Is this legit?

Plastic Pencil's picture

Hi,

I'm new here. Until recently, I didn't even realize all the legal issues involving using fonts for commercial use...

I saw the Ultimate Font Download, 10,000 commercial-licensed free fonts for $20.

http://www.ultimatefontdownload.com/index.htm?hop=param505

I need fonts for commercial purposes, but this sounds too good to be true. Does anyone know if this is legitimate or just a scam? It appears to the endorsement of at least one maker of free fonts.

Thanks.

blank's picture

It’s just a collection of free fonts from all over the web. You can find similar collections for $5.00. And it’s not legit, because some of those fonts might be free, but their licenses do not allow them to be redistributed for profit.

And when I was a student I once made this mistake of buying one of these packs. What I got a was massive zip file filled with junk fonts, many of which had names like 000_001_a.ttf. Most of them were the dregs of the free font scene; bad, unfinished undergraduate font projects based on album cover and movie poster lettering. So unless you want to spend more money on software that can print out a specimen book of all the fonts, don’t bother.

innovati's picture

agreed, quality, not quantity.

I would rather have 10 powerhouse professional fonts than an endless supply of free fonts that cannot be used in a professional context. for any money.

innovati's picture

I'm going to be ridiculed by the older more experienced people here, but some suggestions for pro fonts you can't live without:

Sans:

Helvetica / Univers
Myriad
Futura
Gill Sans

Serif:

Adobe Garamond
Minion
Rockwell (or some other slab serif)

Once you have those you have enough flexibility to adapt to many styles, a good starting point.

I'd check out the Adobe Font packages, they have student pricing and an excellent collection!

Nachos's picture

I had a similar euphoric how-can-this-be-true kind of feeling when I discovered that Mac came out with MacFonts and MacFonts2 software that was literally thousands of fonts for a minimal cost.

MacFonts, however, can't be downloaded for free on the web. That site is pretty much taking free fonts from sites like http://www.1001freefonts.com/ or http://www.dafont.com/.

Don't get ripped off. 1001 fonts has these same fonts listed verbatim. Hope this helps.

Plastic Pencil's picture

Thanks guys.

I'm still a little unsure. Ray Larabie who makes free fonts (and who I don't know much about, except he makes fonts), actually endorses it on his website:

http://www.larabiefonts.com/

Unfortunately, I can't go under student pricing, and I don't think it would matter because I want to use it commercially.

aluminum's picture

You can download all the quality free fonts in about a half hour. There's maybe 2 dozen, total, that are worth the effort of grabbing in terms of being a quality face, and versatile beyond the one-off parody of a movie title or band name.

So, yea, focus on fewer, but better quality fonts...be they free, open source, or commercial.

Nachos's picture

What would you bet that Larabie is getting a cut of profit from ultimatefontdownload?

Plastic Pencil's picture

Actually Larabie says that he and the other font designers are being compensated.

http://www.larabiefonts.com/help.html

Middle column, second Q+A.

phrostbyte64's picture

All of these comments are true, as far as they go. I've noticed that most of the work here tends to be high-end. But, need depends on industry. Try to get along in a t-shirt shop or a sign shop with only a couple of dozen quality fonts and you are going to have problems.

As for being legit? Who knows.

James Arboghast's picture

@Pucket: And it’s not legit, because some of those fonts might be free, but their licenses do not allow them to be redistributed for profit.

This is an incorrect assumption. I know a little about this Ultimate Font Download, enuff to tell you all the collection is perfectly legitimate. All of the fonts in it are in it by formal arrangement with their makers, who gave their permission for their work to be included. The guy who offers the download pays most of the profit he makes back to the people who made the fonts in the collection.

@Nachos: Don’t get ripped off. 1001 fonts has these same fonts listed verbatim.

No, it really doesn't work that way. People who buy The Ultimate Font Download are paying for the convenience of not having to wade thru page after page of drek on archive sites to find the good stuff. If you don't think paying a small sum of money for one handy download is worth it, that's your opinion. Thousands of satisfied buyers of the Ultimate Font Dowload disagree with you. Calling it a rip-off is like painting it black because you don't see the value of it in dollars.

