for help again. Having people around to get feedback, to ask how you are making progress, to figure things out for the website, etc. Special thanks to my friend Gilles helping me with code for releasing the website in July. And to my friend Jérémie for testing and reporting bugs. You both rock!
  • It takes time & it is OK.

Next year
I expect things to change next year. I run Marmite Defontes to publish fonts and sell licences. So I’m going to work toward making direct sales at least 85% of the revenues (if not more). I’m really happy and truly thankful to people supporting this project through the patron approach. It was an amazing motivation before the launch. And I’m sure it can still be part of the journey. However my goal is not to be a content creator and be sponsored to do that. So next year I’m gonna be focusing on new typefaces releases and promoting them. I want to reach more design studios and branding agencies. Being more consistent on social media publications will definitely help with that. If you have ideas and suggestions for me, my inbox is waiting for you:

Making and selling fonts is a side activity for me right now. I’ll be working at making sure it remains fun, fulfilling and sustainable.

🎟️ For Paid Subscribers: New Typeface Speed Run

Bye-Bye Substack!

Substack got its ups and downs since it launched. Recently, the founding and management team had an opportunity to stand for more than money, aka principles. But they didn’t. Instead they stated it was OK for them to host and get money from far right and Nazi writers. I’ll pass.

Next post from Marmite Defontes will come from somewhere else. I’ll try to make the move as seamless as possible.

Triple Dose of Music!

Not one, not two, but three music suggestions in this edition.

1️⃣ Recently, I’ve been digging content on the rise and fall, and rise again of Daniel Dumile, aka MF Doom. My suggestion is the “Crosshairs” track from the album “The Mouse and the Mask” (2005).

2️⃣ The second suggestion is linked to MF Doom as it’s the track where the sample is coming from. Funny enough, it was released in 1971, the year Daniel Dumile was born. Here is “Thoughtful Popper” by Don Harper. Sparky guitar and smooth bass for your delight.

3️⃣ As a third sonic nudge, please enjoy a live session from yeule at KEXP radio. Same pattern as the last couple of newsletters: a bunch of tracks and an interview. Enjoy the grunge electro-pop from yeule.

That’s a wrap for 2023. Talk to you, very soon!


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