How much would you pay for your favorite font? $5? $10? How about $5,000? That is how much it costs to buy the entire family of “Lexicon” typefaces. Designed by Dutch type designer Bram de Does, Lexicon is one of two fonts he designed in his career. Lexicon took a total of three years to finish–was he studying other typefaces during this time in order to differentiate Lexicon, was he super lazy with his practice, or was he just a complete perfectionist?? Published back in 1902, this font has acquired fame not only for its “nuanced perfection,” but also for its hefty price tag. The marketing strategy for such a typeface is to tailor it towards upscale companies who can afford to buy Lexicon because it is on brand. Lexicon is not being featured in your everyday magazines or clothing companies, but that’s the point- the product may be more the rarity than the letters themselves. Lexicon has been used in Van Dale’s dictionary, the Dutch version of the New York Times, NRC Handelsblad, and a handful of bibles. With a user base that sublime, Lexicon becomes its own luxury. It may also be a model for how hand-drawn typefaces must be priced in the future. With so many free fonts available, and resources like TypeWolfe’s free font thesaurus which details pretty much any paid font to a free alternative, the font industry is increasingly becoming more and more difficult to make a profit in. And with so many different fonts out there, the likelihood that yours will be used by many platforms is increasingly becoming slimmer. So maybe Bram de Does had it right over a century ago–spend a lifetime on two fonts that will reach a specific and small number of users.
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