Archive through July 23, 2003

longlegzs80's picture

I have never downloaded anything before, but just curious as to how to go upon it. I want to get a font collection going for projects that I am in the process of working on now, and I need help. ]

I just need help with the whole thing, I know you can just go to these font sites and download either for MAc or PC, but is there anything I should know beforehand.

Please, if anyone has experience or knowledge of downloading fonts, please let me know. Thanks.

hrant's picture

You go to a place like MyFonts.com and you pay for the stuff!
Typophile is just about your worst bet for a piracy hub.

hhp

plainclothes's picture

Sarah inquired...
"I know you can just go to these font sites and
download either for MAc or PC, but is there anything I
should know beforehand."

you get one of three things:
1) a poorly executed rip-off of someone's valiant
commercial effort
2) a poorly executed, uninformed, "original" design
3) one of those _very_ rare gems that might come in
handy for display work some day

I have yet to see a functional text font among these
ranks; maybe someone can show me otherwise. I'm
not sure where that whole Gentium project stands...

plainclothes's picture

adendum to the above post:

in reference to my third list item, even those rare gems
require some very careful kerning. of course, that
comes with the use of most display type.

in reference to Gentium, my primary concern for text
setting is the lack of small caps and text numerals. it
doesn't appear that there have been any updates in
recent months, but here's a link to the site.
<http://www.sil.org/~gaultney/gentium/>

kakaze's picture

There are some pretty good quality fonts at the Lab (http://www.apostrophiclab.com). Apostrophe himself just uploaded a new text font, though it's only has Roman and Italic members right now.

Most of the Lab fonts are novelty, but there are a few text fonts.

hawk's picture

NO NO NO NO NO NO NO No NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO. There is NO Free Font!!!!

is there - free book? free car? free house? free nike? free coca-cola? free pen?

SO WHY FREE FONT?


David Hamuel

Grant Hutchinson's picture

Re: Gentium

Victor Gaultney spoke regarding Gentium at TypeCon last week. The project is still very much alive, and there are future plans to expand the family - time and resources willing.

plainclothes's picture

"Does this group's membership actively support known
font pirates and routinely recommend their fonts?"

I assume you are referring to the Apostrophe
recommendation, which I can tell you we do not do
regularly. in fact, I was a little surprised someone was
daring enough to promote his work at all here!
however, I think the fonts on that site say all that
needs to be said about free fonts.

glutton's picture

Sarah,

Take the above comments with a grain of salt. What you need to know is that a large percentage of the people here are in the business of selling type, and therefore are opposed in principle to the distribution of free fonts, whether legit or stolen.

And it's true that generally the for-profit fonts are better designed and more complete. But for amateurs and collectors, there is nothing at all wrong with seeking out free fonts. My only advice is to be careful in using the fonts in projects -- especially professional projects -- and only use those that are definitely freeware or that you have purchased.

hrant's picture

> Does this group's membership actively support
> known font pirates and routinely recommend
> their fonts?

1) There isn't really a Policy.
2) Apostrophe has formally recanted.
3) I for one don't have a Hell that I send people to eternally.

hhp

hrant's picture

> Want your country out of its bad economic state?

No, I want my country out of the clutches of American vulture megacorporations.

You see, if you equate piracy with the fight against global slavery (the US lifestyle), then I'm all for it! But it's not the same thing - it's better in some ways (nobody gets killed), worse in others (it doesn't help the right people).

--

> I was hoping that this list does not condone font piracy.

Font piracy is in fact the only think this forum doesn't seem to tolerate.
It even tolerates incorrigible capitalists! :-)

hhp

Nick Shinn's picture

>the Lab is one popular source for them

The way I understand it, Fred Nader was taken to court by a number of foundries for making their fonts available on a "usenet". However, the free fonts on the apostrophiclab.com site are acceptably original. Is this correct? Is Fred Nader still a pirate?

The ethics of the type designer, the price, and the quality of fonts, are three separate issues. If you are looking for a free version of an established typeface, that's an unprofessional thing to do, for the reasons Joe mentioned. However, a font such as Fred Nader's free Republika appears to be original and good quality.

I've never discussed his court case, or his philosophy on copyright, with him, but Fred Nader did once mention that he was at the ATypI conference a few years ago when Book Antiqua was premiered, and Hermann Zapf walked out in disgust.

OK Joe, forget the Lab, let's start a petition to get Book Antiqua withdrawn. (Or did its publishers settle with Zapf?)

hrant's picture

> Is Fred Nader still a pirate?

It seems that he's not. But one can't be certain that he truly does regret previously being one (as he says), especially since the foundries that came after him got nothing, and in fact lost a lot.

BTW, is it true that Fred was going to help organize the Toronto TypeCon, but he was strong-armed out?

> let's start a petition to get Book Antiqua withdrawn.

