Supporting FontStruct: Introducing FS Patrons
FontStruct – our website, our modular font editor – has always been free to use, and FontStruct will remain free to use for everyone.
Thanks to our generous sponsors, past and present (thank you Glyphs App!), and to our advertisers, we have secure funding to keep the bricks flowing through 2021 and beyond.
But, as this blog post hopes to explain, we have reached a point where we need to look at how the project supports itself financially, in order to keep moving forward.
Today, to try and address our funding challenge, we’re introducing a new micro-sponsorship scheme called “FS Patrons”.
By contributing a small sum (5€ / month, or 55€ annually) you can become what we’re calling an “FS Patron”.
Sold already?! You can subscribe here. Unsure? Read on …
The benefits of being an FS Patron
As an FS Patron, aside from revelling in the happy knowledge that you are directly supporting the FontStruct, you will receive a few tangible and guaranteed benefits:
- No adverts
- No nag-screens (We are introducing these for certain FontStruct pages. They will remind you about FS Patrons. You will notice them soon).
- Optionally, an initimable badge of honour for your avatar.
We also plan to reserve some new features exclusively for Patrons.
For example, from today, we will be offering new download settings, including the option of OpenType CFF downloads, for Patrons only (you can read more about this exciting development in a separate blog post).
As time goes on, and as additional new features are added, we hope that exclusive features will be opened up to the rest of the community. In this way, “FS Patrons” is intended to function as a kind of early-access/preview programme. You may be familiar with this kind of model if you use “Patreon” – where creators release material exclusively and early to their patrons, before a subsequent public release.
Why does FontStruct need FS Patrons?
FontStruct is busy all year-round, 24/7, with FontStructors from all around the globe: from school and college students to budding amateur typographers and established designers.
Browsing through the amazing archive of modular typography that’s accumulated in the gallery is a daily joy. We are boundlessly proud of everything that the FontStruct community has achieved over the last 12+ years.
We have welcomed over 1.5 million registered users to the site, and there are over 1.8 million FontStructions great and small adorning the database. That’s a total of almost 50 million glyphs!
– These are some quite big numbers – A great crowd of people, and a great heap of data to administer and care for.
For the FontStruct staff there are always support mails waiting for an answer, servers to maintain and content to moderate. We have hosting and CDN bills to pay. We have bugs to fix.
In an ideal world, we would not only busy ourselves with maintenance and support. We would also spend time designing, developing and delivering new features, improving our users’ experience, writing new blog posts, updating our documentation, running competitions and investing time in moderating site content. We are doing all these things – but, because of our very limited resources, we can only do so slowly and patchily.
The truth is that the “FontStruct Staff” does not really exist. While FontStruct has many kind friends who continue to help and support us in one way or another, and of course there is the wonderful “we” of the FontStructor community, there is no real “we” here at FontStruct towers. Since 2010, I (Rob Meek) have run FontStruct as a personal project from wherever I am, usually from a room in my flat. I’m sitting there now on a late Sunday afternoon, writing this blog post, having spent most of the day so far making some very silly pictures of imaginary brick harvests.
But FontStruct is not a one-person show. It’s less than that. Because FontStruct brings in no significant revenue, and in order to actually pay the bills, I need to spend the majority of my time doing work that has nothing directly to do with FontStruct. For example, working as the lead developer for the wonderful Fonts In Use, as well as for the excellent new type foundry Fontwerk. I also regularily work freelance for the design agency CDLX. – These are all great jobs which I enjoy but I have other clients as well and I could happily drop some of them. – So, in reality, the human resources available to this project are very thin indeed.
I’d like to work more for FontStruct, more frequently and I’d like to be paid for some of it. That’s why I’m launching “FS Patrons”.
But don’t worry!
All things considered, with or without “FS Patrons”, our project remains healthy. Technically we are in a reasonable place, and we will continue to manage well with the limited funding we currently enjoy. Personally I continue to love most of the work I am able to do on the project, so I’m not going to walk away …
… but, given more funding, I would be able to dedicate some more time to FontStruct, and work on more new features, such as, for example:
- improving the way we present character sets
- extending unicode support
- adding layers
- supporting colour fonts
- supporting custom bricks
- supporting some OpenType features
- adding real support for non-latin scripts
- sorting out the abysmal gallery search
- updating the site design
– All these things will take a long time to implement, with or without additional funding, but your support can help to accelerate the process.
So, if you’d like and if you can (I know times are tough for many!), please consider becoming an FS Patron.
Founder and Lead Developer of FontStruct.
One Last Thing
If you haven’t done so yet, please read about our new OpenType download feature, exclusive to FS Patrons.