Sometimes, font licensing can be hard to navigate for designers, let alone for brand managers, web developers and the rest of people using a font in one way or another.
Can I convert a desktop font to webfont so I can use it on a client’s website? Can I share the font files with my go-to printers so they can make a last minute amend? Do I need to convince my client’s CFO to approve a purchase order for a youtube video usage of their already licensed typeface? The answer to all of these questions is “it depends”.
Although there is a certain consistency across the industry with set licenses for the most common usages: desktop, webfont, app, ePUB, broadcast, server,… there are still many things you may or may not be allowed to do with a font depending on the specific licensing terms of the foundry who designed it, or even which reseller you got the license from. Considering that we ignore software licensing agreements by default (when was the last time you read your smartphone’s OS license when updating it?) most of the time font misuse is just naive ignorance, but it could result on legal trouble and none of the parties involved might want that.
With HTML5 winning over Adobe Flash for serving online adverts, the font reseller giant MyFonts recently introduced their Digital Ads license, a new type of license specifically thought for dynamic digital ads. Similar to the most common webfont licensing, the cost varies depending on the number of impressions. This adds another variable to the existing array of licensing options.
Far too complex, isn’t it?
Surprisingly, there are not too many attempts out there trying to simplify things. One of the few exceptions is the font reseller Fontspring, which gives foundries the option of offering unlimited pageviews on their webfont licenses but the most notable example is the independent foundry Swiss Typefaces with their all-in-one approach to licensing.
I’ve been a graphic designer working for both small and global clients and I always dreaded when I had to look for an alternative to the perfect fitting font due to a license restriction. We don’t want that to happen, we ultimately design our fonts for people to use them with peace of mind and that’s why at Branding with Type we opted for an all-in-one font licensing model.
If you use one of our fonts for a print project but further down the line the same client needs a website, a mobile app or some motion graphics, our license is future proof. If you are a small studio in the UK with a freelance working from Thailand and your printers are in Germany, you’re all covered.
We decided to unify current usage situations for a corporate typeface into one single font license, removing parameters like page-views or country limitations to focus only on the number of people using the font, as simple as that.
Update October 28th
Monotype also offers something similar to an all-in-one license under their Enterprise License, but it’s rather hidden on their site and I couldn’t find further information about it anywhere else.