Understanding Typographic Licensing

Behind every font lies authorship and usage conditions that must be adhered to. We’ll guide you through everything you need to know about typographic licenses.

Typography stands as one of the most pivotal elements in any project involving written communication. Yet, there remains much unawareness surrounding typographic creation processes, authorship, and usage rules for each font. Every typographic font carries a license, and it’s crucial to regularly verify and review them to ensure compliance.

Typographic licenses grant the owner the right to utilize the font in a specific manner, depending on scale and scope of the project. It’s not the same to use a font on a website as it is on merchandise materials or in a television series.

While it’s true that each type foundry or designer has different conditions, licenses are usually structured and categorized similarly, depending on the client’s intended use.

Below, we explain the primary types of typographic licenses:

Desktop

The Desktop license allows users to install fonts on a specific number of computers for final user use. It allows for document creation, logos, images, presentations, or designs for printing or publishing. The usage scope, i.e., the number of computers where the font can be installed, is limited to the contracted CPU quantity.


Web

This license allows the use of fonts in web environments, on contracted domains, for a period that will be renewed upon contract termination. The usage scope relates to factors such as the number of users, visits, servers, or domains, among others.


App

The software product license allows the integration of fonts into iOS, Android, or Windows RT applications. Each license is platform-specific and the scope may vary depending on the number of titles in which the font will be used or the years.


Epub

This license enables font integration into electronic publications or documents such as e-books, magazines, or digital newspapers. The scope depends on the number of titles in which the font will be used


Marketing Digital

This license permits digital marketing activities, including social media ads, automated campaigns, and other advertising elements. The scope depends on the campaign’s impact count. In some cases, social media posts may require a separate license.


OEM

This license allows using the fonts as part of a manufactured product, whether on buttons, indicators, interface, or design. The font might appear in both hardware and software, and the scope depends on various factors, hence these licenses are usually customized for each client.


Commercial

Though it might seem confusing, a commercial license is simply a distribution permit for products where the licensed font adds differential value to its design. Products like clothing, merchandise items, or packaging are considered to require a separate license due to the differential value the font can provide.


Server

This license allows offering font use to end-users within the server. The font shouldn’t be used in a SAAS (software as a service) where the service is a product and not the object used. The scope depends on the server type, making the license tailored.


Third Parties

This license allows sharing fonts with co-agents, advertising or branding agencies, developers, or other external collaborators. It’s a desktop license, and the scope depends on the required number of computers.


Social Networks

This license is exclusive to use in social media, where content creators receive monetization for publishing content with the font. The scope depends on the publication’s impact and the platform used.


Don’t hesitate to invest in quality typography that represents your company’s voice. Typography stands as one of the most profitable elements of a company, omnipresent in both online and offline communication, constantly engaging with your audience.

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