Since I started this whole font design + crafting resources thing, I’ve been asked a few times where I sell my items and what my experiences have been. It’s also a question that pops up pretty frequently in the groups that I’m in. People seem to have mixed responses about where to sell, how the experience is, and so on. I thought it might be helpful to anyone else following the same path — or considering opening up shop — to have a little bit of info as far as selling commercial use fonts!
I do think it’s worth noting that your experiences may be totally different than mine, or the next guy’s. My experiences are totally my own, so you’ll have to make your own decision as it relates to whether or not you want to sell with any given marketplace.
Full Disclosure: I am affiliated with the entities listed below, but no one asked me to write about their platform. This post is entirely informational for any other designers that are looking to sell their products and want firsthand, honest experiences from someone who has listed their items with these companies/selling platforms.
Most Recent Update August 2022 – The original post was written in August 2019. While much of the information provided could have changed, I’ve opted to leave the original post, while making additions to each marketplace per my continued experiences! I’ve labeled any additions with the date! Please consider this when deciding what is best for you.
Table of Contents
(Click on any one of the below to be taken to that section automatically, or really do your homework by reading all of ’em!)
My Own Website
Process to Open Shop: Um, well, I built a website. With a little bit of my hubby’s help. No, really, I did most of it on my own and called on him to fix the things I couldn’t figure out how to fix.
Cost: Aside from domain registration, hosting, and the percentage that is taken by your payment processors, that’s about it. It’s typically around $0.25 + 3% per transaction.
Positives: FULL & COMPLETE CONTROL. This is my favorite.
Negatives: You actually have to drive traffic to your website for there to even be the possibility of a sale. My website sales are not consistent (yet) but I hope that over the next few years, this little side gig of mine will be a full time gig.
Other Random Info: One of the things I totally dig about my own website is that my hubby helped me with some pretty cool stuff. My All-Inclusive Bundle, for example — he’s got it set up so that whenever I replace my downloadable file, I can push out an e-mail to everyone that has purchased my bundle to let them know that there’s a new addition! He’s also figured out how to make it so that people can preview my fonts by typing into a box. We’re working on how to best integrate this feature.
October 2020 Update: While my website is not a massive earner, things are looking up! I spent a bit (a LOT) of time adding individual SVG offerings to my website, and the variety seems to attract more customers. I’m happy with the progress, and hope to see more.
April 2021 Update: After some drama-rama stemming from Etsy (read more on that in my Etsy heading) I upped my SEO game on my website with the help of my hubs. So far, so good – my website is performing better, but as far as revenue goes, I have a long way before it replaces or exceeds what Etsy has done for me.
February 2022 Update: All is still well on the website front. The SEO work that I referenced in April 2021 has been helpful in gaining more consistent sales. I hope to continue seeing this trend upward!
Process to Open Shop: For Creative Market, you need to apply to have a shop. Currently, the process is that you need to provide somewhat of a portfolio — whether it’s your Insta account where you show your artwork / items you design, your website, or another platform you sell on. When I opened my shop a few years back, it didn’t take long for them to approve my shop, but it does seem like they require more than just a few images as a portfolio. They may be more selective these days — I’ve seen some extremely talented individuals quite dejected because they didn’t get accepted.
Cost: There’s no cost to open a shop on CM, but they take a percentage of each sale. I used to annotate which percentage it was here, but it has changed so much over the last few years that I can’t be certain my information is correct at any given time. Please read the most recent update(s) below for more info!
Positives: You set your own prices on CM, and you also maintain control over your products, so you can go in any time to make adjustments, or remove a product all together.
Negatives: Just my opinion here — I think that CM tends to feature individuals more readily that have shown they will continually make money. It’s a business thing — CM needs to make bucks, too, so I get it. It’s just frustrating sometimes to know that you have a badass product, and it gets passed over in favor of someone a little more popular. It can be discouraging, but I’m choosing to use this as motivation to better myself and my offerings.
In addition, competition is pretty stiff. There are a ton of cursive fonts, rustic fonts…anything you can imagine! But, it’s also motivating and inspiring, so it’s not a total negative.
Other Random Info: CM offers a pretty cool affiliate program, which I participate in and (I think) get paid decently for, with minimal effort. I like to pin fonts + design resources, so when I do, I make sure I use my affiliate link. In short, if someone clicks your affiliate link, and then opens an account with CM, you get paid 10% of anything they purchase for an entire year.
All I do is pin whenever I see something that catches my eye and I think other folks will like it, or use my affiliate link any time I mention Creative Market — I’ve been an affiliate for about a year and a half and have made almost $2k … yes, just from pinning or using my affiliate link.
CM also recently opened up Creative Market Pro, which is geared a little more toward graphic design companies with more employees. It includes a lot of the most popular design resources from really talented artists. Maybe one day, I’ll get my invite there. 😉
September 2019 Addition: Can we take a moment to address the really poor decisions Creative Market has made as of late?
For starters, the licensing snafus have abounded from CM. For many products (like graphics), people are now forced to choose personal or commercial licensing, and CM has forced shop owners to increase pricing on commercial licensing by a specific percentage.
CM has also changed font licensing. Thankfully, I do think they listened to us font designers just a smidge and backed away from the personal/commercial differentiation. Now, purchasers are forced to choose between desktop and webfont licensing. (For me, personally, I’ve always included webfont usage for the license holder or for one client they’re serving.) There are also other larger licensing options that CM previously told purchasers to contact the individual shop owner about.
