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Fonts on Your Desktop

First of all, HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Now that we have gotten that out of the way let’s start the new year with a bang: how many fonts do you currently have on your hard drive? A hundred? A hundred and fifty? Two hundred.?

How many did you actually pay for.?

I know, buying licenses for all your fonts is harder than any new year’s resolution, but still, I think we should discuss. Anybody who says they own each and every one of the fonts is a big fat liar. It’s a myth. I would first trust somebody that told me they saw Big Foot.

And what about printers? I thought they were supposed to buy a license for every font you used in a job. Instead we collect the job and send them the fonts for free.

So why don’t we pay for fonts? Too expensive? Too hard? Remember how angry we all get when a client tries to nickel and dime us. Shouldn’t we at least feel guilty?

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PUBLISHED ON Jan.02.2003 BY Armin
scaredy-cat’s comment is:

What would a type designer say to someone who has 2-3 gigs of downloaded and/or "traded" fonts on his computer, organized by almost every major foundry in existence, if this someone wouldn't use said fonts in a commercial project without purchasing the proper license? What would a type designer say if this person wanted to use these same fonts in "personal" projects, ie. personal websites, not for profit or client?

On Jan.02.2003 at 11:19 AM
Thomas Shebest’s comment is:

Last year for Christmas I was lucky enough to receive the adobe font-folio CD as a gift from a firm I do a lot of freelance work for. That allowed me to clear my harddrive of all the fonts I "borrowed" from the computers while in school. I used to not really care how I acquired a font but after working professionally for a few years and seeing "how it is" I don't use any fonts I have'nt paid for in client work. In fact, many times I wind up buying new fonts for a project .

On Jan.02.2003 at 12:06 PM
plain*clothes’s comment is:

I can't say that I know of any licenses for the fonts we use at work, but they may be there. we have somewhere around 450 fonts, included all the useless freeware fonts.

at home I have somewhere around the same number (probably more). as Scardey-Cat implied, I buy a license as the oportunity for use presents itself. I have received copies of commercial fonts from friends and collegues over the years which I use for preview purposes. the previews we find on the web and in printed specimens are rarely enough, so I create samples with my "preview" fonts and purchase the one I decide to use (for personal or professional jobs).

as for fonts sent to the printer, I recently asked this very question at an Adobe seminar (the answer was the only valuable info I walked away with). the person I talked to was the licensing guru for the day, so I felt fairly confident in his knowledge. he said that the printer is free to use the font for your job. after that particular job is complete, they are then expected to erase the font from the hard disk. I don't know if this is an Adobe only policy or not, so I suppose calling the foundry wouldn't hurt.

On Jan.02.2003 at 12:20 PM
Armin’s comment is:

Just FYI, I'm not working undercover for any Type Foundry that wants to unveil all of their unlicensed fonts. Nor am I a font saint who's here to judge all of you and damn you for all eternity ('cause I'm really not one.)

On Jan.02.2003 at 01:00 PM
THOMAS SHEBEST’s comment is:

I definitely went through a period in college when I was obssessed with type, I hotlined stuffit archives of just about every foundries library. I just wanted to explore as many different faces as I could. Now I feel bloated and have about a dozen or so faces that I use for most projects and only really start expanding my choices when working on identites.

I think Hotline was/is the most damaging thing to ever happen to the type industry, I wonder what others think? Any type designers here ever take action against anyone running a hotline server? Ever see a bunch of your work, free for the downloading?

On Jan.02.2003 at 02:50 PM
Armin’s comment is:

>Any type designers here ever take action against anyone running a hotline server?

Not sure. But Metallica might get in on the action.

>I definitely went through a period in college when I was obssessed with type

I think this is a big part of the situation, we [designers] get completely obsessed with type and in our desperation to acummulate as much fonts as possible we forget that some poor soul spent endless hours creating a typeface.

