[writing] Font licensing

Dom

Administrator
Staff member
#1
Having gone Adobe free, the only part of the ecosystem I miss is Typekit/Adobe Fonts. Monotype used to have a similar service but all I can now find is something called Mosaic (good name for a browser really). Does anyone know if this is the same thing? Are there alternatives?

For reference, you can’t licence Adobe Fonts separately from CC.
 
#3
You can -buy- Adobe fonts. And of course you can buy from lots of other places too, though you have to watch out for the licensing conditions. (At one point I found Adobe's licensing was about the most open. Eg some want to charge you a lot extra for commercial use.)

But recently if I've been interested in fonts I've tended to look at Google Fonts first. If anyone doesn't know, you can download them for use on the computer, as well as accessing them for web fonts. You have to find the good ones, mind, but it's a handy resource.
 

Dom

Administrator
Staff member
#5
You can -buy- Adobe fonts. And of course you can buy from lots of other places too, though you have to watch out for the licensing conditions. (At one point I found Adobe's licensing was about the most open. Eg some want to charge you a lot extra for commercial use.).
I know that; Typekit used to offer full access into the entire library of fonts so long as you stayed subscribed. I knew Monotype had a similar service. I don't do the Adobe tax any more.

But recently if I've been interested in fonts I've tended to look at Google Fonts first. If anyone doesn't know, you can download them for use on the computer, as well as accessing them for web fonts. You have to find the good ones, mind, but it's a handy resource.
Skyfonts integrates Google Fonts nicely.
 

Nobby-W

Lay member
#9
Fun fact: Corel Draw comes with a library of 1,000 or so good quality fonts from Bitstream, and has done so for more than two decades. You can get old versions of it off Ebay pretty cheaply. The Bitstream fonts tend to have funny names to avoid copyright issues as they are largely knockoffs of common mainstream fonts, but they are properly hinted and have good kerning pair data. Older versions come in Truetype and Type 1; newer ones come in OpenType, which is essentially a wrapper for various other font formats.

Sometimes you can find old versions of Adobe Font folio on Ebay as well, although versions prior to 9.0 (IIRC) don't have Euro symbols.
 
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#10
IMHO there are enough open licensed fonts to not need to pay.
And even if you do have to pay you're probably only going to need one or two families for a given project of family of works. Fonts only get really expensive if you buy large collections for a jobbing design studio.

In a lot of ways it's worth exploring the ones that come with the O/S. Windows comes with about 30 serif font families that could be used for text type, by and large they're optimised to work well on screen as well as in print (hinting doesn't necessarily guarantee this). There are also quite a few good sans-serif designs, again optimised to render well on-screen, and a reasonable body of decorative fonts of one sort or another.

If you're looking to publish something where you intend a significant chunk of your readers will view it electronically then you could do worse than sticking with the fonts supplied with the O/S.

Why, yes, I did actually work as a typesetter at one point, although that was nearly 30 years ago and I was a shit graphic designer.
 

Maddz

Rune Priest
#11
A lot of the old Mac mags used to have cover CDs which often included free fonts. Unfortunately, I dumped all those - heck, I had CDs going back to PPC days...

One thing to bear in mind as of this month is that it is now a legal obligation to produce documents that are accessible to all. Our admins have been busy changing stationary and templates at work.
 
#14
I'd embed the clones of the usual fonts in any pdf frankly.
You can certainly do that; what I really meant is that the fonts that come with Windows and MacOS have had some effort put into optimising them to render well on screen, and come with the O/S so they're free. Even Linux comes with a decent selection of freebie fonts; unfortunately they're not the same ones as Windows or MacOS.
 

Guvnor

The Guvnor
Staff member
#16
There are metric equivalents to the usual fonts and I would embed them just in case, you can never be sure who is going to open them on which OS when.
The font overhead is minimal.
 
#17
To be fair, macOS was originally built on top of a PDF-based rendering engine for the screen...
It was also a descendant of Display Postscript, which sat in the back end of NeXT's compositing engine and Sun's NeWS. Unfortunately it had to run as root back in those days, and was based on a Turing complete programming language (PostScript) with access to the file system, which was not a good combination for security on a machine designed to be connected to the public internet. It was a nice idea but it didn't last long.

Fun fact: DOOM was originally written on a NeXT and then ported to DOS.
 
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#19
Embedding fonts is the way to go. Though you also need to check the individual licenses of certain fonts if you plan to use them for commercial work especially in book titles or logos. Some are free to use for personal use only.
 
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