Staying Alive | The League of Moveable Type
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Micah Rich

Designer, Developer, Founder of The League

Staying Alive

5 min read

For a very long time, The League has been a side project. One with history, and a passionate group of like-minded people with us, but one that couldn’t afford to have more than just me actively working on, and often not even that.

But I’ve always had a strong vision for what we could be. And I’ve been working a long time to get to the point where we are now — on the cusp of making The League the kind of company that can not only give back to the community, but can sustain itself.

Now, our heart & soul has remained unchanged— we love & whole-heartedly support type designers who sell fonts (especially our own contributors), but our job is to be the first open-source foundry: we provide professional-quality fonts that people can use & learn from for free.

1. Advertising in the Weekly Typographic

One of the first projects we started this summer, as I started dedicating my time to really working on The League, was to revive our newsletter.

By now, surely you’ve seen The Weekly Typographic — it’s a weekly email, written by myself & amazing contributor Alec Gilfillan, dedicated to typography news & great type links we find each week. Our newsletter offers a lot more, but our first mission has been kicking the newsletter up a notch.

At the bottom of each email are two ad spots. They’re specifically only for products we’d want to see in the newsletter: stuff that will help our lives as designers & typographers. We care a lot about making sure those are only filled with the right fit, and we’d rather do the newsletters for free than put something in that’s the wrong fit.

Considering that, you might notice that the majority of our emails are ads for our books or League membership. We’re still looking for the right partners, so if you know anyone, get in touch.

2. Our Books

Speaking of books, that’s avenue #2, and so far our very-unexciting-but-practically-useful series of e-books has been a big eye-opener for us. We’re going to be working on more books in the future, partnering with all sorts of designers & type designers to make more education, more accessible. Our goal is to make a book for every topic we make a class on, to provide avenues to learn for as many types of learners as possible.

Our current books on font licensing and embedding are going to be available in our new shop starting Friday.

3. Shirts, Posters, ’n Stuff

We’ve been working on building an online store full of cool stuff you’d actually want to own. We started with a fun & random t-shirt design we had kicking around — the I Am That Quick Brown Fox Tee—and were kind of surprised when we had to order a section batch to fulfill all our orders.

So, to start, we’re making a line of simple, vintage-style tees for our favorite League fonts, highlighting the font & the designers behind it. It’s a good way to show support & share something you actually really like & use.

But besides that, we’re going to do more exclusive tees besides the Quick Brown Fox tee. We’re going to do our best to work with a designer each month to make something cheeky, cute, nerdy, and fun — a custom, limited-edition shirt that you can only get for a short time.

There’s something really neat about having a shirt only a handful of other people in the world have, and one that’s an inside joke or something only a few people get. And I love that we have a chance to share profits with other designers, too; it’s a way to help sustain ourselves and our talented peers at the same time.

In the meantime, we’ll be launching our font tees in batches every two weeks, starting this Friday at 9am PDT, in the shop.

4. League Membership

Up until now, The League’s lights have stayed on solely because a handful of people have donated money each month for no reason other than the goodness of their hearts. I can’t explain how humbling that has been.

And it makes me want to give more.

So we’re relaunching our Membership plans, partially to have standard options (rather than pay-what-you-want, which puts the pressure on our members to decide) — but also to start offering some valuable stuff in return. You’ve given to us, and we want to give back as much as possible.

That means different tiers will get different things: inclusion in our community Slack, discounts on merchandise, bonus educational material that no one else gets to see, and a bunch more.

We’re hoping by offering more, we can get more people to want to be members, which is most likely going to be really, really important to staying alive in the years to come.

We’ll post more details about membership updates as we launch them – for now, you can read about it on our membership page.

5. Courses & Workshops

Finally, we come to the most exciting part — teaching.

Teaching is something we’re extremely passionate about, and I honestly think it’s going to be just as important to our livelihood, mission, and our soul as our fonts.

We have an opportunity to help level up anyone who wants to learn about typography — using or making it — and bring our fellow, talented designers with us. That’s always been the heart of our mission. So if you want to read about all that, check out the last post in this long-winded (but heartfelt) State of The League series.

If you want to read the last part of our State of The League series,  check out Teaching Typography.