Liber vs. Floris

R.'s picture

Browsing through the ‘What’s New’ section at MyFonts, I happened upon a typeface family called Liber. It reminded me strongly of Luc(as) de Groot’s Floris, which is mentioned as having “inspired” Liber.

I started to compare glyph forms and found some to be strikingly similar (white is Floris Text, as shown in the type tester on lucasfonts.com, black is Liber, as shown in a PDF from the foundry website):


Is this what you typically would get when one typeface inspires another? The serifs and ascender/descender length obviously differentiate the two from one another, but I was wondering whether it is advisable to stay that close to the source. Or am I underestimating the importance of these variances? And: Is it allowed to create ‘version 2.0’ of an existing typeface?

I would like to hear some thoughts on that. Thanks!

riccard0's picture

Striking indeed!

rs_donsata's picture

It would be very important to have the creator of Liber to comment on this. Derivative work is not wrong as long as you are incorporating meaningful innovations that will further the original idea or take it in a different direction. If a derivated work is so close as to be confused with the original... well that's not so cool.

hrant's picture

In addition to what Héctor said, it looks like the outlines we re-used, which is always a no-no without permission. Since Wastian directly mentions Floris* he's clearly not trying to hide it; so either he got De Groot's permission (unlikely), he doesn't grasp that it's not OK (so an honest mistake) or he doesn't care that people think it's not OK (which is not OK).

* Which I will point out is itself strongly reminiscent of De Groot's own Folha, a typeface for a newspaper in Wastian's home country... So maybe check Liber against Folha too. BTW, some Brazilian designers apparently call Floris "Le Folha". :-)
http://typophile.com/node/6256#comment-44171

Unless Wastian did get permission, MyFonts should pull the font aysap, and both MyFonts and Wastian should forward any proceeds to De Groot.

Recent and strongly related:
http://typophile.com/node/49909#comment-497798

hhp

Nick Shinn's picture

It’s not acceptable for a first release.

Once you’ve established a reputation with some genuinely “non-inspired” typeface designs, then it’s OK to publish stuff that’s quite similar to someone else’s work. Myriad/Frutiger and Gotham/Proxima are well-known examples of this double standard.

(The above is not my position, just an observation of the status quo.)

And of course, plagiarizing oneself—no problem!

oldnick's picture

Unless Wastian did get permission, MyFonts should pull the font aysap, and both MyFonts and Wastian should forward any proceeds to De Groot.

If Lucas lodges a complaint with myfonts—if past behavior is any indication—they will pull the plug on Liber, no questions asked. Recovering ill-gotten gains is another matter, probably one for a civil court to decide, should one be so inclined as to sue.

R.'s picture

Thanks for your replies so far—very insightful!

Re Folha vs. Floris:

[De Groot’s] most original achievement (…) was the spirited headline face designed for the Brazilian newspaper Folha de São Paulo. Folha differs from his other original typefaces in that it has strong vertical stress. (…) In 2001 De Groot designed a new headline face for Le Monde, which was named Floris Newspaper after his son. Floris is a continuation of Folha: it has vertical stress, narrow forms and a somewhat rectangular oval as a basic shape. The family is now much larger. It comes in seven weights, from Extra Light to Black. Its regular works well as a condensed text face. (Jan Middendorp: Dutch Type.)

And:

In 2007, Floris was redrawn as part of a drastic redesign of the German weekly Jungle World. Floris JW is a headline family in weights, from ExtraLight to Black. The Jungle World project also resulted in Floris Text, a new typeface for publications, which is still under development. (LF Floris on lucasfonts.com)

hrant's picture

It sounds like Floris Text might be a longer-extender version of Floris, which would leave even less room for Liber to be sufficiently original.

hhp

R.'s picture

It seems to be the other way around, as you can see on their website: Floris SP (SP for ‘São Paulo’?) is—like Folha, which it is based on, but not identical with—a headline face with long extenders that comes in a broad range of weights (from Extra Light to Black). Floris Text has shorter extenders and only two weights (regular + bold), but small caps that Floris SP lacks.

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