The timing is interesting! There's currently a [potentially momentous] discussion on the ATypI list about its role as an ethical lighthouse in the world of type, and how to correct past transgressions.

That said, some Famous Designers are protectionist to the point of mania.

hhp

Nick Shinn's picture

>BTW, is it true that Fred was going to help organize the Toronto TypeCon, but he was strong-armed out?

SoTA does not use strong-arm tactics.

The local organizers from the start were Rod McDonald, myself (both already on the SoTA board), and Brian Maloney (Toronto Type Club)

I approached a number of Canadian type designers to speak, including Fred, but he declined (or never got back to me).

>discussion on the ATypI list

I didn't know about that.

hrant's picture

> SoTA does not use strong-arm tactics.

But it might be susceptible to such from its sponsors.

Anyway, thanks for clarifying in public an issue you didn't seem to want to address in private. Normally it's the other way around.

hhp

jay's picture

Uh, now that we've settled the pirate question, how do we collectively feel about Adobe? I've not noticed a lot of use of the "A" word around here...

I ask because if you are a student, the Adobe "Classics for Learning" package, 400 fonts for $99, seems like a pretty good deal. And its legal.

Jared Benson's picture

Sarah,

True, you can download free fonts for PC or Mac, but you've got to realize that you get what you pay for. In most cases, free fonts lack the quality you would find in purchasing the font through an established foundry, especially if you're intending on using these fonts for professional use.

For what its worth, there's a list of free font sites (and foundries) in the Typophile Open Directory Project. Most fonts that you would download would come in a compressed format, likely .ZIP or .SIT, so make sure you have an uncompression tool handy (Pkunzip, Stuffit Expander).

anonymous's picture

Sarah Scheer -

You had asked:
"I want to get a font collection going for projects that I am in the process of working on now, and I need help."

Not knowing anything about how long you've been around graphic design, or advertising, apart from your being a recent student (according to your profile here), I'd like to interject one thing, if I may.

It's very important to have a budget for type that somehow relates to how you are choosing to run your studio, or how you might be a working designer within an agency. Or, a publication designer for an alumni magazine.

A possible approach:

1) Whittle down to a short list of which legitimately sold, commercial fonts that you might want to start with.

At an absolute minimum?

Two four-weight type families would give you great flexibility; one being a sanserif family and one being a serif family. Ok, add one more: You should probably have at least one useful script font that you wouldn't be embarassed to use repeatedly.

Each of the four-weight families would have a Book, Bold, Book Italic and Bold Italic. For flexibility.

That might come to about $150 to $200.

Too costly for one month?

2) Choose one of the four-weight families, and just buy that.

3) Here's the only hard part: Which one?

You'll do yourself and your client a great favor by using something credible but
a) Not a System Font;
b) Not a typical newspaper or magazine text font;
c) Not something you see everyday.

Quiz your client(s) on their preferences, in very general terms, for serif or sanserif in display and in text.

If they express no preference, or trust you as designer implicitly (which is where you can get to over time when you do things proactively and responsibly to engender the client's trust), then simply choose what you like. Don't get too hung up with serif versus sanserif, to start out.

The point is to start giving your work the legitimacy of using authentically crafted, high quality fonts. And to start right from the get go, doing something unique.

Check out that the character sets are complete and well made, and that the fonts have adequate kerning and spacing that actually does work. Make sure the mood suits your needs, and that the numbers (figures) and currency marks and punctuation do what they're supposed to.

You can simply e-mail or phone the type foundries and ask. They (and we) love to get questions from designers who have made type important to their work.

Here's the surprisingly easy part, if you open your mind to it:

4) Get the client to pay for it!

Within the structure of a project or campaign quote, the cost of fonts is very inexpensive. If you work with historically cheap clients, it will simply be necessary to take them through what you're trying to bring to their project or campaign through uniqueness. Discuss it as a natural extension of the branding effort. Which, after all, is true.

Trust me, it works! But the responsible designer starts to consider the need for distinct, quality typefaces and build that in early, into the early strategizing and into the early quote discussions and paperwork. It's every bit as crucial to the long term credibility of your work as buying illustration or photography will be. And since type often carries where there's no budget at all for illustration or photography, one could make the point that it's more crucial.

All that is a much more important consideration to your design career than spending lots of time that could be used for creativity, instead trying to 'score free fonts'. Much more important.

Good luck. And don't forget: It's your career that you're formulating. Your life's work!

Joe

anonymous's picture

A quick question for the group, as I've only come here recently:

Does this group's membership actively support known font pirates and routinely recommend their fonts?

I'm just generally curious. Thanks.