At m1 it was amazing to see the amount of copying/sharing that went on. In the end we just set up a folder so that everybody who felt like it could burn a CD and take it home.

As long as you can drag and drop fonts on your desktop this problem will always exist.

>he said that the printer is free to use the font for your job. after that particular job is complete, they are then expected to erase the font from the hard disk


On Jan.02.2003 at 03:24 PM
Stephen Coles’s comment is:

Thomas: It is true that fonts have become devalued to the point that most people think they’re all free. Because I really don’t know the solution to the problem, I'll answer your question with a question. How many Hotline collectors do you think would buy the fonts if they didn’t have free access to them? If your answer is “very few”, can the fonts they copied be counted among the foundries’ “lost revenues”?

I believe the real answer lies in a new font licensing scheme.

A few links:

Miles Newlyn says access to files should be free, license purchased upon use

Underware gives font away with book, free for educational use, buy later for commercial

Another cause of devaluation: the availability of free knock-offs with a few seconds of googling

On Jan.02.2003 at 03:48 PM
Stephen Coles’s comment is:

And: Rich Kegler of P22 at TypeCon2001 (scroll to Top Quotes)

On Jan.02.2003 at 03:52 PM
KM’s comment is:

Does the service bureau/printer really have to purchase a license to use the font you have supplied them? I've never ran into that problem. Shouldn't the bureau refuse the job if they don't have the license if they didn't want to pay for it?

On Jan.02.2003 at 04:26 PM
Armin’s comment is:

>Does the service bureau/printer really have to purchase a license to use the font you have supplied them?

That was the last I heard. But don't quote me on it, I could not say it is a fact.

>Shouldn't the bureau refuse the job if they don't have the license if they didn't want to pay for it?

I guess they should, but apparently they don't. I've never heard of any designer being rejected because a printer wouldn't pay for the fonts. What Plain*Clothes said about Adobe amd printers throwing away the fonts after the job is done kind of made sense.

On Jan.02.2003 at 04:40 PM
Jon’s comment is:

I'm all for the free or 'cheap' distribution of fonts with a pay-upon-use deal. I could understand paying hundreds of dollars for a piece of software you use on a daily basis (like Illustrator, Photoshop, Office, etc.), but I don't see how many businesses could afford that fee every time they want to try a new typeface.

Perhaps this is a digression, but does anyone know the situation with type licensing and PDF production? I have heard that some foundries prohibit embedding fonts in a PDF, but this seems to defeat some of the purposes of a PDF file.

On Jan.02.2003 at 05:04 PM
Stephen Coles’s comment is:
I have heard that some foundries prohibit embedding fonts in a PDF, but this seems to defeat some of the purposes of a PDF file.

I agree, Jon. Dumb. Perhaps that’s a question Armin could have asked Mr. Vanderlans. From the Emigre license:

Embedding of the Emigre Fonts Software in any form is strictly prohibited without an additional license.
On Jan.02.2003 at 05:13 PM
pk’s comment is:

i'm a type designer. most of my collection is unlicensed. why? because my foundry can't keep track of how many copies of my fonts are actually in distribution. it's just not possible to keep up with all the hotline, limewire, web, and usenet resources for pirated materials.

howver: when i use anything from my collection for a paying customer, i purchase a license. it's a cobbled-together solution, but it works. nobody gets hurt and i slowly get legal.

On Jan.02.2003 at 05:21 PM
Thomas Shebest’s comment is:

>How many Hotline collectors do you think would buy the fonts if they didn’t have free access to them?

The answer is very few, Although I have never done it, I wonder who uploads full librarys to these servers? If I had purchased say every FontFont Face I wouldn't upload the library in a neat little stuffit file to a hotline server.

I'm assuming these come from studios who do own entire libraries by some foundries and the designers take the fonts home and upload them.

