The Designers Foundry (TDF) is a hand-picked international team of type designers. We caught up with Founder, Daniel McQueen.
What was the reason behind the name change from Ten Dollar Fonts to The Designers Foundry?
It wasn't a decision we took lightly, I could speak on this at some length, but the short answer is that we had outgrown the name 'Ten Dollar Fonts'. It was simply too limiting for our future ambitions and font releases.
Can you elaborate on what your future ambitions are?
As usual we plan to continue working with existing and new designers on typefaces, we plan to produce more physical goods, experiment with font release strategies, develop additional innovations for font demoing and my favourite of the lot, have a TDF presence at more type / graphic design conferences around the world.
What's the concept behind The Designers Foundry brand identity?
The idea behind the brand is that TDF is a global foundry, with designers from all around the globe. The colons breaking up the letters in the logo replicate a (world) clock. The full styling of the brand is simplistic and bright, playing with circles at various scales and type in duotone settings + a 'unique' language/tone of voice for our specimens / type samples. We haven't yet released anything that is very brand heavy, besides our sold out sampler pack.
How important do you think a strong brand identity is for a type foundry such as yourselves?
Very important. I think without it, you'd get lost amongst the masses and essentially appear as a human-less machine churning out fonts. Building a strong brand and also having a high quality social media presence for a foundry is key to connecting with your audience, it gives them something to interact and relate to, that's more than just your fonts.
Where do you start when creating a new typeface? Where do you look for inspiration?
Inspiration can come from anywhere really, I know that sounds typical and somewhat lame, but it's true. Type is everywhere, so it's something I'm constantly scrutinising, questioning and appreciating, which leads to the odd inspirational doodle / iPhone snap. From there if I'm inspired enough it can lead to creating some type.
Your collection features a diverse range of fonts, do you have any favourites and if so, why?
It changes all the time, but right now it's got to be Atiza Text. It's been in production since 2013 and watching Pablo work on it for so long, considering every possible aspect has been very impressive, I've grown very attached to it! I'm really looking forward to seeing some examples of it in use.
Why do you choose to price your fonts so they are accessible to all designers?
Being accessibly priced means more people are able to use our fonts, we don't want to exclude anyone from our font collection, so affordability is key to achieving this. Our customers range from students, freelances, studios and global corporations licensing in bulk, so it all levels out. It's a model that has works for us over the past three and a bit years, we're at a stage now where some of our designers consistently earn liveable incomes.
You recently released a collaborative poster with Anthony Burrill for your typeface 'Averta'. How did that collaboration come about and why did you feel Anthony was the right designer to do it?
For this project we really wanted to do something different from a regular specimen poster, which most of the time end up in the bottom draw, never to see the light of day again. We wanted to produce something people would keep out on display. We wanted to create a specimen that had an emotional connection and was desirable, even by those who wouldn't normally consider ordering a type specimen and it also had to be easy and affordable to produce on a large scale... Attention grabbing, desirable, emotional connections and low cost all seems like some wanky unreal request all designers dread right? Ha!
So we came up with the idea to collaborate with Anthony, who would bring the desirable + emotional connection factor to the poster. I had exchanged emails with him in the past, so he was familiar with TDF which helped. I sent off a quick email with my proposal and he accepted. To achieve affordability, we opted for an A2 poster, offset printed with a single PMS colour on 120gsm stock, which was kindly supplied for free by B&F Papers. We managed to get the whole job done in about 2 weeks.
We've had a great response to the posters, we've sent out hundreds of them so far and seen lots of photos of them hanging in peoples homes and workplaces.