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FEATURE AUGUST 10 , 2000
Q&A: Bitstream Looks for Font Designers

Quarterly program to expand Bitstream's library

by David Nagel
Executive Producer
[email protected]

Bitstream this week announced it's launching a new program to seek out font designs from new and established designers. The program, called "New Font Collection," is an effort to expand the company's library of 1,400 PostScript, TrueType and OpenType fonts. Bitstream says it's looking for text and display typefaces, as well as extended sets. The company says it will establish various royalty options with designers on an individual basis and provide designers with access to its network of worldwide resellers.

We had a chance to get some more information from Bitsteam spokesmen Bob Thomas, director of product management, Type & Technology Division; and Jim Lyles, manager of type technologies. Here's what they had to say.

Creative Mac: Why is Bitstream launching this program for new designers?

Bitstream: Well, first off, this program is not only for new designers but also for established designers. The Bitstream Typeface Library is now 19 years old and includes over 1,400 fonts in both TrueType and PostScript formats for the Macintosh, Windows, and Unix. We are launching this program to invigorate the Bitstream library with contemporary designs from around the world.

Creative Mac: Are you hoping to attract font designers who've traditionally designed for the shareware market?

Bitstream: Not necessarily. It's difficult to resell fonts that have been established as shareware fonts. Essentially, we are looking for good designs, whether or not they are from designers who have created shareware fonts.

Creative Mac: What benefits will this offer these shareware designers?

Bitstream: For anyone who submits a font to Bitstream, whether or not they are shareware designers, these are the benefits:

  • Publishing typeface designs with a foundry that has a reputation for quality and technical expertise;
  • Building typefaces in OpenType, TrueType, and PostScript formats;
  • Providing a variety of royalty options;
  • Providing access to a network of worldwide resellers.

Creative Mac: In terms of exclusivity, will this program require designers to design only for Bitstream for a period of time, or does exclusivity apply only to the fonts you decide to market?

Bitstream: One royalty option is to offer fonts exclusively through Bitstream, for which a font designers gets the highest royalty return.Other royalty options require only that the first year is exclusive; with these other options, the designer gets a higher royalty than in subsequent years. We believe that the first year will provide the most interest in the font precisely because it is new.

Creative Mac: Will you accept fonts from designers that are already being distributed through other channels, such as shareware sites? If so, how are you going to deal with that?

Bitstream: We'll definitely consider fonts sold through other sites; we won't exclude them. But unfortunately we can't commit R&D resources to fonts that are being given away for free.

Creative Mac: Could you elaborate on your selection criteria?

Bitstream: We have a committee made up of Bitstream professionals who review font submissions once per quarter, four times per year. We look for unique, legible designs that have been digitized. We look to see that the basic design of the font is carried throughout all the characters (e.g., uppercase and lowercase characters should be based on the same design motif).

Creative Mac: Can you offer any advice to the designers looking to enter? Any styles to stay away from?

Bitstream: Fonts should include all characters in the standard Windows and Macintosh character sets. There are no styles to stay away from. We are open to submissions of all styles.

For more information, visit http://www.bitstream.com/products/world/nfc.

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