At one studio I worked at font piracy was out of control and eventually mucked up production enough(missing outline files, corrupt fonts, etc.) that one day everyones computers got wiped clean and suitcase server and clients were installed. No one under any circumstances was allowed to install any fonts. If you wanted a font that wasn't on the server, fine, we'll buy it, don't bring it from home became the policy. This studio was probably the best I have ever seen in terms of font and software licensing.

On Jan.02.2003 at 05:43 PM
John Butler’s comment is:

I have over 1000 fonts, purchased over the past ten years. The first package was Adobe Caslon. I bought about 30 or 40 individual font packages from various vendors, mainly Adobe and Monotype in the beginning. The rest mainly came bundled with stuff like Illustrator, ATM, and CorelDraw, which comes with most of the Bitstream library. A few other packages were gifts from type designer friends or part of a client's payment arrangement. "Hey, I really love this design, and I'll charge you less if you throw in a 5-machine license with non-web PDF rights." or whatnot.

Ive easily spent more money on fonts than I've ever spent on hardware. Earlier this year I licensed about $400 worth of designs from a smaller foundry. I generally pay for all my software, especially these days since more and more applications are sending registration data across the internet surreptitiously to crack down on piracy. Fonts don't do this, but font designers deserve to be paid adequately by anyone who has their products. I do not presume to be in a position to arbitrarily alter an established, obviously well-thought-out licensing agreement, and people who try to morally worm their way around that kind of thing are people I prefer to avoid.

Emigre *does* allow embedding if you pay the extra fee to offset their extra risk. I can respect that.

On Jan.02.2003 at 07:21 PM
Paul D’s comment is:

I'll admit that my fonts directory may contain some fonts I haven't paid for (as well as a number of freeware and shareware fonts). But the fact is, that when I use typefaces for client projects, I have them pay for licenses, and I frequently purchase new fonts online through sites such as myfonts.com.

Of course you have to give print bureaus the fonts. It's not like they're reselling them or doing their own design work with them. They're just printing the stuff I designed with fonts I paid for.


On Jan.02.2003 at 07:40 PM
Sam’s comment is:

We are still in something of the glory days of digital type design, I think. The software to do it is pretty affordable, not too hard to learn, requires no special smelting machinery, and the general design climate is such (and this is not a lament) that creative latitude is very wide, shall we say. Will this last? No, it will change.

Is it impossible to imagine Adobe (or software company X) partnering with Apple (or operating system XX) in such a way--with a little fancy legal maneuvering--that fonts and the OS get tied together to make piracy difficult and/or profitable for them.

For instance, in the future (hold on, kids!) maybe a "font" will be just a character set file (basically the orgin of the word 'font') on your hard drive and the actual different typeface designs will be accessed over the web from Cupertino or Redmond or wherever. A designer will own nothing, and subscribe (an old-fashioned notion, indeed) either face-by-face or by library or by style. Bitmap files could be the Letraset of the 2020's! (Type designers would sell/license their designs to the font-server, which might actually make it possible to record usage and thus pay per-use royalties.)

I really wonder if the push-pull over profit, in the long run, won't be between designers and foundries hacking out a workable licensing arrangment but rather between large font-making entities (Macromedia, FontLab, whoever eventually swallows them) and the major software/hardware makers.

Somehow Hoefler's installers are a faint harbinger of this, but I can't seem to make that connection stick. Sorry if that all sounded like crazy talk.


On Jan.02.2003 at 10:08 PM
ole’s comment is:

I am a hardcore collector and I am guessing that I properly spent around $9000 over the past 10 years on licensed fonts, but my library extends far beyond the licensed beauties I slaved to acquire. Like many of the other designers in this forum I purchase what I use. I worked at a place where they literally had everything commercial and independent (and I did get copies) but what good is 15,000 fonts you can't use on any serious work, that may eventually be published in design annuals where you risk legal action because you don't have a license or even worse-no license is available.

These days I purchase small foundry work exclusively like Lineto, Thirstype, PsyOps. Typotheque. It makes no sense to share something you want to keep unique, especially if you are paying for it.

