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Are You Allowed to Use that Font?

Are You Allowed to Use that Font?

When you use a font or a typeface in a project for your business — say, on a website or in an app — you may not realize that your use requires a paid license. And while there are a plethora of free and easily accessible typefaces and fonts available, using a paid product has advantages.

If you’re a professional graphic designer, it’s a good practice to avoid free fonts or typefaces (more on the difference between fonts and typefaces here, but we’ll use “typefaces” for the rest of this post). First, paid licenses come with an End User Licence Agreement (EULA) that clearly specifies the permissible uses of the typeface. Some free typefaces also have EULAs, but they might not be as clear or thorough, which could cause legal problems down the line.

It is also possible that the “free” typefaces you find on the web are in fact pirated versions of legitimate typefaces. Also, free versions might be missing some important opentype features and punctuations, such as double quotes and accents.

However, there are some reputable type foundries that offer free typefaces. House Industries offers House Slant and Lost Type offers plenty of great free fonts.

Make sure you thoroughly understand the terms of the license associated with a typeface. It may be free but only for personal use or for a certain number of installations, or it may specify how many websites and/or apps the typeface can live on, and sometimes the cost is even tied to the number of page views a site receives.

Being a graphic and type designer, I understand the effort it takes to design typefaces. Legal reasons aside, I want to pay for typefaces to show my appreciation for the beauty and craftsmanship that goes into the work.