What to do? Client wants me to use a font I don't have, but I can't bill for it and buying it negates the profit.

I picked up a client that uses Optima as their standard face. Despite it's ubiquity, I don't actually own Optima. It's a small email blast, so billing for the font would send the client elsewhere. Likewise, purchasing the Optima family would negate my profits.

Is there an ethical and legal solution here that still lets me make money on the project?

Can I obtain and use Optima for free (like a printer does) for use solely on this project because the client has already purchased it?

Any ideas out there?

Thanks,
Kenny

Bendy's picture

Doesn't the client's licence allow you to use it for them?

You may not need to buy the whole family if it's just a small job.

nina's picture

"purchasing the Optima family would negate my profits"

Maybe this time, but it's not like the fonts will evaporate after a single use.
How big are the chances you can do something for this client again? Then next time you'd already have the fonts.
And like Bendy says, can't you just get the one or two styles you need?

lindenhayn's picture

not sure if that helps, but for non-commercial use, URW's Optima Classico is available under the Aladdin Free Public License:
http://www.ctan.org/tex-archive/fonts/urw/

kennymcnett's picture

Thanks for all the notes everyone!

Bendy, that's my question exactly. If my client's license allows me to use it, then I could acquire the font and use it just for this client's projects. But is that legal?

I could get the one or two styles I need, but in the end I'm trying to avoid incurring costs but still stay legal. I guess the real question falls back to what Bendy asked. Does the client's license allow me to use it for that client's work, even though it's not on the client's computer?

Nina, true, I may be doing more work for this client, but I might not. In essence it's like I'm trading my work to get a font. I see the invested future value there, but if I can avoid it I'd like to.

Nick, great suggestion. How similar would you say Opus is to Optima? 70%? 95%? I wish I were better at comparing faces.

Linden, alas, this is a commercial job. Thanks though!

Bendy's picture

Opus does look very similar to Optima (95%?). Check it's got all the glyphs you'll need though.

Re licence, it will depend on how many licences the client has for Optima. When I license fonts, I usually buy 'up to 5 machines' so I can send fonts to our design agency or printers if needed. The client needs to know how many licences they hold and whether they're site licences or machine licenses. If they have the EULA, read that to see if they're allowed to send it to their printers/designers...you can always uninstall it afterwards.

dan_reynolds's picture

Unfortunately, your client's license does not permit you to use Optima. Your client most likely has a license to use Optima on a specific number of computers, at his office's location. If you did the work on one of his computers, in his office, you would be covered. If you did the work on one of his computers outside of the office (like on one of his laptops), you would probably also be covered. But you cannot acquire the font from him (or from someone else who might have it) and be covered by his EULA.

I think that you have three (legal) options in this case: First, you could license just the fonts that you need for this one email blast. Second, you could use a typeface very similar to Optima, like one of the ones mentioned above. Third, you could opt not to do the work for the client. If you absolutely have to buy the fonts, and the client is paying you less than the cost of those fonts for the work, then this project is not economically viable. You should not do work for a client at a loss (unless, perhaps, you think that you might get more work from the client in the future, and you can afford the loss of time and funds at the moment).

Té Rowan's picture

@lindenhayn: If I understand the AFPL correctly, commercial use is OK ("Activities other than copying, distribution and modification of the Program are not subject to this License and they are outside its scope."), but selling AFPL-covered materiel is No Go. That would mean that using the AFPL-covered URW Classico for commercial purposes should be OK.

Oh, and talking of URW Classico... ADF (Arkandis Digital Foundry) has a style kit for it, URW Garamond No8 and URW Palladio that adds smallcaps and old-style figures.

If I am wrong, the very similar Linux Biolinum may be an acceptable substitute. That one is dual-licensed: GPL/OFL.

russellm's picture

Charge more & don't buy the whole family.

Others may not care all that much, but a client, I would would not accept a substitute.

dezcom's picture

Ask the client if he would pay for 1/4 of the font price? That would be fair usage for him and you get to keep the fonts. The client would then only have to purchase the fonts if he wanted to view the the native files instead of a PDF of what you send him?