On Jan.02.2003 at 11:25 PM
Egon’s comment is:

I think i agree with most here... i buy my stuff, but i also have a lot of freeware crapfonts floating around my harddisk.

Some freeware fonts are actually good stuff if you're looking into designing logo's. But for all the rest i depend on Fontshop.be, my local fontfarmer ;-)

It's expensive, i know. I've just started up my business as an illustrator and cartoonist, and i've seen about 10% of my yearly income disappear into fonts and software (suitcase,zip,ftp), because just like in fonts, i wish to have ALL my software legal, even the shareware ones.

But expensive fonts mostly are really good. I've bought some HouseIndustry fonts, and FF Govan...they're probably my favorites as we speak.

O well... all good things in life aren't free i guess.

On Jan.03.2003 at 05:14 AM
GM’s comment is:

All the fonts (typefaces) I have on my system have been placed there from software CDs that were purchased. A check of my system shows I have 342 TTFs, 39 T1s and four OTFs. Therefore all are legal by the definition of 'purchased'.

I feel it is misleading to generalise that ALL computer users, or internet users are liars. There is no myth, as you put it.

Time to edit the story a bit and correct your myth.

On Jan.03.2003 at 07:14 AM
madmac’s comment is:

Its clear that the big majority of designers don't pay for the fonts they use. But I'm also sure that the majority of 'typo maniacs' want to be legal, they recognize the vital importance of a good type.

What happens is that in small and underdeveloped countries like mine, we just can't afford it. I know that one of the answers would be - if you cant afford it don't use it. But I think that would be cleverer if something like an association of type foundries and type designers existed and allowed designers to sign in and participate what typeface they used, in what work and pay a percentage of what they charged.

I have a collection of 150 typefaces, and I bought a few (around 20%), I didn't buy more because I just couldn't afford it. I BELIEVE THAT THE WILL TO BE LEGAL EXISTS!

Another problem occurs when you make the effort to buy a font, and someone in the printers distribute it for other designers.


On Jan.03.2003 at 07:41 AM
rolf’s comment is:

Everybody copies or copied, especially as a student - what else is there? Certainly the school aren't buying them. They don't even have Adobe's Font Folio all the time (and/or cross platform).

Most collectors who have many fonts, have them as a collection anyway, not for using them. Especially not for a commercial job - let the client pay for the font in that case. As far as school-projects go? I don't mind using a FontFont I found somewhere on a poster. Hell no I'm sticking to the same old Adobe or stupid free fonts.

Font collectors (or perhaps font-whores) just want the type and look at it every now and then :).

I do like buying a font, and no way i'm sending it to some stupid share-server; my money must go to the designer. Also a reason I love buying fonts from smaller foundries.

Sharing and unlicensed fonts is something I can't easily live without, if I had 9000 Euros a year available for fonts I would buy them - no problem. Right now I have other priorities for most of my money and every now and then I buy a font, a book, a poster etc.

I also use Kazaa for mp3's. So sue me.. but I also buy cd's and vinyl stuff each month.

On Jan.03.2003 at 07:43 AM
Jean F Porchez’s comment is:

Just my usual type designer comment to some particular answers regarding people asking why they need to buy a font they don’t use everyday? When the same people are glad to paid for software they use everyday.

What about a client saying to a graphic designer, who just finish a job for him: Hey guy, so, I will not paid you on that beautiful designed booklet you’ve done, because we will not use it EVERYDAY.

Sound funny until its happen to you.

j f p

On Jan.03.2003 at 07:46 AM
EricP’s comment is:

In the real world, a client does not care if you use Garamond, Caslon, Bembo, etc. — they want the font they don't have to pay for. In fact, they probably don't even realize that you have to pay for fonts. Maybe I just work for clueless morons, oh yeah, I do.

