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Old 02-01-2013, 11:15 AM   #1
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Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: New York State
Posts: 268
Default Font marketing oddity

I subscribe to announcements from fonts.com of one-day sales, and occasionally I purchase something. Recently I bought Piekos FX, which is a bargain even at the regular price, and I've found it useful.

While browsing the site, I saw something that surprised me even more than many of the new typefaces tend to do. Font.com's list of best-selling typefaces includes Swiss 721.

Swiss 721, if you don't remember, is Bitstream's unlicensed copy of Helvetica. Fonts.com was started as a sales outlet for Agfa-Monotype and I don't think it offered Bitstream fonts until fairly recently. On the other hand, myfonts.com was started as a sales outlet for Bitstream.

I'm having a hard time understanding why people would be flocking to fonts.com to buy Swiss 721, especially when it was bundled with so many Corel products. Per font, it's cheaper than Linotype Helvetica, but not a lot cheaper.

Background: in the early days of digital type, Linotype had its library digitized by URW on terms that allowed URW to sell the outlines to other companies, and Linotype outlines from URW were the foundation of the Bitstream type library. Linotype, however, retained and protected its trademark names, so the Bitstream versions, for the most part, have descriptive names and numbers: Swiss 721, Humanist 777, and so forth.

The thumbnail below is Piekos FX.
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