Google Web Fonts: Good-Natured Grifting

Matthew Butterick:

In the design world, there’s a well-known swin­dle where a pres­ti­gious but stingy client says “I wish I could pay you, but I don’t have the bud­get. How about you let me use your work for free? I know it’ll be great expo­sure for you, and lead to pay­ing work.” In truth, it’s not, and it won’t. Designer Jes­sica His­che aptly calls this “the most toxic line of bull­shit any­one will ever feed you.” Why? Because it’s just good-natured grift­ing, an exploita­tion of the weaker by the stronger. Nev­er­the­less, it works, because there will always be design­ers hun­gry enough to believe that they don’t have other choices.

Google Web Fonts uses a vari­a­tion of this toxic line as part of its pitch to poten­tial open-source font con­trib­u­tors.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012