On Jan.03.2003 at 08:31 AM
David Cushman’s comment is:

What about the analogy of stock photography? Is it illegal to download comp versions of photography, await the client's approval, and THEN purchase the hi-res versions? Could the same concept be applied to type (short of having "watermarked" versions of fonts)? If "trial" or "comp" versions of fonts were available and downloadable to REGISTERED customers of a particular foundry, wouldn't the foundries at least have records of who downloaded what, wouldn't they at least have mailing lists for sales and marketing? The point has already been made that those who would download illegal copies and use them commercially would never pay for them regardless, hence no real lost revenue. At least a name and address, a sales "lead" if you will, is SOME kind of "payment" for these illegal copies.

On Jan.03.2003 at 09:01 AM
Jean F Porchez’s comment is:

good idea, but Berthold have done that by the past, “Trixized” versions of fonts, then services bureaus use the real one. Never worked.

And how you can sold an concept to a client with a big headline composed in a wonderful “Trixized” version of Sabon Next? And If the client accept it, its because he like the “Trixized” effect and he perhaps will refuse the true Sabon Next at the end. ;-)

j f p

On Jan.03.2003 at 09:22 AM
pk’s comment is:

In the real world, a client does not care if you use Garamond, Caslon, Bembo, etc. — they want the font they don't have to pay for. In fact, they probably don't even realize that you have to pay for fonts.

i don't think that makes them morons. it speaks more of the type industry's unwillingness to stop navelgazing. most of the public hasn't the foggiest idea people make type for a living (i had to explain it to a mystified family who was helping me pay for a degree), much less that we expect to be paid for our work. and why should they? nobody knows who we are.

if the large foundries would simply take off their blinders and try talking to someone besides designers for a change, maybe spend some money building an image in the public eye, then maybe we'd have a fighting chance. until some sort of radical marketing change occurs, we'll keep on floundering in poverty.

On Jan.03.2003 at 10:45 AM
Su’s comment is:

Time to edit the story a bit and correct your myth.


No, if the fonts on your system were put there by paid-for software, then they're legal. End of story. You are arguing nothing.

Is it illegal to download comp versions of photography, await the client's approval...

I thought that's what comp versions were for.

If "trial" or "comp" versions of fonts were available and downloadable to REGISTERED customers of a particular foundry, wouldn't the foundries at least have records of who downloaded what,

No, they'd have a record of what login information was fed to their system to download the font. That's a very different concept from it being the person corresponding to that login info. Apple's ridiculous web site policy at one point required you to be registered to view their knowledge base. I used PK's login. This is also how I downloaded old System software for an emulator. If they want to think it was PK, I don't particularly care.

And let's not get into the accuracy of these registration records. I regularly provide a fake e-mail address to these things because it's common knowledge they're nothing but a marketing tool rather than any sort of proper verification of identity.

On Jan.03.2003 at 10:48 AM
KEN’s comment is:

If you really want to come clean and feel guilty Armin then comne clean. HOw many fonts you got? Name the fonts if any that you have a real license for. Have you ever used a font commercially and NOT PAID FOR IT. And dont you feel weird hanging out at typographica's site and ripping people who make logos cheaply. If you talk about a logo being worthy of $1000 and you don't pay for fonts that strikes me as being highly ypocritical.


a NEW YEAR. Here's your chance to cleanse your font-thieving soul.

On Jan.03.2003 at 03:42 PM
Armin’s comment is:

>If you really want to come clean and feel guilty Armin then comne clean.

I don't feel guilty. I sleep like a baby with a clean conscience. I'm just trying to make conversation.

>HOw many fonts you got?


>Name the fonts if any that you have a real license for.

uh... No. I don't have the time.

>Have you ever used a font commercially and NOT PAID FOR IT


>And dont you feel weird hanging out at typographica's site and ripping people who make logos cheaply.

No. I rip as I see fit.

>Here's your chance to cleanse your font-thieving soul.