There's no pleasing some peeple.

What would you bet that Larabie is getting a cut of profit from ultimatefontdownload?

Yes, correct, Ray does recieve a cut of the profit from The Ultimate Font Download. If you have a problem with that you should talk to Ray larabie about it.

@Darrel: You can download all the quality free fonts in about a half hour.

Can you? You sound very shure. Have you actually done this?

There’s maybe 2 dozen, total, that are worth the effort of grabbing in terms of being a quality face, and versatile beyond the one-off parody of a movie title or band name.

Again you sound so shure of this. Have you gone thru the entire collection and checked? What makes a font useful is subjective. Ray Larabie alone has made more than a dozen very useful, usable free fonts, and they are all in this collection. Add to that all the other useful usable fonts in it. Go figure.

@phrostbyte64: All of these comments are true, as far as they go.

Incorrect. Some of these comments are way off the mark.

As for being legit? Who knows.

I happen know that the fonts in this collection are as legitimate as free fonts can be.

j a m e s

Ray Larabie's picture

Nachos: What's your point?

Aluminum: check the EULA on those fonts you spent a few minutes collecting. How many allow commercial use or even contain a EULA that makes any sense?

Innovati: If a designer were asked to create a sign for a cowboy themed amusement park ride, would Rockwell or Helvetica be the best choice? Helvetica seems a bit more cowboyish than Rockwell but I'm not sure. Please explain.

The Ultimate Font Download is Jason Nolan's project, he also runs 1001freefonts.com. All of the designers involved in the project have given their permission to include their fonts in the package. Jason is the most generous person I have ever encountered . . . in my life . . . period. While other free fonts sites rake in the bucks and contribute zero dollars back to the designers, Jason shares the wealth. I don't want to say how much Jason has given back on a public forum but it's a hell of a lot. The fonts in the ultimate download have all been cleared, by the original designers for commercial use. So, you can say what you want about the wisdom of using free fonts, but don't say anything bad about this package. As far as the other download packages which contain my fonts go: they don't have my permission, they have out of date fonts and they give nothing back. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

Yes, other sites have free fonts and you can buy lots of giant mega font packages elsewhere, some may even be free. You can go to various free fonts sites to find an old version of a font, probably with the EULA missing. If you have the time to spare and you don't mind old versions, go ahead. Do to dafont and have a grand old time downloading out of date versions of my fonts if you like.

But, even if you're a high end design snooty designer who won't touch a font under $50, it doesn't hurt to have some spare ammo. Plus, you get a heap of Nick's Fonts, licensed for commercial use. You can slag Larabie Fonts all you like but what do y'all have to say about Nick's fonts? Junk?

I can see why some people are mistrustful. James Puckett, has good reason to avoid another too-good-to-be-true font deal. But, Jason's the real deal. I'm pretty certain any other download pack which contains my fonts is a scam.

blank's picture

Well, I’m happy to hear that one of these free font packages is actually done well and the licenses are legit. Because it was not already listed in the Free Font FAQ in the Typowiki, I have added it there. And I apologize to Jason for assuming that his collection was on par with others on the market.

marcox's picture

Jason Nolan could do himself a big favor by including some of this background information on his site.

Ray Larabie's picture

I'll let him know. Cheers.

Simon Robertson's picture

Ray, i use and enjoy some of your fonts, but i get them from myfonts, are they the latest ones?

as an aside, would you ever consider doing some lowercase letters for Octin Vintage? i love that family...

Simon Robertson's picture

oh, and as an aside, when i was a student, sites like larabie fonts provided me with some really nice fonts that were different from all the system fonts my classmates were using. sure i had to do soem extra work with them, kerning wise etc, or i had to deal with incomplete charater sets, but i did learn a lot about how to handle type by doing that.

now, i don't care how much a fonts costs me (well... maybe my bank balance does!) i'll pay it if it's right for the job.

i mean, i bought Feel Script* for $100 on a whim as it was just so beautiful, but have only used on once or twice, and Facebuster** for $30 and used it more!