No one seems to be happy with the licensing changes when it used to be so.freaking.simple before. Some shop owners have jumped ship and refuse to list new products there, and others are clenching pretty hard because these changes have really messed with their livelihoods.
THEN, CM sent out an e-mail to shop owners letting them know that they’re pushing out auto-pricing so that we don’t have stress over how to price our items. (I’m sorry, is that actually a thing????) This roll-out was basically forced unless you went in to your settings and clicked “opt out.” In short, they want to auto-price your items based on availability, trends, demand, etc. so that you can make the most money (read: so that CM can make the most off of you). Your pricing could vary day to day, or even by the time of day. It seems dishonest and shady, and it doesn’t make your customers trust you if they see your pricing always going up and down.
Me? I opted out. I might be using CM’s platform, but there’s only so much control I’m willing to give over what I’ve created.
October 2020 Update: On some days, it seems like CM has their shit together, and on other days not so much! I will say that CM is looking up for me, at this point, and a lot of the weird decisions that have been made seem to be phasing out a smidge. I think that CM is still looking for ways to maximize their earnings, which will often put the creator in a tough position to conform to their requirements, or to make the decision to abandon CM.
As of October 2020, the “Certified” badges have long been gone.
The earnings have dropped from 70% to 60% for shop owners.
CM mentioned that they changed up their affiliate program to give affiliates a better chance at earning, as well as enabling shop owners to see 70% earnings if they were the ones that referred the sale. It seems like a bit of a bandaid to soothe the butthurt that their decisions have caused. For a person like me, I can’t afford the time to continually share links to build an affiliate account, though the occasional few bucks here & there is nice.
Auto-pricing is still a thing, which I’ve opted out of and don’t really see ever opting in to.
Licensing is the same as it was in September 2019. I’ve seen a few webfont sales (as opposed to desktop) but they’re few & far between. I’m still not certain why the changes happened whenever everyone seemed to be content with a singular license, and contacting the shop owner for anything outside the license…apart from CM’s greediness.
CM is also experimenting with promoted listings — basically, the shop owner pays to have their product in a top spot, hoping to gain some visibility and sales. I think it’s an option that is not yet available to all shop owners. I did apply to be a part of this program, but have not heard anything. I figured it was worth a shot, and if it didn’t pan out, I wouldn’t pay for anything further.
For all of the negativity that is there for CM, my earnings have improved quite a bit over the last year, and I’ve cliched some of the top spots for script fonts & overall font offerings — my Handlettered Font Bundle seems to be to bee’s knees.
My biggest wish for CM is that they pick a lane and stay in it. It’s been very stressful for shop owners to have to contend with all of the changes that sort of got forced on all of us, threatening our livelihoods.
April 2021 Update: Creative Market has been going well. Somehow, I’ve managed to float around in top spots under certain headings, but I don’t know for sure that it impacts my earnings – even on the days that my best-selling product falls to other spots, I still do well.
It appears that CM has backed off of changing things up too much, all at once, so I’m just rolling with it.
August 2022 Update: More CM changes over the last few months, including membership stuff and a new free goods program. About the time that they changed everything, my sales tanked massively. I went from consistent sales each day to crickets. CM is now taking a larger percentage of sales, as well, which has affected how much I’m earning. Currently, they take 50% of each sale unless you have referred the buyer to your shop through an affiliate link, and they purchase within a specified window of time.
My two cents? It would be great if CM just went back to the way they used to do things without all of this fancy crap they’re pulling. CM used to be a great platform to sell on, but their growth (or hope for growth) has made it not quite as appealing as it once was.
Since I have very little control over what gets served up & why, I’ve tried my best not to worry about it too much. It has been a smidge better this month, but CM is no longer something I can count on as a decent chunk of earnings. One cool thing that I have experienced, though, are people/entities purchasing multiple seats for single fonts.
Process to Open Shop: All you need to do is click the button to open a shop! Easy peasy.
Cost: Etsy charges $.20 per listing that you add, and each listing is active for four months. At the end of the four months, you can renew your listing for another two dimes. Any time your item sells, you have the option to renew for another $.20, as well. If you have it set to auto-renew, it’ll take care of that for you. For digital products, this is probably a good idea so that you can continually sell, rather than having to renew something after someone purchases.
Etsy also charges a commission (a 5% transaction fee), and uses standard payment processing fees (3% + $.025.)
It sounds complicated, but at the end of the day, it’s not really all that much. It’s the cost of doing business, and having your product in a marketplace that sees quite a bit of traffic.
Positives: Etsy is a super well-known platform, and they see a lot of traffic, like I just mentioned. For a font designer, or someone that makes design resources or items for crafters (like SVGs), it’s a really great place to be. I don’t see millions of dollars in sales (if only!!) but I do see at least a few sales a day, whether it’s a $2 SVG or a $18 font bundle. It’s relatively hands-off once the item is listed, and I set my items to auto renew.
I’ve heard that unless you have an existing shop, selling fonts is difficult on Etsy because you spend more time trying to make it happen than actually making sales, but I think it’s not entirely accurate. I’ve had a pretty good experience with Etsy, but my expectations weren’t super high, either. For me, it was just another place to put my stuff. With the emergence of so many crafty hobbies — I’m looking at you, Cricut-ers — people are keen to spend a little on SVGs or fonts that match what their vision is. Fonts for Cricut and fonts for Silhouette are some of my best-sellers on Etsy.