I'll pass on the font-thieving soul cleansing, thanks.

On Jan.03.2003 at 03:54 PM
David Buck’s comment is:

Before this starts getting too personal, would like to add a little about PDF font embedding. I believe that house also have a pretty nuts system where you need to pay for every time you distribute a PDF file with a font of theirs embedded in it. This is probably a good idea. Font embedding in PDF is hardly rocket science, (type2 format - same as OTF) so if there isn't a font ripping piece of software out there, there easily could be, and might be soon.

As for buying fonts, I think you need to make people feel good about what they are buying, rather than making it sound like a penalty. Chank works pretty hard on this, and gives away ludicrous amounts of bonuses to people who buy in bulk, and he seems to do pretty well with repeat customers.

On Jan.03.2003 at 05:58 PM
Gerald Lange’s comment is:

This made sound a bit unusual to some but there was a time, a long long time ago, before Adobe unlicensed its PostScript Type 1 format that there was no problem with font theft except among the foundries themselves.

Would most of the type foundries and indies operating today be in business if they actually had to pay a very, very hefty licensing fee to Adobe for the use of PS1, or to Apple for TT, or to Adobe/Microsoft for OT? Naturally any such fonts would have to be made on font-creation software itself licensed and cross-licensing, and used on software licensed and restricted to specific formats, and output on devices similarly licensed and restricted.

Doesn't it strike anybody else as a bit odd when foundries cry about theft when, without a dime paid in tribute, they piggy-backed onto unlicensed formats in the first place and were perfectly aware of the transformed and "opened" nature of the type business.

There are clear historic precedents to prevent type theft but I doubt many foundries would want to go there as the market would be made up of proprietary enclaves and left only to the players who could afford it.

Adobe did not unlicense its format to be nice, it did it to give it control of the market and the future direction of all things digital, and just so happened to crush the aspirations of its competitors (primarily Bitstream as I recall) in doing so.

Gerald Lange

On Jan.03.2003 at 07:17 PM
GJ’s comment is:

I'm afraid I disagree with this idea of the sanctity of a type designer's income. I've always understood type designers to be artists, but what artist gets obsessed with financial rewards? Type—like poetry—should be a �labour of love’—although if these faces were being commissioned it would be a different matter & payment ought to follow.

I'm not a type designer—but I'd imagine that the greatest honour for a type designer is to see his or her work adopted in print or design—and not the sum of filthy lucre made from selling it. The reward shouldn't be financial. I approve of type �theft’, if it is theft, because if practised widely enough it might remove from greedier type designers their raison d'�tre and leave remaining those whole-hearted designers who work because they can't NOT create typefaces. I think plagiarism is the real crime & causes the real injury to type designers, stealing the acknowledgement for their excellence. But when you merely use a typeface without paying for it, you pay a compliment to its creator in selecting it.

On Jan.03.2003 at 07:39 PM
Gerald Lange’s comment is:

>I've always understood type designers to be artists, but what artist gets obsessed with financial rewards? Type—like poetry—should be a �labour of love’—although if these faces were being commissioned it would be a different matter & payment ought to follow.

I suspect most artists are obsessed with financial reward as it ensures the continuation of their ability to work. Type design, until relatively recently, has always been an industrial trade practice, and is still considered as such by law. Any "labor of love" associated with it is to the benefit of the creator, and that's where that ends.

The theft of other folks' property, including intellectual and creative property, however, is motivated by personal gain, and is best not misconstrued as a rationale for the just punishment of others.

Gerald Lange

On Jan.04.2003 at 01:36 AM
Sam’s comment is:

Gerald, you're speaking precisely to the point I was poorly trying to make earlier--that there is a big picture behind the issue of font licensing agreements. Type designers and graphic designers may squabble over table scraps, but we're all at the mercy of the software makers who create the code and software.

On Jan.04.2003 at 09:23 AM
Claudio Piccinini’s comment is:

This discussion you've started Armin shoudl continue, involving also foundries.

