Crosspost: Font Licensing for Enterprise Software

Werkplace's picture

I posted in the wrong Forum so I am cross posting here. My apologies.

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I have been working as an IxD on enterprise level software for one of the largest IT companies in the world and am finally going to force a design decision through all our software and need some feedback from the experts.

Our software is mostly of the legacy desktop variety, with a few web and mobile applications. We are working on a strategy for combining all our UI’s into a common technology, but have yet to make a firm decision (Java, WPF, or AIR, I am familiar with all). All of our technology is moving towards RIA’s. But I may be working with all the UI technologies under the sun for the foreseeable future.

Up until now, we have avoided this issue by using system fonts. All users are on XP or Vista, so until I came on board, all our apps were using MS Sans and MS Serif, for the most part. System fonts. I want to use better screen fonts that are non-system. I am not talking display graphics here, I am talking about embedded app fonts.

My old boss, Stefan Kjartansson is a serious typographer, and he instilled in me a serious respect for font licensing, so I want some serious answers here.

With Flash and Silverlight (and Proce55ing), you have the ability to download font outlines remotely, and then remove them after the user exits the application. Fine for the free and open web, and emergent free, open source productivity tools in AIR etc.(37 signals manages to make money somehow) But it doesn’t work with propritory RIA’s where the primary modality is offline use. And actually, I have a big issue with the enabling web technology that allows designers to skirt font licensing, but that’s another topic.

I know some guys I worked with at TATA that have been doing Flash e-learning apps for the last 8 years or so just never implement designs with non-system fonts because they already went through a licensing process and couldn’t work out a deal, supposedly. The fonts have to be part of the end user install. I just don’t take that at face value. Since we also have SOA apps, we no longer have engineers going on site to install our software. Users can download and install apps based on their licensing agreement with our company.

So our company has hundreds of licensing models that are of the 100 page TPS report style. I am not sure how to even put a proposal together for a font house as I am going to have to get our lawyers involved due to the complexity.

So:
1) Has anyone successfully licensed and implemented a non-system font into enterprise software (multi-lingual) with WPF, AIR, Nimbus? I have done it in web and chat apps, want to get feedback from enterprise folks.
2) What were your challenges? What worked for you? How did you approach the font houses?
3) If any font house reps come on here, what is your stance on all of this? Am I just way off on this?

Thanks!

And Sorry for the long post! I just didn’t see anything in the forumns on this.

Si_Daniels's picture

It might be best to ask a moderator to move the original thread.

Cheers, Si

Miss Tiffany's picture

I would if I could find the other thread. Perhaps another moderator took care of it.

Miss Tiffany's picture

Thanks, Si. I've closed that thread and directed any traffic to this thread.

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