Negatives: Not a negative about the platform, but rather about who purchases what. In my experiences, I get A LOT of questions about what I offer. I find that a lot of customers don’t do their reading and research ahead of time, and purchase things that they don’t know how to use. I’ll put it bluntly: if you don’t know how to access OpenType features, or you don’t have software to do so, you shouldn’t buy my fonts. Because it’s not readily apparent to individuals that don’t know, they approach it from a “You did me wrong!” angle or a “You sold me a faulty product, gimme a refund!”
Typically, a little explaining does the trick, and people wind up happy with what they purchased. Fair warning, though, you will need to answer more questions on Etsy because a lot of the folks that purchase here are not professional designers, and are more hobbyists or crafters that don’t necessarily spend all day in Illustrator looking at a glyphs panel. If you’re happy to answer their questions in order to gain their positive feedback, you’re golden! If you’d rather not answer the questions, Etsy might not be for you.
Other Random Info: Etsy recently released their first paid account option this past summer. I am not currently utilizing this option on my BeckMcCormick.etsy.com shop, but I am over on Autumn Lane, because I was curious about it. I don’t have any negatives to report, nor do I have any positives. The changes for us — digital product sellers — weren’t anything to write home about. I am, however, very curious about their next level of account being released next year, which should include more analytics.
October 2020 Update: Earlier this year, Etsy transitioned back to regular ol’ Etsy promoted listings. Prior to this, they lumped advertising in with Google and other platforms. For some shops, it meant that they had to turn off their advertising entirely, as they found it too costly without the appropriate results. I didn’t notice an issue with it with my font + SVG shop, but there were definitely issues with Autumn Lane Paperie on Etsy during that period of time that Promoted Listings were no longer an option. Thankfully, Etsy brought them back after being begged by a ton of shop owners. All is good in Etsy land, currently.
April 2021 Update: Shit got wild on Etsy in February, y’all, and I don’t mean in a good way. Long story short, I had three false infringement claims filed against my shop in the span of two days. Whoever it was picked off my featured listings, and then the two other claims against me picked off the next listings shown in my shop — all handlettered fonts & SVGs, and nothing infringe-y about it. Their examples of the authorized work linked out to my own Pinterest board, and two other random Pinterest accounts. Oh, and they used burner, disposable email addresses. The amount of bogus is obscene.
I fought a losing battle, basically. Etsy Legal ignored every email I sent, despite having absolutely, beyond the shadow of a doubt proof, that the claims were false. The poor customer service reps on chat know who I am now, because I wrote in every single day. Phone calls were fruitless.
So here’s the summary – and it’s something that we all know – if you’re selling on another platform (as in…not your own website) you are 100% subject to the way they lay the rules out. I had to counter the claim, and wait 10 business days to bring my listings out of Etsy jail. Even though I had proof, it didn’t matter and it seems like Etsy Legal is really only in it to protect themselves and not shop owners. I lost thousands of dollars over this, because someone got their jollies filing false claims. I know that I’m not the only one that experienced this around that time, either, so I am a bit surprised that Etsy didn’t do more or try to vet any of the claims submitted…but, y’all, it is what it is.
I’ve taken some steps and extra precautions to hopefully avoid this or at least make it better if (when) this happens again. Etsy is a huge money-maker for me, and this was nothing more than a wake-up call that I need to up my own website game so that I’m not relying wholly on someone else’s platform to make my money.
Process to Open Shop: All you need to do is go here: https://thehungryjpeg.com/open-a-store/
Cost: There’s no cost to start a shop; The Hungry JPEG will keep 30% of your sale.
Positives: I initially decided to open up a shop with THJ after being approached to participate in a bundle. I probably have a different view of bundles than a lot of other designers do, and that’s ok.
My thought? I started designing fonts, first because I wanted to, and second, because I had a need/wish to earn passive income. Don’t get me wrong — I love the work I do at Autumn Lane Paperie, but who doesn’t want to have income that they do something ONCE for, and get paid continually?
Once the font is done, I list it, and I make money without having to do anything else with the font. Basically, do the legwork once, list it, share it, and see sales. I know that bundles mean my font is “sold” for a super tiny fraction of what I’m charging for it, but it also puts my font in front of users that might otherwise not use my font. If they like it, maybe they’ll search me out.
In addition to that, places like THJ and Font Bundles (below) tend to do a lot of social media and sponsoring of posts for the bundles — that means they’re basically pushing my stuff out to a bunch of people… In other words, I don’t have to. For me, bundles have always paid off well. The few that didn’t…eh, I didn’t lose much except for a few minutes of my time packaging my items up for the bundle. I mean, I’m not going to say no to someone PayPaling me $200 here & there. Would you??
Anyway, I like the interface on THJ, and it’s easy to set up shop there.
Negatives: BUT…I barely see any sales here. I’m lucky to see 1-2 a week. I haven’t listed anything new here at THJ in months because I feel like it’s pointless — the only sales I see are from my older fonts, and not the newer ones, so I figure that the direction I’m heading in with my designs isn’t really what the folks frequenting THJ want. That’s cool with me.