I can only say this: I rarely do commercial graphic design work personally. The few times it's happened I purchased the typefaces used and converted them to paths.

In my personal works and book project I'm just using typefaces I've had in friendly exchanges with colleagues or my own ones.

For example, the book I'm working on "Letters in the 1990s". It just showcases the type in specimens but there are various fonts in my selection I don't have the license for, many also from Emigre, of which I'm a designer, too.

When the book will be ready for the layouts I will make a list of all the faces still missing I need and purchase my licenses.

I have done many errors in the past but a thing now goes for sure: I never allow illegal copying when I'm able to prevent it, now.

So I totally agree with John Butler and I think that Jean Francois is right, too. Miles' idea, with all the friendship and respect I have for Miles, feels too utopical to me.

My "solution" I proposed time ago on typographi.ca is not easy, but I think that bringing back the great habit of good paper specimen folders/booklets, guides on the use of the types also, just for the people buying the license would be a great improvement.

The first Emigre fonts I bought arrived on beautiful floppy disks. Additionally Emigre sens wonderful promo material if you continue to buy here and there.

What I dislike from "online" or "email" distribution is a total lack of knowledge about designers, original dates, informations, historical notes and—I may be nostalgic—but also a beautiful specimen printed on paper with a user guide, too.

Great examples of this are Jonathan Hoefler catalogues, Emigre, Jean Francois catalogues and many others.

I would never even remotely dream to use a typeface I've found and I have in my archive for reference without purchasing the license.

The problem comes when you work for someone, like I do in the morning.

What can you do when your boss relies on pirated type?

Generally I try to use only system fonts, or the faces we have with FreeHand and other applications, but I am not in a position to say: hey, boss, you have to delete this list of fonts from our computers.

John Downer suggested me that I should leave the work. I would hardly find another, here, in Modena, Italy, where illegal copying is THE NORM.

And the funny thing is that my boos buys the software, but not the fonts.

And even more funny is the fact that copying fonts is immensely more harmful to single type designers than a casual copy of an application could be for a large industrial reality like Adobe or Microsoft.

Keep up the discussion and draw everyone here!

On Jan.04.2003 at 09:29 AM
Armin’s comment is:

>Before this starts getting too personal

Thanks. I encourage everybody who is somehow pissed at me, my comments or my opinions to please send me an email and keep the accusations/hisses/bitchings private. Not everybody is interested. Thanks.

>I can only say this: I rarely do commercial graphic design work personally.

On this topic, when a client is already spending thousands of dollars on printing, photography and, obviously, designer fee's the last thing they want to pay for is for a font. And I think part of that problem is the huge amount of fonts that come with software like Corel Draw, Freehand and Illustrator which in my opinion, when used for a project, make the design look very generic. So when a client opens his PC and looks at all the fonts he has to choose from and is then asked to cough up an extra $100-$300 he/she freaks out.

On Jan.04.2003 at 11:12 AM
Claudio Piccinini’s comment is:

I add this: in many cases (I do packaging design where I work in the morning) the damage could be limited, because logotypes, which are often my assignment, are generally drawn from scratch or just loosely based on other faces.

Then, for body text, I tend to use faces not too "generic" but neither pirated, like Frutiger and Frutiger Condensed, which are enough "human" to look good on food or housethings packages.

We use very often the beautiful Textile, which works great in food packaging and is part of the MacOS.

But this, of course, is an idea just for solving MY problem...

On Jan.04.2003 at 01:32 PM
Stephanie’s comment is:

I come to speak up and give you a student's point of view. I can tell you right now that I do not pirate fonts, nor do I pirate anything else. I'm proud of the fact that I scraped the money together for Photoshop and Illustrator and a few of the fonts that I've needed to purchase. Being a broke college student, that's not an easy thing to do.

