Font licence

bbpal's picture

I haven't worked in a long while so the answer to my questions may seem obvious to all of you but please bear with me....

When working on a small budget what is the best way to present an idea to a client besides purchasing a font immediately and using it in a design. What do most people do, buy the font or first show a PDF downloaded from one of the type shops hoping the client has enough immagination?

It would be nice to pay a small fee for using it in the presentation process and then paying the entire fee once it's going to be used, is that possible?

dan_reynolds's picture

Most foundries and resellers have an area on their website, or under each font in their display list that reads something like "Test" or "Try"

You can type in a few words, and sometimes even select size or color, and it will render those specifications in the font accordingly. You can then make a screen shot of the image to show to a client. Some even have "Save Image As" options built in (On the Linotype website, under each individual font display, you can "make a postcard with this font" or something like that, which you can then e-mail. Every web site does this differently, and some smaller foundries' sites aren't sophisticated enough to have these options built in (although if they sell over MyFonts, you can do it there).

If a few words aren't enough to persuade your client, you'll have to show them a PDF of the font, if the foundry has that as an option (even if they do have it, the PDFs are not always good or interesting :-( ). In general, there are no "try before you buy" fonts, because that type of license cannot yet be controlled easily with present technology (although I'm not sure why not!)

bbpal's picture

Thanks Dan, very helpful!

symb0logy's picture

This probably wouldnt sound very ethical to most. But you could just rip all the fonts you want off the net and present them however you want to your clients. Since it's not the final press copy to be displayed there wont be any legal issues. But after the client aproves of your design you simply purchase the license.
I dont see the error in doing so.

dan_reynolds's picture

>Since it's not the final press copy to be displayed there wont be any legal >issues.

This is ridiculous! Of course there are legal issues invoved here! What you are saying is that someone who does this is less likely to get caught. Posting commercial fonts on the net, and downloading them, are both illegal. If you illegally download a font, but never "use" it, you've still broken the law. Fonts aren't "pay to use," they are "pay to have."

By saying, "oh, I'll just download these ten fonts for a 'test,' but I'll buy the one that I really want later," you tread down a slippery slope. It is comments like this that both silently encourage piracy, and which devalue all of our work!

symb0logy's picture

Ok so what would be the difference between a designer who presents his own work having fully purchased all the type and someone who hasnt. The client is totaly oblivious in this matter. Its just a matter of ethics on the part of the designer. Furthermore when it comes to the subject of type which is so widely proliferated on the net it would be ignorant not to take such simple measures. Plus you are not actually using the font commercialy so I don't know where you got "Posting commercial fonts on the net" from, but just for viewing purposes. Just like the original source allows you to do. Finaly there is absolutely no personal or commercial gain because any application that you use the type for requires a license; common sense.

union's picture

a lot of foundries will provide you with the font for your presentation, on agreement that it is purchased if the work goes ahead.

I know we do :

dan_reynolds's picture

Uploading commercial typefaces to sites where other designers can download them is illegal. That is what I meant by "posting" commercial typefaces online. "Sharing" your typefaces with other designers is also illegal. If no designers ever broke their EULAs, then there would be no font piracy! But there is font piracy, because there are so many illegal "copies" of fonts floating around our community. Only we can put a dent in this practice.

This isn't about the clients at all. This is about you, and me, other designers, and our ethical systems. It is the legal and moral responsibility of all individual designers to use typefaces properly and "legally." Your telling people just to "borrow" fonts is part of the problem.

You started your posting by stating that others would dissagree with the ethics of your suggestion; you knew that what you were suggesting was wrong. Piracy poses a serious threat to our industry, and to the livelihoods of many people who post on these boards, including myself. Fonts don't grow on trees, they are made by real people. If these people aren't prepared to give away "test" versions of their fonts for free, then you should respect that.

Type designers don't give away test versions of their fonts because they know that not everyone will delete these "test" copies after the "tests" are over, or buy proper font licenses 100% of the time when they already have a "working version" on their hard drives.

hrant's picture

Pavel, what you're describing is most certainly illegal. But to me that's secondary, and the worse part is that most people don't have the self-discipline to keep it ethical, by subsequently deleting all the fonts they downloaded but didn't end up buying. Many people wouldn't even bother paying for the chosen font in the end! Do you have the self-discipline to keep your illegal action from infesting the ethical sphere? I know I generally might not. Fortunately I don't use fonts very much - I just make them. :-)

So unless you're sure you have the self-discipline to overpower the illegality of an action by shining in the ethical sphere, don't do it! It would be like Martha Stewart comparing herself to Nelson Mandela. Can you believe that shite?


Si_Daniels's picture

> The client is totaly oblivious in this matter.

I'm sure this is usually true, but not always the case. I recall the nice woman from Target speaking at TypeCon Minneapolis describing how she makes a good effort in tracking down license information for the fonts her designers use.

Also the client getting a nastygram from Emigre or some other foundry or designer would certainly remove the obliviousness, and they

William Berkson's picture

Barbara, if you contact a font vendor, they might be willing to do a PDF for you of a small sample. I sent Veer a sample of text with specifications for measure and leading, and they sent me a PDF sample of it in the font I was thinking of buying for a project.

symb0logy's picture

I think you all missed the point. This somehow veered off into ripping off fonts... which it wasnt about in the first place. If you dont buy the licence then thats just stealing.

dan_reynolds's picture

Well, that isn't what you said before

symb0logy's picture

Yes lets just drop it... this debate can go on forever.

dan_reynolds's picture

Huh? This doesn't really have much to do with Release

dan_reynolds's picture

Well, I thought that we were still on general ethics on the part of designers and such, which are more than release-specific EULA things. But I respect you opinion :-)

Stephen Coles's picture

FontShop and most of the indie foundries will do custom sample PDFs as well.

Miss Tiffany's picture

Thread moved to RELEASE

Miss Tiffany's picture

I disagree. The conversation veered toward the EULA. Didn't it?

Miss Tiffany's picture

And I respect yours too. :^)

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