The other gripe I have with THJ is that their site is really slow to load. So much to the point that I’ve stopped trying to check in on my sales, because it takes for-ev-er to load. *shrug*
I’m not saying not to open up shop with THJ. I imagine it’s probably different based on the shop and the designs that are being sold. I just haven’t had stellar luck with them, or enough to warrant continuing to list items with them.
Other Random Info: The bundle sales I participated in did moderately well. If approached again, I’d totally participate.
September 2019 Addition: I shut down my THJ shop a few months back. I decided to do that because I wasn’t seeing more than $20 in sales every month, and the issues with the website made it so that it was cumbersome to get a product uploaded. I also noticed over time that the payouts weren’t super predictable, sometimes varying by more than a week from their projected payout date. It didn’t feel very good or professional, even if it was over less than $20. The nail in the coffin for me was when I ran a deal with a THJ sister site that e-mailed multiple times asking me to send my payout back because they made a slew of mistakes on their end. Disorganized, mismanaged? I don’t know. Perhaps my experience is unique – either way, I hope that the folks that continue to sell with them have a much better experience than I!
October 2019 Addition: As of 28 October, I have three active THJ listings. I had a brief moment of, “What if I’m missing out?!” and opted to bring back a font bundle, and two SVG bundles. They’ve been active for about 2 weeks, with zero interest. I can’t say whether THJ has a traffic issue (as in, not a lot of traffic, and therefore, not many transactions, and therefore, I don’t see sales) or if it’s simply an interest issue. My guess would be traffic, as the items I have listed seem to do quite well elsewhere. I’ll be leaving those items listed for a bit more time, and will report back on whether any sales occur!
September 2020 Addition: I don’t think I left the three active listings on THJ for very long, and I closed up shop on THJ. I’m dropping in to let you know that as of yesterday (29 Sep) I’ve re-opened on THJ. I weighed this decision carefully and ultimately arrived at giving it another shot because many of my newer releases are a bit different in style — a little more fun, whimsical, and crafty. I’m not certain what market uses THJ most, but I’m always willing to give it a fair shake when things change for me. Stay tuned!
April 2021 Update: I’ve been selling on THJ for a while now, and the sales I have are few & far between – no more than 4-5 a month. Because it takes me only moments to upload a product once a week, I’m continuing on with THJ. I’ve been a part of a few bundles, so that’s been a nice chunk of change whenever it happens. If I hadn’t set up shop again, or listed my products there, they’d have never been selected for the bundle, so even if you don’t make sales all the time, there is still value if you’re willing to take pennies for your fonts to be included!
February 2022 Update: I’m still selling on THJ, and my sales are still crummy, but the inclusion in their bundles is what keeps me around.
Process to Open Shop: You can go here to open up shop: https://fontbundles.net/store-register
Cost: There is no cost to open up the shop; sellers receive between 50-75% commission, with Font Bundles keeping the rest.
Positives: Font Bundles does really well for bundles and quick sales — like their $1 font deal, or seasonal sales that they host. I see the bulk of my income from FB through the bundles and sales. I see individual sales here & there — a bit more consistently than on The Hungry JPEG.
The interface for listing products is easy to use and fairly intuitive.
Negatives: Customer service is a little lacking for shop owners. Long story short, my fonts were (still are) being purchased and then offered for free on a few different websites. This is something I’ve come to accept as expected, and I’ve got a takedown notice ready to go on the fly in case I need it. I’d been trying to figure out where the fonts were being taken from, so I did some detective work of my own, and found out that the fonts (as I suspected) were being purchased through Font Bundles, and the buyers were turning around and offering the products up for free on a few different website platforms.
How do I know it came from Font Bundles? Because I listed a test font there & there only. It was the only place the font was made available, and within 1-2 days of being released, it had been purchased, and showed up where I expected it would.
I contacted Font Bundles about this after I’d submitted takedown notices to the websites offering my product for free without my consent, hoping that we could get to the bottom of this. I know Font Bundles can’t control what their customers do, but what I was hoping for was some type of recourse or information on who may have been doing this. Instead, it got turned back around on me and *MY* integrity was questioned — how could *I* be sure that the buyer(s) from Font Bundles were the guilty parties, even though I’d already informed them that the font was available nowhere else.
Font Bundles doesn’t offer much in the way of security for the shop owners, I guess. They refuse to divulge the names of buyers, which makes every sale virtually anonymous. If the sale can’t be attributed, people are going to continue to act dishonestly. I made the suggestion that shop owners should have access to this information — I was told the suggestion would be passed up the chain, which I believe is code for, “lolz no.”
Other Random Info: I’ve been a little more selective about what I list here, and am still on the fence about whether or not it’s worth it to continue doing business with Font Bundles. The sales I make are right on the border of being enough to justify it, so I guess the jury’s out on this one. I would suggest to anyone opening up shop here that they make sure they stay on top of known pirating websites, and then weigh out whether or not it’s worth it to chase down the bad guys when it happens…because it will. (I should note that it will happen no matter where you list your fonts or design resources. It won’t be exclusive to the platform. I only bring it up in this case because I wasn’t entirely satisfied with the response I received.)
September 2019 Addition: I’ve continued to upload my products through FontBundles, and I’m pleased to report that my experience as of late has been quite positive. Sales have been small, but worth my time, and I’ve been included in a few deals recently that have given me a nice little boost. I suspect that piracy continues to happen, but for my own mental health, I try to not become a super spy. I really want to keep my focus on creating, which has been the case for some months now. I can’t say that I’ve completely changed my view of FontBundles based on my feedback above, but I am gaining more positive views based on my experiences recently.