Joe

anonymous's picture

I know that Apostrophe is on a bunch of people's sh1t-list, but jeez, the OP was asking where to find free fonts. YES david, they do exist, and the Lab is one popular source for them. One could have instead suggested any of the "1001" style sites filled with ALLTYPE rip-offs, or heavens to betsy even alt.binaries.fonts where throngs of "real" fonts are passed about willy-nilly. But no one did, thank goodness.

anonymous's picture

John Baichtal wrote

>Take the above comments with a grain of salt.
>What you need to know is that a large percentage
>of the people here are in the business of selling
>type, and therefore are opposed in principle to
>the distribution of free fonts, whether legit or
>stolen.


Well, it is actually possible for a type foundry person to dispense advice solely coming from years laboring in art direction, prior to getting into type design. Which is the kind of advice I was dispensing, in the case of my post: compartmentalized.

An aside: Would it be less confusing for the group if I always ended my posts with my full sig block? (I don't because it seems to me to be too much for the very cleanly designed environment this list has.)


>And it's true that generally the for-profit fonts
>are better designed and more complete. But for
>amateurs and collectors, there is nothing at all
>wrong with seeking out free fonts. My only advice
>is to be careful in using the fonts in projects --
>especially professional projects -- and only use
>those that are definitely freeware or that you
>have purchased.


I have to ask, then, why spend time with fonts that you as a designer might have to avoid using?

A graphic designer or art director, etc., of course spends much of their career on deadline. Often impossible deadlines. Isn't it better for a former student entering the profession to ground themselves in known quality and acknowledged reliability first?

(How to find out who's who? In addition to lists like this, design organizations can guide to quality type manufacturers.)

Many in this group will likely have the tools to open up a font. And from there, determine by educated guess whether it might be reliably enough built to trust on a real-world deadline job with thousands of the client's dollars and your reputation, all on the line.

But even if you have the tools, there's still a learning curve to really being able to tell.

I don't mean to get into a big to-do about this, but it seems to me that for a person who's serious about a design career - and if they think they might want to actually advance to a stellar career - knowingly spending time with questionably made fonts is a counterproductive career move.

Just as you'd never want to commission art from a truly lame illustrator. Or photography from a terrible photographer.

For the design professional, why surround oneself with mediocrity?

Yes, for amateurs and collectors, there is nothing at all wrong with seeking out free fonts...as long as the are not unlicensed commercial properties. Have fun!

As in other collecting pursuits, starting by obtaining catalogs and then going from there to seeking out actual fonts is a more sensible, logical starting point rather than starting by scouring the internet everything that's free and trying to max out your font menu.

Especially for the beginner and near-beginner, those can be overwhelming and confusing.

Joe

anonymous's picture

Hrant wrote,

>I for one don't have a Hell that I send people to eternally.


Nor do I, hopefully. But I was just asking in general, not pointing fingers at any entity in particular.

I don't think font pirates - or those who believe that font pirates are some kind of godlike style leaders - truly realize how much collateral damage they do to the type profession. It's quite a lot of ongoing, serious damage.

Could it be related to all the hyperventilating about terrorism? Sure. It's exactly that, on a software plane.

It destroys profitability and the ability to create taxable income to buoy the countries the commercial foundries reside in.

Worst of all, the widespread, longterm financial effect is to slow growth in commercial font development.

For all the development seen since 1984, there would be quite a lot more, and there would be many more staff and intern position availabilities at commercial foundries, if pirates were seen as what they really are, and shunned.

Want your country out of its bad economic state? Think about the billions of real dollars lost to software piracy annually, globally. Font piracy, in it's corner, takes its toll and contributes to the bad economic conditions that have been plaguing us all for so long.

As a newbie to the list, I was hoping that this list does not condone font piracy.

Joe

Miss Tiffany's picture

Although some freeware fonts, legitimately so, aren't good enough to set paragraphs with, you could see them as Letraset rub-down letters. I've use some freeware fonts for personal things, fliers and notes, and have had a blast monkeying with them.

History has shown me that it is good to do research and as much reading on type as possible. Visiting blogs or just visiting Typophile can help all of us educate ourselves on the rights and wrongs of using differently obtained type.

Miss Tiffany's picture

This was mentioned by the brilliant lettering artist and type designer Keith Tam in another thread. It is a great deal. I have a pessimistic opinion of why more teachers don't push this, but I think it should be a mandatory purchase. Train them straight away that purchasing fonts is the way to go.

Please, no one jump down my throat about money and students and living and etc. I know that being a student generally equals being poor. But it seems that if computers are starting to be required, they should come padded with fonts.

anonymous's picture

Tiffany Wardle said

"But it seems that if computers are starting to be required, they should come padded with fonts."

Computer operating systems, at least since about 1984, have been padded with fonts. Probably about 12 on Mac, a dozen on Windows, (and as an aside) was it 25 fonts "free", built into laserprinter firmware? (Those numbers might be wrong.)

Now, we might not like them especially*, but OS makers could have made fonts (even those mandated by the OS to be there) a separate purchase item from the very beginning of the microcomputer age.

