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Navigating Font Licenses

Navigating Font Licenses

Since technically a font isn’t a physical product, you can’t buy it, you can only buy the rights to be able to use it. The original work will always belong to the designer alone. Just like any other software, when you buy a font, you’re buying the license to use it. Just like copyrights protect your design creation, font licenses protect typographers and their work.

When purchasing retail or downloading fonts, you’re issued a license for specific use and you become a licensee. Each font foundry has their own terms and it depends on how you want to use the font, whether for personal use, for branding for businesses, for making books, or more!

Desktop Font License: A desktop font license grants permission to install and use a font on a computer for personal or business purposes. This license typically covers the utilization of the font in desktop applications such as word processors, graphic design software, or any other software installed on a local machine. The terms of the license may specify the number of users or devices authorized to use the font.

Web Font License: A web font license is designed for the incorporation of a font into a website. This license allows for the embedding of the font using web technologies like CSS, ensuring consistent display across different browsers. Web font licenses may have restrictions based on the number of page views or unique visitors to the website. Depending on the terms, the font may be served through a web font service or may allow for self-hosting.

App Font License: An app font license is applicable when using a font within a software application or mobile app. This license covers the incorporation of the font in various platforms, such as iOS, Android, or other operating systems. It may specify limitations on the number of installations or users. The terms of the license may encompass both the development and distribution phases of the application, ensuring proper compliance with the font usage guidelines. Understanding and adhering to the specific terms of the license is crucial to prevent legal complications.


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