October 2020 Update: There’s nothing major to speak of on the FontBundles front. Participating in the bundles + $1 deals yields a nice little chunk of change (if you don’t mind letting your fonts go for pennies) that you barely have to do anything for. My regular sales on FontBundles aren’t huge, but the product upload process is easy enough that I don’t mind spending a few minutes continuing to add to my shop.
April 2021 Update: Yep, pretty much the same as above still.
Process to Open Shop: Melissa, one of of the gals at So Fontsy, reached out to me via Etsy with an invite to join. After checking it out, I decided I didn’t have anything to lose! You can apply by going to this link — https://sofontsy.com/open-shop/ — where your portfolio will be reviewed!
Cost: There is no actual cost associated with opening up a shop on So Fontsy, and your compensation might vary. My agreement with So Fontsy says that the payment agreement is confidential so I’m not gonna blow that up. I will say, though, that I wouldn’t sell anywhere that I felt like I wasn’t being paid well. One of the things about design marketplaces like this is that I feel like the trade-off is really great. So Fontsy sees traffic and has pre-qualified individuals that may be interested in what I have to offer — in turn for not having to go out and seek these people out myself, they keep a percentage of my sale. It’s people that I wouldn’t otherwise reach, so I think it’s entirely fair.
Positives: I sell both SVGs and fonts on So Fontsy — I see a lot more font sales here than I do SVG files, which makes me totally happy! I get asked to participate in bundles for both SVGs and fonts, so I see a little extra traffic, and I get a bump up in sales, too! Crafting fonts are HUGE here, so if that’s your style, this will be a great place to sell.
Negatives: I haven’t had a negative experience with selling here, but I will note that you ought to have patience — sometimes the back end of the website is a little slow, but the folks at So Fontsy have been taking huge steps to make the experience a lot better for sellers. I really appreciate the transparency as it relates to the admin communicating with shop owners about what steps are being taken.
Other Random Info: So Fontsy is pretty young, just having celebrated its six-month anniversary over the summer. One thing that I enjoy about selling here is the Facebook group that is exclusive to the designers that sell there. Everyone is super helpful and friendly. I’m always a little on the fence about the “community over competition” mentality, because we all want to make money, feed our families, etc. BUT, the folks at So Fontsy — the admins and the sellers — have been super sweet, and I feel like we all actually DO look out for one another.
October 2020 Update: SoFontsy recently migrated their website away from WordPress to Shopify to help give a better experience for shoppers & shop owners. While it has improved the upload process for shop owners, it’s still a little wonky – I still get timeouts, 502 errors, and such. Over all, this isn’t a big deal because I’ve decided to upload only fonts to SoFontsy from this point forward. With as many SVG files as I have, it simply wasn’t worth my time to fight the website upload process, while not making more than a few hundred a month from my time.
April 2021 Update: Nothing really new here. I don’t spend a lot of time focusing on Fontsy, so it’s really just a once a week upload, inclusion in bundles here & there, and a meager paycheck every month. It’s better than nothing, and so, I’ll keep uploading here! It seems like the folks that focus a lot on Fontsy do well (I’m just assuming, I have nothing to base this on), but because I sell on so many platforms, I don’t have the time to focus efforts.
July 2021 Update: There was a bit of a snafu not too long ago on SF where their off-site storage was hacked – it was the storage where all of the .zip files lived for all of the vendors. I have to imagine it was a complete nightmare for the folks that oversee SF, and it ultimately required vendors to repopulate each & every one of their listings with the .zip files. I’d been tossing around whether or not I wanted to add more of my SVG files to SF for a while, but after this hack happened, I realized that I simply don’t have the time or inclination to add new SVGs to SF. The amount I earn each month through SF wasn’t enough to sink the time into it. I let the staff know I preferred to shut my shop down rather than add the .zip files back, and that I would be happy to send my SF customers the files should they need them. (SF promises lifetime access to buyers.) A very sweet Kaysha let me know that she’d be happy to upload my .zips for me if I granted her access to them through Drive or Dropbox. I did, and she uploaded my most popular offerings for me.
All of that said, I’m no longer adding new materials to SF — not even fonts. It was time to jump ship, unfortunately. My existing products remain in place — just not adding new stuffs there.
April 2022 Update: Within the last month or so, I made the decision to mass-list the fonts that I’ve not listed over the last year or so. I wanted to see what would happen, and if it would boost my sales. I believe, simply because they’re new products, that my sales increased a bit, but I don’t know how this will go over time. I won’t be adding any new SVGs to SF, but I’m going to give the fonts a shot for a little bit longer to see if I can squeeze out a bit more income.
Process to Open Shop: Easy peasy! Follow this link — https://www.creativefabrica.com/open-store/ — and open up shop!
Cost: There is no cost, Creative Fabrica takes a portion of your sale. Your portion could range between 50-75%. Additionally, you can receive recurring revenue if you allow your product to be a part of their subscription service, which allows users to pay a flat fee monthly for access to thousands of fonts.
Positives: I love me some Creative Fabrica! The folks running Creative Fabrica are super responsive to the shop owner’s needs and questions, and are always a pleasure to e-mail with. In addition to being a shop owner, I’m also a subscriber — I love having access to so many fonts for any project that I need them for, and I also quite enjoy being paid daily for participating in the subscription offerings.