JamesM's picture

Is your client going to ask you for a copy of the native file (InDesign or whatever) in addition to a PDF at the end of the project? If so, it might be risky to substitute a similar-but-cheaper font without telling them. Your client would be annoyed if they tried to open the files later and got a "font not found" message, and they realized you didn't use their official font but instead substituted a font they don't own.

Another possible approach -- although this would be somewhat unwieldy -- would be to prepare the job using a different font and then ask a friend who owned Optima to let you use their computer for a few minutes while you change the fonts to Optima and make a PDF.

oldnick's picture

Another possible approach -- although this would be somewhat unwieldy -- would be to prepare the job using a different font and then ask a friend who owned Optima to let you use their computer for a few minutes while you change the fonts to Optima and make a PDF.

I know from sad experience that this approach will only work with no unintended consequences if the "borrowed" fonts are exactly the same as your client's fonts. Different cuts from different vendors can re-wrap and cause disastrous results.

Bert Vanderveen's picture

Why not let your client 'sign over' the license for a limited time — say a weekend. Should cover all the legal hullabaloo…

kennymcnett's picture

Thanks everyone. I ended up buying the Opus family for $13 to comp. Then I informed the client of the switch and offered to purchase the Optima fonts I needed if necessary, though I explained why I didn't think there was a need.

Waiting to hear back from the client. We'll see how it goes.

Thanks again everyone!

Kenny

brianskywalker's picture

Doesn't Optima come default on Mac OS? I have it.

twiggy's picture

Doesn't Optima come default on Mac OS? I have it.

Yes, it does appear to.

dezcom's picture

But how old is the Optima? I thought it came with System 9?

kentlew's picture

An Optima.dfont came with Mac OSX 10.3 and 10.5. (I passed over 10.4 Tiger). I presume it’s still part of 10.6 Snow Leopard.

I’m guessing that Kenny is not on a Mac.

JamesM's picture

> I presume it’s still part of 10.6 Snow Leopard.

Yes it is.

Uli's picture

Optima is public domain. It came out 50 years ago.

Most of Hermann Zapf's fonts are public domain. According to the Alicante data base, even the Zapfino design lapsed, but the Palatino Sans design is still registered.

brianskywalker's picture

Modern Optima is a bit different than what came out 50 years ago. Digital formats have changed a few things.

Palatino Sans?

aluminum's picture

Bigger question: Why are you putting Optima in my email!? ;)

brianskywalker's picture

Yes, yes. When I get something in my inbox that uses Optima, I'll know who to blame! ;)

typerror's picture

I doubt that Zapfino has lapsed. It is only 12 years old. I think your source is BS.

Bert Vanderveen's picture

The older digital versions of Optima lack the subtle curves in stems etc. of the original (due to the puny processing power in the RIPs at the time) — I would not contemplate using any PostScript-version. Go for an OTF.

Uli's picture

typerror:

> I doubt that Zapfino has lapsed. It is only 12 years old. I think your source is BS.

BS = Bullshit ???

Do you think that the Alicante Design office is Bullshit ???

www.sanskritweb.net/temporary/Zapfino-lapsed-Alicante.pdf

Do you think that the Munich Design office is Bullshit ???

www.sanskritweb.net/temporary/Zapfino-lapsed-Munich.pdf

quadibloc's picture

Bert Vanderveen:
The older digital versions of Optima lack the subtle curves in stems etc. of the original
This is interesting. What I heard and remembered - which may well be wrong - was that while the tapered curves of the original Optima were included in the font outlines of even the earliest Type 1 and TrueType renderings of Optima, since the taper was subtle, it didn't show up properly on the printed page... due to the puny 300dpi resolution of the laser printers at the time.

