Font Licensing - what is it and why it is essential?
Font Licensing is a bit of a dark area for people outside the business of making and selling fonts. Fonts are software products, so the same rules apply - meaning that when you purchase a font, you are paying for a license to use it, not to own it.
Why font licenses are important
The consequences of using illegal fonts can be different. We’re not going to explain in detail but the most obvious is loss of reputation and probably - money loss. There’s an extensive collection of various cases throughout the years about world-renowned companies losing lawsuits over the illegal use of fonts. If interested read here: https://qr.ae/pGaeNF
When a company purchases and licenses a font, it only licenses it for use internally - in printed materials, videos, and websites. There are many different types of licenses - for print use, for websites, and for apps. The cheapest license is the Desktop one - for use with company branding, materials and communications. Then if you want to use the same font as your webfont, you must purchase an additional license. The most expensive one is the app license - it can be 10 times the Desktop license. More detailed info on licenses here https://www.myfonts.com/collections/gilroy-font-radomir-tinkov?tab=licensing
Below is a sample license scheme for a single font - i.e Arial Regular, but not Arial Bold. Fonts can also be purchased in Families - which is all the weights or styles (Light, Regular, Bold, Extrabold…) of the same typeface. Usually, there’s a volume discount if you purchase a Family instead of separate weights.
What fonts your brand is using?
If your company has Internal Communications Team, Marketing or a Brand Team you can ask them what fonts your brand is using and what is their license - is it possible for it to be used by external providers, agencies and contractors?
Otherwise, take a look at your Brand Guidelines (sometimes called Brand Book), search for Typography (or Fonts) section and notice the fonts specified. These can fall into a few categories.
If your brand uses a standard font like
- Arial, Helvetica, Calibri, Verdana, Trebuchet, Impact
- Times, Times New Roman, Georgia, Comic Sans
there is no need to take further action - Reward Gateway will design your logo and use these for your platform too.
Google and Open Font Licensed fonts
Some of the most often-used fonts are coming from Google. Take a look at this library: https://fonts.google.com/. If your brand is using one (or more) of them there is no need to take further action - Reward Gateway will design your logo and use these for your platform too, as they are free to use commercially by anyone.
In case your brand is based on a font from this library: https://fonts.adobe.com/ there is no need to take further action - Reward Gateway will design your logo and use these for your platform too - as Reward Gateway owns a license to use these on our clients' artworks and websites. Perform a quick search for the font(s) name(s) and see if it is part of the Adobe Fonts Library.
It's often when people go to websites like Dafont.com or 1001fonts.com to search for fonts. These sites usually provide brief license information about the fonts available to download. They fall into a few different categories - they can be free, donationware (you must send the author a donation to use his fonts), free for personal use or demo fonts.
The last two types - free for personal use and demo fonts are not intended to be used in any commercial projects - you can use them only if you are not generating any profit out of their use. For example - for your band's logo, for your wedding invitation or for a school play poster. Any other use is considered commercial and you must pay for a license to use this font. Below is an example from Dafont.com - note the license info on the right.
If it says 100% free - you can use it freely. If it says "Free for Personal Use" - you must purchase a license.
Fonts other than standard
In case your brand is using something else - there are a few options in this case.
You agree for Reward Gateway to provide an alternative from the above-mentioned sources (Google Fonts or Adobe Fonts) that looks similar (but not identical to your fonts) and you agree for Reward Gateway to use them instead.
Purchase a license for use by Reward Gateway
In case your Brand forbids using alternative fonts, you must purchase and provide a license issued to Reward Gateway with a copy of the custom font you want us to use.
You may ask - we have bought a license, why buy another one? Even if the company has purchased a license to use the font in its own communications, each sub-contractor must obtain a separate license.
Buying a license
The example below is from MyFonts.com shopping cart but it would be pretty similar to other font vendors.
First, you need to decide whether you want to purchase INDIVIDUAL STYLES or the FAMILY PACKAGE - depending on what weights (styles) are used in your Brand.
You would need to buy just one user license - as Reward Gateway will assign one designer to work on your project.
The next step is usually to create an account (if your company doesn’t have one yet) and specify that you are purchasing this license for use by Reward Gateway.
After you perform all the steps you will be presented with a package (usually a ZIP file) with all the purchased fonts together with a license.
If your company has a proprietary font created exclusively for you, please provide Reward Gateway with a copy of the font - as usually the license for custom typeface includes the use of external providers.
For any questions regarding Font Licensing, please do not hesitate to get in touch with your Implementation Specialist.