Negatives: I don’t have many negative things to say about Creative Fabrica. The interface is easy to use, you can keep tabs on how much your payout is. Perhaps my only suggestion or gripe would be that I’d like to see more in the way of stats so that I know what the buyers on Creative Fabrica are looking for!
Other Random Info: Creative Fabrica has partnered with the Silhouette Design Store, and has also recently partnered with Templett. If your products make the cut, you may be asked to participate. You can accept or reject the deals — when you accept it, it means your product can be offered up on Templett or the Silhouette Design Store. Creative Fabrica basically acts as an intermediary, and they will compensate you for it based on the number of purchases through SDS or Templett. This is in addition to being paid by Creative Fabrica for sales or subscriptions, too! In other words, crafting fonts are great for CF, as well as other font styles.
October 2020 Update: I still sell on CF – the interface is still great, and they make it easy for you to participate in the deals they run if you wish to do so. To this point, I’ve decided I will no longer be accepting any Templett deals because I actually have a separate license for font embedding. I will continue to commit to the Silhouette Design Store deals, though — in fact, I spent some time this morning accepting 22 new Silhouette deals for some of my recent releases.
April 2021 Update: CF is doing some cool stuff as of late. I’m not making bank or anything, but the relationship that the folks at CF establish with the shop owners is really nice. I appreciate the time & attention they put into everything and their communications. Overall, I’m happy and excited to be a part of what they’re doing and how they’re growing!
April 2022 Update: Last April, CF was doing some cool stuff, but this April, CF is doing some weird stuff.
They pushed out a Creative Fabrica Fans platform. The long & short of it is that people can subscribe to artists for a monthly fee, and every month, the artists push out new material. Sometimes, fans get a sneak peek or early access, or even materials that might not be available on other websites. It was basically the same type of thing as OnlyFans (HA, yeah, not linking out to that) but instead of adult content, it was design resources.
Unfortunately, this did not work out for me, and I believe the reason for this is because the regular Creative Fabrica website already offers subscription-based services…except for instead of one creator, it’s all creators who opt in to the subscription.
For the life of me, I couldn’t wrap my mind around why someone would pay $10/mo for a handful of fonts & SVGs when they could pay $19/mo for way more from a bunch of other creators. Still, people opted to join up, but I couldn’t see sinking the time into creating these new little packages for folks — it didn’t leave me with a good feeling having people pay more like that, so I eventually opted out of the program.
You’d think it would have been simple to shut it down, but it took literal weeks for CF to shut down my CF Fans account. It wasn’t set up intuitively or conveniently for people, and I had to jump through hoops…and then the subscribers also had to jump through hoops. Rather than honor my request, I was met with suggestions on how to improve and gain more followers, so I had to request to shut down a second time. Then, they told me that each of the subscribers would need to manually unsubscribe from my Fans account. How much sense does that make?
I want to make clear that I don’t think the Fans page is a bad idea — for a lot of designers, this works out really well — it’s just something that doesn’t work for me because I already offer a pretty badass deal on my website, so offering something through Fans just didn’t work out. I didn’t enjoy the idea of someone paying monthly when they could pay once through my website.
Back at CF proper, I’ve been getting some odd emails, including an invitation to sell with CF. I guess my email wound up on some list of designers they have. I’ve been selling with them since 2017, so you’d think that somehow they’d be vetting the list of emails. Not the case.
If I had to guess, I’d say that CF has grown enough that the attention to detail isn’t as close anymore. The growth is good for them, but from the shop owner perspective, it’s looking a little sloppy.
As of April 2022, new fonts are still being uploaded there – albeit rather slowly because I’ve been dabbling in some other stuff here & there. Creative Fabrica’s CEO reached out directly following my latest unsolicited two cents on the marketplace, so I have to say that at the very least, they are open to feedback and have always been quite receptive when I reach out about something.
Being in business is not easy, and there are growing pains and adjustments that need to be made. The best thing about CF is that they care about the seller’s thoughts and experiences.
August 2022 Update: While I am still selling on CF, I made the decision weeks ago to decline the invitations for including my fonts in the Silhouette store. This is solely based on the poor percentages that these deals provide the font designer. I don’t believe this decision has impacted my monthly earnings massively.
Process to Open Shop: With a super clean website, big names in the font design community, and some awesome big-name logos at the top of their site…You Work For Them seems like an amazing place to be. There’s no “open shop” link readily available — you need to e-mail submissions in, along with links to your portfolio. They’ll review the submission, and if it seems like a good fit, they’ll invite you to open up shop.
Cost: If you’re invited to open up shop with YWFT, there is no cost to do so… but the commission rate is 50/50 — that means if you make a sale, you get 50% of your asking price, and they keep the other 50%. You get paid once a quarter with YWFT, heads up!
Positives: I mentioned those big names — the likes of Apple and Starbucks are named as users of YWFT. It’s pretty neat to think that the folks there could license and use your resources. YWFT’s website is super clean and uniform.
Negatives: Their requirements seem to have you jumping through hoops with regard to how they need their items packaged up so they can be listed. For all other shops, I use the same images and same .zip file to list my items. For YWFT, I have to prepare a totally different set of images (different sizes), and use their system to package my product up. Let’s be honest. It’s a drag. I know this is how they keep their website looking awesome, products uniform in their presentation, etc. but I spent more time than I wanted to getting my items ready with the hope they’d do well.