(Gee, can you imagine what that would have been like?)

What would stop a university, for instance, doing a bulk license for distribution of a 'educational core set' of additional fonts to its students, to them be made available for download upon admission or on moving into the dorm? Probably not much, if such an idea were ever advanced during purchasing cycles.

Maybe a program like that for higher education already exists somewhere.

(*I, for one, am still getting over LaserWriter v.23's Helv. 'a' and '8'.... silly Silly Putty! That alone made me question the real usefulness of fonts that are provided free. Shudder.)

Joe


Miss Tiffany's picture

Joe -- I was referring to the Adobe pack. I'm exhausted from TypeCon and have found myself very lazy in typing and all else. :-)

With OS X, computers are now "padded" (silly term, shouldn't have used it) with some very nice typefaces. I can't complain about those. It is a step forward and does help students move away from using the system fonts.

I know for a fact that Berkelee College of Music in Boston now requires students to purchase laptops. I think that makes a lot of sense. I remember in the days when I was a student, before it became somewhat common for students to own there own, for the running excuse to be, "there were no computers left to use." Those days are gone. Computer labs are common. But, you still face the problems of font usage and abusage.

anonymous's picture

Grant Hutchinson had earlier said

>"Victor Gaultney spoke regarding Gentium at
>TypeCon last week. The project is still very much
>alive, and there are future plans to expand the
>family - time and resources willing."

and I meant to reply....

That's great news! What an excellent, excellent body of work Gentium is.

I haven't yet had the luxury of studying every character independently, but overall, it's very nice. Awe-inspiring.

And I still thank my lucky stars that I never encountered that dog photo (used in Mr Hutchinson's sidebar photo above) in an animated Flash way.

Still photo, ink on paper, was (ahem!) more than enough.

(When it originally appeared, did it make everyone want to buy more fonts? Or less?)

Joe

anonymous's picture

Tiffany Wardle said

"I know for a fact that Berkelee College of Music in Boston now requires students to purchase laptops. I think that makes a lot of sense. I remember in the days when I was a student, before it became somewhat common for students to own there own, for the running excuse to be, "there were no computers left to use." Those days are gone. Computer labs are common. But, you still face the problems of font usage and abusage."

Agreed! "there were no computers left to use." must be terribly frustrating to students.

The Adobe pack seems like a great idea.

Yes, unbelievably low-priced bundles do dilute the potential market for type in the strictest sense, but such a pack makes a great entry level volume.

And at least coming from Adobe Systems, one can be assured of more quality, much more, than, say, the $10. CD of fonts down at the OfficeMax end aisle bin.

I'm glad to see type makers reaching out to students.

(To students and educators: e-mail and phone type makers and tell them what you think you need, that you aren't currently seeing available for educational use. You can bet they'd love to hear from you. All the type makers I know take any and all suggestions to heart.)

Joe

anonymous's picture

Hrant said

>"No, I want my country out of the clutches of
>American vulture megacorporations.

I'll definitely second that.

That major U.S. corporations are still cooking the books (according to the press this week) is cause for serious pause. And action.

I was looking at a copy of Fortune from 1968 that I picked up at a tag sale awhile back - because of the ads inside - and I was struck by an ad by the NYSE - a two-page spread - touting their stringent guidelines for being listed on that board.

In the aftermath of all the recent tomfoolery, I could look at that 1968 list and say, gee, they hardly had any standards for acceptance at all.

Shocking stuff, really.

<political_foray>

It really is time for middle managers everywhere to rise up and - yea, though I slog through the valley of capitalist darkness - to overthrow the supposedly bright corporate leaders.

Yea, let Dilbert be your guide.

I'm only half kidding. After four years of this, it really is time to do something. Anything. The sheer numbers of unemployed is truly staggering.

</political_foray>


Of course, in the words of one former knockoff font 'vendor' now long gone, all for-profit type manufacturers make up the 'heinous capitalist oligarchy'.

So, maybe the overthrow should start with for-profit type makers!

;-)

Joe

anonymous's picture

Hrant said

>"That said, some Famous Designers are
>protectionist to the point of mania.

Probably true in some corners.

But I really believe that most type designers who are put into a position of feeling that they have to speak out to protect their work (as Mr Zapf has on so many occasions, and with such eloquence) that they do so very reluctantly.

Even if they have had their expenses paid for the travel and lodging, by their publisher.

I think most would rather be in the studio, drawing.

And living and working with the conviction that they will be paid at least enough annually to minimally survive without taking second or third jobs pumping gas or delivering the mail.

Out of curiosity: Are there any documented, true stories of type designers out there actually living a millionaire lifestyle? Have there been any documented over the past 100 years?

Bruce Rogers? Eric Gill? Goudy?

High rollers?

(With all the money Gill apparently saved on underwear, surely....)

Joe

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