A Font of Knowledge

The importance of font and licensing when it comes to brand style and building an Ecommerce experience

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When it comes to decisions brand leaders have to make, choosing the typeface that will live across your website and on all of your products is a pretty big one. Customers are going to see and interact with your copy throughout the life of your brand — and making a change to your design style will cause a ripple effect with lasting impacts.

Monotype is the largest company that is dedicated to typefaces. And, as Jonathan Zsittnik explained on a recent episode of Up Next in Commerce, the company has the world’s largest library of typefaces, and thousands of type families, many of which are the backbone of key brands.

Zsittnik is the Vice President of Commerce Channels at Monotype, and has been in the world of eCommerce since Google introduced AdSense. In this position, Zsittnik oversees a number of different eCommerce sites under the Monotype umbrella. Each site has a different consumer base with different needs, but across every channel, Zsittnik said there is often one thing customers have in common.

“A lot of people will come to the channels already knowing exactly what they need,” he said. “And so a lot of the focus is on making sure that we can get that customer who already knows that they need to use this particular font, get them the font, get them in the cart, make sure that they know what license they need, so they can get back to designing as quickly as possible.”

Designers and brands typically have a certain aesthetic in mind when building the website, and the font that lives on the site must play into that style as well. But you can’t expect to pick the right font on the first try. There needs to be an opportunity to experiment and preview how your site will look with the font you choose. Monotype offers that ability,

“The fun thing that we do is making sure that we give our customers a sense of how the typeface is going to perform before they purchase,” Zsittnik said. “You need a lot of tools that allow the designer to experiment with the typeface before they purchase it — before they lay their money down, make sure they understand what it’s going to look like. So the visuals that we supply are critically important. It’s about making sure that we have images that don’t just show the range of the typeface, but also some fun examples of what it might look like when it’s designed to really just show off the characteristics of the type.”

Once a choice has been made, understanding the licensing and usage agreements is the next step for a brand. Unfortunately, that process has been overly complicated in the past. But Zsittnik said that Monotype is trying to bring a bit more transparency to licensing so that a brand knows exactly what it’s getting and how the font they chose can be used.

“One of our strategies is to consolidate on fair industry standard terms so that the user is going to be more familiar with the license that they’re purchasing,” he said. “There are a lot of different formats there that they have to pay attention to. And it’s our job as a marketplace to make sure that we educate our customers when they come to the site and help them find the right license.”

With so much to consider, it’s important to find the right partner or company to work with. And that’s why so many companies turn to Monotype. Zsittnik and his team have been delivering great experiences for many years, and they are working to stay ahead of the eCommerce trends in order to update their offerings for customers. In the future, as machine learning and other technology continues to infiltrate our lives, there will always be a place for great typeface and forward-thinking design.

To hear more about how Monotype is accomplishing its goals, listen to Zsittnik’s episode of Up Next in Commerce, here.

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