I abandoned the YWFT ship a while back, and haven’t listed any new products there. I didn’t see enough sales (like literally less than $50 a quarter) to warrant spending the time on it.
Other Random Info: YWFT just wasn’t for me, y’all.
Crella – Added September 2019
Process to Open Shop: You can follow this link – https://crella.net/sell-digital-products/ – to learn a bit more about opening a Crella shop and apply to open a shop! I received approval to set up shop nearly instantly.
Cost: There is no cost to set up shop with Crella. Crella’s designer commission is 75% less a $.50 fee for each transaction. This commission rate is a ton better than a lot of marketplaces out there.
Positives: The commission rate is a definite positive, and the site is put together well – it’s WordPress, and it’s super clean on the front end, and really easy to upload products on the back end. A font designer, Mats-Peter, is the Crella founder, and I have to imagine that a large part of why he put this marketplace together was so that designers get a better cut. Way to go, Mats!
One cool thing that I think will work out to Crella’s advantage is that they do offer a subscription service. You can choose to contribute to this service with your products, and it appears you may opt out at any time. Your payout depends on the number of signups and downloads.
Negatives: There seems to be a bit of a traffic problem here…as in, it doesn’t seem like there’s a ton of activity as far as purchasers go. I believe this to be because Crella is totally the new kid on the block, and there are still plenty of growing pains, advertising, etc. to work with in order to have sustainable growth. At the time of writing (September 2019), my Crella shop has been open since April 2019, and I’ve made one single sale and received one very meager payout for the subscription service offered. That said, I’m not bailing on Crella. It takes mere minutes to list your product completely painlessly, and I truly believe that the best is yet to come. All good things take time, and I think that Crella has a good thing going.
Other Random Info: Crella also offers an Affiliate Program – if you’re looking to earn a little extra by sharing cool stuff, you should definitely check that out.
October 2020 Update: Crella is s l o w on earnings, y’all. I’m not certain if it’s a traffic issue or something else, but if I see $20 a month, I’m lucky. The interface is still nice, and I will still continue to add my fonts here since it only takes a moment of my time…but I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t considered stopping adding them. The only reasons why I will — because it does take only a moment of my time, and because I still hope that this will turn in to something pretty awesome for the designers participating.
April 2021 Update: Nothing has changed here. Barely any sales to speak of, and it doesn’t look like the website is undergoing many changes. Perhaps folks that sell resources in other genres do better than fonts?
July 2021 Update: I’m not longer adding fonts to Crella – my shop remains open, but no new material will be listed here. Even though the product upload takes only a few minutes, those few minutes add up over time. Unfortunately, the number of sales I’ve seen on Crella is not worth the time I’d be spending.
Marquee – Added June 2021
Process to Open Shop: You can follow this link – https://marqueecreativelabs.com/shop-request-form/ – to request information on opening a shop.
Cost: I think this may be up in the air. Marquee launched at the end of May 2021, so it’s still very new yet. Because I set up shop early on, there was no cost to me. I believe that there may be a fee for new shops from this point, but I can’t say for sure. The commission that Marquee keeps is 25% from your sales.
Positives: It is still very much early days for Marquee. The staff was helpful and uploaded my products for me. I made a sale within a few days of their launch, but it has been only a single sale.
Negatives: There seems to be a bit of a traffic problem here…as in, it doesn’t seem like there’s a ton of activity as far as purchasers go. I assume this is because it’s still quite new and people are wondering if Marquee is legit or not. It’s probably a massive undertaking to compete with the likes of Creative Market and other design resource websites.
Other Random Info: Marquee also offers an Affiliate Program – if you’re looking to earn a little extra by sharing cool stuff, you should definitely check that out — I don’t know how lucrative it is, though.
July 2021 Update: As of July, I’m just letting my shop go — I’m not currently uploading new fonts there due to the lack of sales, but if things pick up at any point, I don’t have a problem adding new material there. Once traffic picks up, perhaps there will be an improvement in sales…otherwise, this one might be dead in the water.
April 2022 Update: I reached out to Marquee a few months ago with a request to close my shop down, because there has been no traffic and no sales. They responded quite quickly, and sent me an email to let me know my shop had been “suspended.” Haha.
Design Cuts – Added February 2022
Process to Open Shop: You can visit this link: https://www.designcuts.com/apply-for-a-marketplace-store/
For the longest time, there was no option to open a shop on Design Cuts. Over the last few years, I’ve reached out repeatedly to see about getting my products on Design Cuts, and was always met with the same response – they weren’t accepting any new designers. It turns out that this may not have been entirely true, just a nice way to let folks down easy instead of a harsh NO!
In January 2021, a Design Cuts rep reached out to me with a collab request, wanting to include Spring Market in one of their upcoming bundles. I, of course, said yes to this, and discovered during the product upload process that there was a section to express interest in setting up a storefront with Design Cuts following being included in a bundle. I was definitely interested, so I made sure they knew.
They handpicked a few fonts from my selection, and said that they’d be a good fit, so that was how I wound up being a vendor on Design Cuts. Now that you can apply to set up shop yourself, it does make it a bit easier, but I would assume that they’re being SUPER selective about who they include based on my previous experiences.
Cost: There is no cost to open up a shop, but you can expect a 50/50 cut on all sales you make with Design Cuts.
