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You are here: Home / Conferences / Antwerp 2018 / Programme

The birth, life and death of letters

A speculative dynamic pricing model for digital typefaces
When Wed 12 Sep 1510
Where AP Hogeschool 2
What Track 2
Who Vincent Chan
As small pieces of software, digital fonts are disembodied by nature. They multiply, disperse, break open, and truncate as they move through circuits and servers, fluid and spectral. Each instance of their use in the world builds up a kind of cultural residue as they color content and they themselves become colored in turn. Their life and value take on a trajectory that is tied to their proliferation. Current pricing models often do not reflect these qualities, instead borrowing from the physical realm and the mechanics of a standard economic model; more often than not – wherever you are in the world – a typeface is presented as an immutable entity with a cost that is similarly fixed. How might we think critically on the notions of price, cultural value, and access in contemporary type design? Is it possible to make good work and a good living while ensuring economic accessibility for all? This presentation walks through an approach to pricing digital typefaces using a dynamic gaussian algorithm. In doing so it attempts to address accessibility, pricing, public domain, poignancy, and perhaps even piracy. As an imperfect gesture towards an alternative, it promotes fairness, criticality, and type design as a cultural act.

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