Impact without measure
November 9, 2022
I am going to be talking about font creation, and how the time I invested in it over 10 years ago is still affecting my life today.
The point of all of this being: It’s impossible to anticipate the impact that you may have on others.
In 2011 I married my wife. We met on November 20th, 2010 in her home country of El Salvador in Central America. I moved to be with her at the end of May 2011, and we were married on June 4th.
I moved without a solid plan, except for getting married of course. I had about $700 to my name. We lived with my in-laws, who had only just met me weeks prior. I had a job interview lined up that didn’t pan out. I was unable to quickly get a job at a call center (the most popular and lucrative job at the time for English speaking people), and on top of that there was an additional $300 cost to perform a background check which I couldn’t afford and would take additional time.
Ironically my wife was able to get a job at the call center, which left me home to scour Craigslist for any kind of remote money making opportunity, which at the time were few and far between.
For whatever reason, I can’t honestly say what possessed me to do so, I got curious about font creation. I had always been a lover of fonts, so after spending a few hours in the mornings sending out emails, I started researching how I could make fonts on my own.
It turned out that it was more accessible than I had thought, so I set off to work creating my first font Muraknockout and submitting it to dafont.com (shoutout to dafont for being around for as long as I can remember and always being a source of inspiration).
From what I remember it took me about a day or two to create and publish my first font – and I was hooked. I continued my ritual: breakfast, Craigslist, font creation for weeks. In 2011 I created 24 of the 46 fonts that I have posted on dafont.com.
I learned a lot. I failed a lot. I created things that I hated. I created things that I loved that weren’t well received by the kindly designers at dafont.com. It was all worth it, and I honestly can’t remember many other things in my life that I was that obsessed with.
As of writing this my fonts have nearly 5.6 million downloads on dafont.com alone, and I say alone because there are tons of other sites that scrape other sites for fonts in hopes of replicating their success – if you post to one site your work inevitably ends up on dozens of other sites (not mad, that’s how the internet works.
My most popular font by far is called Dolce Vita – my attempt at creating a clean, minimal, fashion forward font that served as my love letter to Avant Garde. Dolce Vita has nearly 2.4 million downloads, and I’ve seen it used on television, video games, menus, print ads, books, magazines and more worldwide.
I don’t make a ton of money from my fonts, maybe a few hundred dollars a year, and maybe $4-5 thousand dollars total over the years, but money was never really my end goal.
The point of this is not to brag or boast – there are FAR more prolific and successful font creators than I, and I’d like to point out one in particular, Ray Larabie of Typodermic fame, who has been a HUGE inspiration to me since I started my design career in 2008. The point of this is explain how a simple experiment has had an impact on thousands, if not millions of people.
I’ve received dozens of emails and comments about my fonts, and requests to use them for projects. I’ve been asked to be interviewed by design students. I’ve received thank you emails. It’s all very heart warming that people were fond of and able to put to use fonts that I’ve created.
You never know when something that you create will resonate with others, so put your creativity out into the world with fearlessness.
I would also especially like to thank Selena Sage and Jami Makan who reached out to me recently about using my fonts – definitely check out what they’re working on!