Positives: Every interaction I’ve had with the folks at Design Cuts has been positive, even when I was being rejected, haha.
Negatives: I’ve been a part of their marketplace since late April / early May 2021. I haven’t seen a ton of sales, so not a huge paycheck coming in from Design Cuts. That’s how it is sometimes, though. I’m willing to give it a fair chance before jumping ship, just like every other marketplace.
My gut says that a lot of shops probably don’t see a lot in the way of sales, simply because people come to Design Cuts to purchase their bundles. It makes sense that designers would rather save hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars, so single, stand-alone products probably don’t receive the same attention.
It’s not really a negative so much, because I can respect that they want to include only products that they deem are a good fit, but it is hard to get a product accepted by Design Cuts. I submitted around 50-60 fonts to Design Cuts over a period of time, and only 20 have been picked up and accepted. There isn’t much in the way of feedback on why things are accepted or rejected, so I don’t have much insight into what makes a product acceptable.
At the time of writing this (February 2022), there was still no way for vendors to track sales in their shop. This is something that Design Cuts says they’re working on, so it would be helpful to see some analytics and information on what’s selling and what isn’t. For a font designer, that helps us know know & understand where we can focus our efforts.
August 2022 Update: I’m still adding products for consideration here. The amount I’m earning is not much to speak of, but I’m hopeful that over time this will improve, or my fonts will be included in additional Design Cuts deals. It does take quite a while for products to be approved or disapproved – I have some fonts that were submitted in July that still haven’t been approved or disapproved, but Design Cuts does have a note to let people know that product submissions are taking much longer than normal. At least they’re communicating!!
My Fonts – Added April 2022
Process to Open Shop: You can visit this link:
Y’all. I’ve avoided My Fonts for literal years because I got rejected back in 2017 when I initially got my start with font design. The process to sell on My Fonts has changed quite a bit, I think. If I remember correctly, I had to submit multiple fonts beforehand, and I received an email letting me know all of the issues that my fonts had. As a new font designer, I licked my wounds for a few days, and then swore My Fonts off because I’d followed the process I’d learned and was still pretty green as far as being a font designer goes.
Time, effort, practice, and refining apparently did the trick. I set one of my 2022 goals to finally get a font onto My Fonts. (When you are accepted to sell on My Fonts, your font will also be sold through Monotype, Linotype, Fonts.com, and FontShop, heads up!) Delvey Modern Serif was the one that got me there.
I still have a bit of imposter syndrome going on, despite the fact that I literally do this full time and earn a six-figure income from font design. (Yes, I’m for real.) So, being accepted to have at least one font sold on My Fonts was a huge boost for me, and made me feel like even more of a professional font designer.
Cost: There is no cost to open up a shop, but you can expect a 50% royalty for sales.
Positives: The submission process seems to be a bit easier, and I really dig the font validator that they have. It’s an automated process that will give you a tick-list of things that you need to adjust/fix with your fonts before you even submit them to My Fonts…things like correcting path direction, naming problems, missing characters, etc. If you’re like me, you might have tunnel vision when you work on your fonts, so it’s easy to forget some basic technical stuff before you export your fonts. I love that the validator gives you a quick glance at the things you need to tighten up before you ever release your font.
Negatives: The jury is still out on this one. I haven’t been a part of My Fonts for long enough so I have no idea what my revenue will be, and I’m still waiting on acceptance/rejection for a few more fonts that I think are quality enough to be sold there!
August 2022 Update: I don’t really have much to add here. I think I’ve been paid once, and it wasn’t much — that’s fine! I haven’t submitted any new material for a while on MyFonts, simply because of the extra steps required for image preparation, etc. I still view having approved fonts on MyFonts as a personal achievement and a goal that I’ve accomplished.
Fontsera – Added August 2022
Process to Open Shop: You can visit this link:
Cost: There is no cost to open up a shop, but you’ll receive between 50%-60% of each sale, depending on where the customer was referred from.
Positives: It was easy to set up shop, and the interface is easy to use. The folks that approve your shop do a bit of research on you to make sure you’re legit – I had them hunt down my Behance profile (that I never use) and message me there to ensure that it was actually me that was applying.
Negatives: I stumbled upon Fontsera months ago. I bookmarked it, poked around a little, and waited a few months before I requested to open a shop. The reason for this was because I wanted to ensure it would stick around. There are a few design resource marketplaces that are heavily trafficked, and a lot more smaller marketplaces that don’t receive any traffic because the site owners don’t know how to drive the traffic, or don’t have the budget to. I suspected that Fontsera may have a traffic problem – as in, they’re not getting any.
Once my shop was approved, I listed out about 20 fonts — enough to show variety, but not a ton of time spent on it all. I haven’t seen a single sale yet, so I assume a few things — 1. the website is still so young and they’re working on picking up steam, or 2. there is no budget for advertising to drive traffic to the website, thereby driving sales. It reminds me a bit of Crella and the struggle to see any traffic there. I don’t have particularly high hopes for this, and hope to be proven wrong!
At any rate, because it is so easy to list fonts here with the interface they’re using, it may be a good place for a new font designer to set up shop as they’re building their portfolio, which is important to larger marketplace websites like Creative Market. It would help to establish a web presence to show that you are, in fact, a real font designer.
Do you sell in other marketplaces? Let me know what your experiences were with them — feel free to drop a comment for others to read, too!