Then there is Octin***, which i bought the whole pack for, but only really use the Vintage flavour and really love.

while i really love using extensive families like Stag Slab/Sans, Neutraface and Meta Sans/Serif, some of these other cheaper faces have been fantatic.

* http://www.veer.com/products/typedetail.aspx?image=UMT0000300

** http://www.typetrust.com/fonts/font.php?id=NzQ3

*** http://www.myfonts.com/fonts/typodermic/packages/286459/

Ray Larabie's picture

Yes, the MyFonts versions are always the latest ones so you'll automatically get more udaptes. When I update Larabie Fonts fonts they go to MyFonts and 1001freefonts.com. Other sites might pick them up eventually but I doubt it. I've been hammering away at the entire collection for the last few weeks. I've been updating about 5 families per year but 2009 will see a lot more updates, plus some commercial additions to the free families. When I add new styles I'll have a chance to rebuild/repair some of the older fonts so even if people stick to the free versions, they'll still see some improvement.

Octin lowercase: Oh, probably, someday but more likely a new, similar type of family. I experimented with Octin lowercase but it just seemed to take something away from the caps . . . by their very presence. Adding new characters to textured fonts can be tough. I screwed around in Photoshop for about an hour to get that vintage t-shirt texture right, so I don't think I'd be able to match a lowercase set. I'll definitely think about it though.

Plastic Pencil's picture

I just want to update.

Thanks for everyone sharing their thoughts. I've contacted Jason and he referred me to numerous free font makers who I contacted and all responded positively to the download as being with their permission.

Yeah 10,000 fonts for $20, isn't really a bad deal in my opinion, even they aren't all complete, etc. For $20 if you get even 10 quality fonts that are licensed for commercial use, it's a pretty good deal. I wasn't looking for entire libraries to print tomes, but rather something to add flavor to various pieces of artwork. I think the download was worth it.

Again, so long as they're all legit, which seems to be the case. As someone suggested, the website would look a little more legit if there was a bit more info on it. I would also recommend that the license that comes with the download explicitly state permissions that were given by each font maker by name. If it's possible, perhaps each font by name as well.

aluminum's picture

"Again you sound so shure of this. Have you gone thru the entire collection and checked? What makes a font useful is subjective."

...and objective.

Objectively, I think many would agree that in terms of power-house, versatile typefaces that can be a solid tool in your toolbox, in the realm of the free, there aren't a whole lot. Sure, there's plenty of one-off useful display faces. I won't argue any of the subjective points of those.

That was merely my opinion. You may disagree.

"check the EULA on those fonts you spent a few minutes collecting. How many allow commercial use or even contain a EULA that makes any sense?"

That's what I was getting at...there are only a few dozen that really offer true open source and/or freeware and/or public domain licenses that give you free reign.

I won't get into 'making sense' as I'm not so sure a lot of commercial font EULAs make a whole lot of sense either ;o)

For the record, I really have nothing against this download thing. I just find having 10000 fonts somewhat pointless, regardless of the quality/cost.

"For $20 if you get even 10 quality fonts that are licensed for commercial use, it’s a pretty good deal."

Exactly. It'd almost be a better deal if the collection WERE divided into smaller $20 downloads. Part of what you pay for is convenience, and I'm not sure slogging through 10,000 fonts is a convenient thing to do:

- Download all 10,000 faces for $20

or

- download these select 10 text faces for $30
- download these select 10 display faces for $30
- etc.

It sounds silly, perhaps, but I'd probably opt for the latter. Yea, I'm paying more for less, but I'm gaining a lot of time.

Space Octopus's picture

I made an account mostly so I could thank you guys, as this discussion is really going to help me make my decision. Really awesome discussion and opinions, and really helpful too! So thanks a lot :) I really appreciate it.

piccic's picture

Ray: I am sure the author is in good faith, as you assure, and that has granted you a fee for your faces.
But just a quick browsing at the typefaces shows many Letraset or other professional type designs, for example Croissant and Cortez (with different names) by Philip Kelly, which are currently still on sale in digital versions.
They are also named differently, which at least makes you wonder where they originated.

Even if they are “free fonts” to start with, this does not mean they aren’t potentially altered copies of commercial versions. Or am I missing something?

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