Paying for fonts when designing logos?

ness's picture

Can anybody tell me if when designing a logo - does the company that the logo is for have to buy a copy of the typeface used in it's design? Or, is it just the designer who should have purchased the typeface initially?

Dan Weaver's picture

When making the proposal on the logo include all your out of pocket costs including typefaces. If its type converted to line art its one thing but if the client wants multiple users to be able type the logo as a typeface they will have to buy a multiple user licence for that face. Don't give away your work and let the client know: you can't bake a cake without flour and you can't create his/hers logo without type.

cchs's picture

We build the cost of purchasing any typefaces used in the design (logo, print work, signage and interactive) into the job and pass those on to the client.

If the client needs their own license for the ongoing use of a font (i.e for a newsletter template or text settings for correspondence) we will usually negotiate the license for them but we generally ask the client to purchase the font directly.

In the case of a logo/logotype, I also try to contact the type designer when the project is done so they can see what we did with their work (especially since the type used in logos is usually modified significantly). This is more a curtesy than anything, and it's fun to get feedback.

LogoMotives's picture

I also build the cost of any typefaces purchased into the price of a job. If a client needs the font for any additional usage I will purchased what they need for them or direct them to where they can purchase their own copy.

Jeff Fisher
Engineer of Creative Identity

Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

beejay's picture

>> you can't bake a cake without flour and
you can't create his/hers logo without (purchasing)
a type(face). (parentheticals added within context I think)

sure you can and plenty do.

^ create your own type from scratch
(every logo designer should know *how* to do this.)
^ sketch and digitize
^ use ink, brush, pen, bamboo, other media

don't want to link to the Jay Wilkinson logo/TM thread,
but many of his points are strong. Rolling out an existing
typeface should be an option, but not necessarily a robotic
solution all of the time.


Christian Robertson's picture

I agree. There are too many 'typed out' logos. I think
there are a lot of designers out there who are too afraid of
type design to try. I know a bunch who couldn't render a
letter to save their lives. (Oh no, my beziers are lumpy!).
Given, I am still trying to perfect this art, but I think there
should be a little more emphasis on drawing type in design
schools. I don't think people realize how powerfully unique
letter forms establish identity.

I always smile when people ask what font I used for a logo
and I can say, 'No font, it's custom'. Sometimes even
clients are impressed. If nothing else, it makes you feel
macho in a nerdy designer kind of way.

The worst are logos done in script fonts that are supposed
to look handwritten. It's even worse when they repeat
characters without using alternates or ligatures. I have a
hard time justifying 'hand-written' fonts anyway, let alone
in a logo. If you want to look like calligraphy, hire a
calligrapher, or learn to draw yourself.

It's true that it's easier to make deadlines and budgets
with fonts, though. And we've all been there...

beejay's picture

It's true that it's a time thing, too, and sometimes
an existing typeface is the perfect solution.

With the Typophile
T-shirt designs, I was encouraged to see Custom Type
and Lettering, or reworkings of existing type.

speaking of Custom...Dylan, way to go man!
Your site is up and looking fine. I'm ready for
the KoolAid.

.00's picture

I've been teaching a digital lettering course, and my students who all said they were "very comfortable" in Adobe Illustrator at the begininng of the course, are realizing that rendering original work with bezier tools is a lot different than what they are use to doing in AI.

bj states that every designer should know how to do this, and I agree, but not every design student has been taught how, so I wonder how many designers know how to handle a bezier.

Joe Pemberton's picture

> When designing a logo - does the company that the logo
> is for have to buy a copy of the typeface used in it's
> design?

No. But the designer, should have a proper license.

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