Free Friz Quadrata lookalike?

JohnWells's picture

Hello all,

I am something of both a designer and Mac software developer who is need of a font for a project that I'm working on. To be specific, I am creating a Cocoa framework that mimics the UI look and feel found in Blizzard games for use by both others and myself. Part of that feel, obviously, is the font that Blizzard uses, which is mostly Friz Quadrata.

While I would not mind buying a license for my own personal use, it is simply not feasible for myself as a college student to purchase a license that would allow me to distribute the font with the framework, as doing so would be prohibitively expensive, and expecting the users of the framework to purchase a font license in order to use it isn't exactly reasonable.

That why I now come seeking the knowledge of the typography experts here at Typophile in my search for a free alternative. Do you have any suggestions for free fonts with an extremely similar look and feel to Friz Quadrata?

Thanks for taking the time to read!

riccard0's picture

If you need just a single weight: http://www.myfonts.com/fonts/softmaker/quadrat-serial/regular/
But check the EULA to be sure.

JohnWells's picture

That should do nicely. Thank you so much!

hrant's picture

Is that a knock-off?
If so, is it OK to recommend it?

hhp

riccard0's picture

If you ask Uli, yes, it’s a “forgery”. From what I gathered, SoftMaker was one of those “we can license the outlines but not the name” kind of foundry. MyFonts lists it among other “alternate cuts” of Friz Quadrata.

Edit: As for “recommending it”, I didn’t. I just pointed to its availability from a reputable source.*
I left my moral filter on “shades of grey”, since, if we look closer, I was already helping someone copying the “look and feel” of someone else’s IP.

* YMMV.

Michel Boyer's picture

Kock off or not, free or not, the License says clearly

4. Embedding. You may embed the licensed fonts into any document you send to third parties. Such documents may be viewed and printed (but not edited) by the recipients.

You may not under any circumstances embed the licensed fonts into software or hardware products in which the fonts will be used by the purchasers of such products. Such use requires a different license which may be offered by the Foundry through MyFonts. Please contact help@myfonts.com for further information.

5. Modifications. You may import characters from the font as graphical objects into a drawing program and modify such graphical objects.

You may not modify, adapt, translate, reverse engineer, decompile, disassemble, or create derivative works based on the licensed font itself without Foundry’s prior written consent.

Consequently, that font does not seem to fit the bill unless the software uses only (vector or not) graphics made using the font or else every user of the software downloads himself the font.

JohnWells's picture

Well, after working with the "knockoff" a little I've found that the baseline and kerning is kinda messed up compared to real Friz Quadrata. I could make it work, but it's not ideal.

And if the terms really don't cover redistribution, that's a real problem.

Why exactly must font licenses be so painfully inflexible? I understand the effort that goes into creating a typestyle and agree that the creators should be compensated for their work, but at the same time things need to be made as simple and cost-effective as possible for the customer, regardless if said customer is a monolithic company or a lone college student developer. If a license to distribute the font with the framework that also covered the works of developers using it was available and reasonably priced, I wouldn't hesitate to fork over the cash, but no such thing seems to exist. Perhaps I'm mistaken, but it feels kind of like the industry is still stuck in the early 90's.

EDIT: I'd also like to add that the framework is intended for use with applications made by and for the fan communities of Blizzard games; for instance, one might use this UI framework for a World of Warcraft name generator or a Starcraft save game organizer.

hrant's picture

We're just trying to make enough money to keep going.
Very few of us can afford a yacht.

--

What's your budget?

hhp

JohnWells's picture

It's not a lot, considering that the framework is intended to be a free product - anything more than $150-$250 is more than I can swing, and even the top end on that won't be possible until a few months down the road.

The budget would be higher if I charged for the framework, but its target user group is tiny at best and charging would reduce that further, so it's something I'd like to avoid.

At this rate, I'll probably have to tell users to buy their own copy of Friz Quadrata if they want an accurate reproduction and just have the UI elements render in some vaguely-similar open source or standard system font by default.

Mark Simonson's picture

(ignore--what I was going to say was already covered)

hrant's picture

1) If one visualizes Friz Quadrata without the flare serifs,
what freely-redistributable font would be closest?
2) What's the smallest set of characters you can get away with?

hhp

JohnWells's picture

That's the thing… while I do design work, I haven't been exposed to a lot of fonts and as a result Friz feels rather unique to me and I'm not aware of any similar freely-distributed fonts. I'll have to do a lot of hunting.

As for the second question, just standard alphanumerics and regular punctuation would be fine. There's little need for currency symbols, accented characters, etc.

hrant's picture

BTW, #1 was directed at everybody.

hhp

riccard0's picture

You could try to ask a quote for licensing this: http://www.myfonts.com/fonts/scriptorium/septimus/

Luma Vine's picture

Maybe I am missing something but:
• $94 for all weights
• "You may embed the Font Software only into an electronic document that (i) is not a Commercial Product, (ii) is distributed in a secure format that does not permit the extraction of the embedded Font Software, and (iii) in the case where a recipient of an electronic document is able to Use the Font Software for editing, only if the recipient of such document is within your Licensed Unit."
• Is actually Friz Quadrata http://www.myfonts.com/fonts/itc/friz-quadrata/

riccard0's picture

If one visualizes Friz Quadrata without the flare serifs, what freely-redistributable font would be closest?

One will need to choose which quirks are most important to retain.
For example, open R: http://www.google.com/webfonts/specimen/Galdeano

A method would be to create a sample with the relevant letters and feed it to http://www.whatfontis.com/ selecting "Display only free fonts or free alternative fonts".

hrant's picture

I was thinking something more rigid, with no flaring.

hhp

riccard0's picture

I was thinking something more rigid, with no flaring.

I don't know if something like that exists. And, if so, most probably it will not have the "feel" of FQ at all. Like those lifeless attempts at a Trajan sans.

JamesM's picture

> [it is] for the fan communities of Blizzard games...
> I'll probably have to tell users to buy their own copy of Friz Quadrata

Actually that might not be a bad solution. Just mention that there are legal/financial reasons why you can't distribute copies of commercial fonts, and that fans are free to use fonts they already own, and maybe include some pointers to where they can get Friz Quadrata, if they wish.

Some fans may not care if the fonts in their homemade application match the games exactly, but if they do they can buy them.

Nick Shinn's picture

Why exactly must font licenses be so painfully inflexible? … Perhaps I'm mistaken, but it feels kind of like the industry is still stuck in the early 90's.

At that time, pre-www, there were not so many different kinds of font licence.
Now, evolving with the variety of digital devices and business structures, font licensing has become much more sophisticated.
Licensing is precise, to cover a variety of different situations, rather than inflexible.

Of course, this can be perplexing to the licensee, and some licences are more user-friendly than others, but IMO font licensing is at the cutting edge of digital culture, addressing the implications of technological change to intellectual property.

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