That is not to say that processing power, or something like it, wouldn't have been an issue. Hinting algorithms embodied within the fonts themselves dealt with making sure that character alignment didn't do violence to the widths of stems in screen display and things like that. For the subtle taper of Optima, instead of dragging boundaries to the nearest pixel boundary, while one might drag the base of the curve there, what one then needs to do is dither the dots to represent the boundary's gradual tapered movement.

That may not have been anticipated - leading to Hermann Zapf designing a successor to Optima for laser printer applications that didn't have the taper. The name of which I don't recall off the top of my head.

Uli's picture

typerror:

> I doubt that Zapfino has lapsed. It is only 12 years old. I think your source is BS.

To be sure that a font is definitely public domain, one has to take into consideration the maximum period of protection of 25 years. Hence my documents here

http://www.sanskritweb.net/forgers/publicdomain.pdf

and here

http://www.sanskritweb.net/forgers/publicdomain2.pdf

However, since font buyers are dimwits believing the lie that a font is design protected, even though the protection period has lapsed, Linotype does no longer bother to waste money on protecting fonts for the full period of 25 years. Hence even Hermann Zapf's Zapfino fell into public domain.

Uli's picture

Files Zapfino-lapsed-Alicante.pdf etc. removed.

Instead added the combined file:

www.sanskritweb.net/forgers/publicdomain3.pdf

Christopher Adams's picture

lindenhayn:

>not sure if that helps, but for non-commercial use, URW's Optima Classico is available under the Aladdin Free Public License:
http://www.ctan.org/tex-archive/fonts/urw/

The AFPL allows "commercial" use of the fonts. It only restricts you from selling the fonts outright in a commercial product. Using them for jobbing is perfectly legal.

dezcom's picture

The early type 1 Optima was a bit light as well. The technology has since improved and we have all learned much more since the 1980's

Uli's picture

Specimen of the 1958 Optima foundry type printed in 1958

www.sanskritweb.net/temporary/Optima58c.jpg

David Sudweeks's picture

I picked up the tip from James Puckett to look for a used copy of Corel Draw. I found one at a thrift store for $2. It includes Zapf Humanist 601 (Optima) and a number of other good usable types, and particularly for work like you're doing Kenny this is a fine and economical option.

One thing nobody's explained to me is if I can buy literally hundreds of these Bitstream, et al knockoffs for $2, how am I not complicit somehow in their crime? Because it's legal? I'd like to hear how the rest of you feel about this; if someone could direct me to that thread.

qualitycontrol's picture

Jumping in here late in the game:

My opinion is that as a designer, a wide range of faces with which to execute your work is necessary. Optima is something you should own. The client should not pay for it, because you can use it whenever you want, for whomever you want. If it were a very obscure font that were only to be used with a specific client's work, then I would perhaps make it clear to them I have to bill them for the face.

I also run a printing business. Often I take on jobs in which a stock colour of ink will be required that I do not inventory. I buy the ink and print the job, usually using 2-5% of a can of ink. The cost of the ink was higher than the income I've brought in from the job, and I don't have any work lined up for use with that ink, but I can make money off it in the future and my client should not pay for that. Doubly so for a typeface because it never runs out!

In short: I would consider the expense of Optima outside of the profit/loss calculation you're doing for this job.

1985's picture

I also run a printing business. Often I take on jobs in which a stock colour of ink will be required that I do not inventory. I buy the ink and print the job, usually using 2-5% of a can of ink. The cost of the ink was higher than the income I've brought in from the job, and I don't have any work lined up for use with that ink, but I can make money off it in the future and my client should not pay for that. Doubly so for a typeface because it never runs out!

Interesting, thanks. I admit I had not considered this when asking for obscure Pantone colours at the printers.

qualitycontrol's picture

It does depend on the colour. I would say there are stock colours out there I would compare to optima--I am most likely going to use them in the future. If it's a really wacky cream Pantone that I can't possibly think of using in the future, they will pay for the whole mix no matter how much is used. I'd say it should be the same thing with a type license--if they need me to buy a license for a Cyrillic or Greek project I'm probably not going to use it for anything else, for example.

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