I am in sore need of some schooling

Plaidjaney's picture

I've been a book designer in a large publishing house for about five years now. I recently started freelancing because of a move and took a lot of fonts with me from my previous projects I did in house. Lately I've been having problems with my fonts in that they are not complete sets, etc. I used to be able to look into a folder and see the font and screen font and know that I was okay. Now, I have no idea what I am looking at to know that I have a viable font. There are, for instance, in one folder, Font Suitcase, a lot of PostScript Type 1 outline fonts and a Unix Executable File. I have no idea what any of this means and if the font files will be okay for printing. Can any of you help to school me in what constitutes a good font folder? I'm so bewildered here. Sometimes, when a font goes wacky, a little (T1) will pop up in parenthesis by my font name in INDD. I work in InDesign 3 on a Mac. Thank you so much!

jupiterboy's picture

If I were you I would delete all the files that you have not personally licensed. This will put you in good legal standing, and it will also allow you to start your own library of up-to-date fonts.

Plaidjaney's picture

I know that that is the right answer and I am trying to do that, but I seriously would have, like ten fonts left. I want to be there eventually, Jupiterboy, but need some basic help in the meantime.

Nick Cooke's picture

You said it.

Nick Cooke

Plaidjaney's picture

Just a note-I've been visiting typophile for years now and have a lot of respect for the members and the knowledge they possess. I am looking for answers that will help me understand fonts better. Thank you.

Renata Graw's picture

Make sure you add a typeface budget for every project. That helps building a nice library.

Plaidjaney's picture

That is a good idea. Thanks.

Bert Vanderveen's picture

You probably copied these files between trans-OS media (eg from Mac to Win, or the other way round). That will cause damage to the fontfiles that is very difficult and time-consuming to repair.
Given your situation you are better off to work with the fonts that are licensed with the software you’ll (hopefully) use (Adobe apps, Corel). That will give you a nice start. Add to your library when circumstances and clients warrant this.

(I did it this way over a period of two decades of designing…)

. . .
Bert Vanderveen BNO

paragraph's picture

This worries me a bit.

‘took a lot of fonts with me from my previous projects I did in house’

Apart from what we, as type designers, might think, what does your past employer think of it?
Do you realise that they might regard these fonts as their property?


Plaidjaney's picture

Yes-I think I will need to invest in some fonts. I honestly did not think about it as taking in that way. I just took the designs I had created to showcase in my portfolio and the fonts came with. I didn't think I was doing anything wrong, but I can see that it does not sound good at all, especially to those that make their living doing this. Thanks for enlightening me.

Si_Daniels's picture

A cautionary tale: A few years back a type designer we'd worked with on a custom font for a hardware product sent me a scan of an ad' he'd spotted in an outdoors/mountaineering magazine, that seemed to be using the font. Sent mail to the company and it turned out that a designer had taken the fonts with him when he left an agency, forgot what they were associated with and used them in the ad. Red faces all round.

jupiterboy's picture

It is really an opportunity. If you need samples of your work, do a little EULA homework and see if someone on the inside can help generate some legal PDFs.

tamye's picture

I have heard some other horror stories about employees and students showing up with work in their portfolios using pirated fonts that the interviewers had actually designed and knew they were not legal licenses. Plus... you wouldn't want some someone to rip you off... it's hard not to have tons of fonts to play with, but lots of designers use one or three families and make it work! You can do it. And there are so many fonts priced so reasonably these days... and there are quite a few decent ones that are free... and your OS comes with some sweet little glyphs. Look deeper.

Joostmarcellis's picture

@Tamye: come on man, you can't expect a student to buy all of his fonts, but as soon as you start to use them commercially you should get a licenced version

Yehan's picture

haha..horror stories indeed. I think it's a test for the student to be able to use simple fonts and still make it look good. That said..sometimes you need something extra..and fonts aren't cheap:( sadly. I recently bought a font for a project that the client didn't use it in the end..(radical change) so yeah..I got burned pretty bad.

bemerx25's picture

Which is why you charge the client for things such as font and stock purchases. It should be a part of your contract and something they should expect you to bill for.

Yehan's picture

yeeah..usually. But it was a freelance..and a lump sum payment. So i was taking a gamble..which didn't pay off:(

Si_Daniels's picture

The student pirate vs professional pirate vs font collector pirate vs amateur pirate vs the corporate pirate is a whole other can of Oprah, and has been discussed many times before.

Janet is a professional, so bringing in the student angle takes things off track.

dezcom's picture

Ask your previous employer to send you a PDF of your work.


blank's picture

I have heard some other horror stories about employees and students showing up with work in their portfolios using pirated fonts that the interviewers had actually designed and knew they were not legal licenses.

I always love the warning H&FJ has about that in their intern FAQ. Talk about an easy way to blow an interview!

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