There is another thing that saves me money, though. I tend to buy fonts in bulk from places such as myfont.com. I also do use a lot of freeware fonts. Not by choice, of course, but because of my budget. I'm also into the more grungy, dirty looking fonts right now and half my collection of over 1000 fonts are what you would consider grunge typefaces. Surprisingly enough, it's the freeware providers that make excellent grunge fonts, though I have seen nice ones from the foundries.

I've never used a font I didn't pay for when I had to pay for it. For the most part I've kept to using the fonts that came with my computer and, surprisingly, I've found I've had to buy little.

(I am, however, about to buy some new fonts. I'm getting a Mac and that means buying all the fonts I've liked and used on my PC in Mac form. Wish me luck.)

On Jan.04.2003 at 05:33 PM
Keith Tam’s comment is:

I think I could be right in saying that every student �share’ fonts with others — I must admit I used to do that too. We had a disk that we passed around the class, with fonts from several different foundries. And, I’m sorry to say, I do think that it was a very important learning tool for me. I had the opportunity to test these typefaces out and comparing them and get to know how they behave. Instead of looking in a type catalogue what Gill Sans looks like, I actually got to set some text myself and see how well it worked for various measures, leading, sizes, etc. So I really got to know a lot of typefaces intimately.

It would have been extremely limited to rely on the few fonts that our college had on its computers. Having access to a large number of fonts from various foundries was an extremely invaluable learning experience. I even got to compare the supposedly same fonts from different foundries and see how they differ.

Things are quite different now. I wouldn’t dream of using a font that I didn’t buy. I studied type design and I realize how much effort is involved in producing a professional typeface, and the time and devotion needed to studying it, not to mention talent.

I deleted all the unpaid-for fonts from my system and I now ONLY use the few fonts that I actually purchased. If I have a project that I think need a font that I don’t own, I would explain to the client why I need to buy it and get him/her to pay for it. Very simple.

On Jan.05.2003 at 02:37 AM
Craig’s comment is:

I would love to be legal with all of my fonts, and I'm slowly paying for the ones that I use. I'm a one-person studio and I think that the prices that Adobe charges are reasonable. However, some of the foundries need a reality check. Linotype's new 59 weight Univers 3.0 costs US $1,500 for a 5 person license. Do I lust after it? Yes. Will I ever buy it? Absolutely not. I don't need a 5 person license. If they gave me the option to buy it for 1/5th the price, I'd definitely think about it.

On Jan.06.2003 at 03:10 PM
Armin’s comment is:

>We use very often the beautiful Textile, which works great in food packaging and is part of the MacOS.

Don't ype designers look down on textile? I don't want to get into a holw Textile debate, but I would never call it beautiful. No offense intended on your taste Claudio.

Back to the original subject, I'm glad, and surprised, to see all the people who want to do the right thing, maybe the myth is a reality?

On Jan.07.2003 at 08:47 AM
Hrant’s comment is:

Armin, it's easy to confess being ethical...


On Jan.07.2003 at 09:56 AM
Broose’s comment is:

Most posters here are commercial; I am an amateur font lover and student of typefaces.

Because I have purchased so many collections on CD or bundled with applications, I have many more paid-for and licensed faces than faces I have downloaded without paying for. I have purchased some applications just to get their fonts bundle, such as the dandy 300 Agfas which come with Sierra's Print Artist Platinum.

A huge chunk of the unpaid-for are freeware or free samples given by gracious vendors, and are not paid for for that reason.

Now, as to the last batch, commercially-sold faces I have not paid for: None are installed on my hard drive. I have never used any for my personal writing, design, or any kind of printing. I have never used any for commercial work. What I do use them for is to preview with a font browser and admire, just as I do with the typeface sample books I have bought, and catalogs I have ordered. I study them, I read about the designers, I try to recognize them in use. I am fully persuaded that for this usage, there is absolutely nothing immoral in what I have done, though it is technically illegal. I sleep guilt-free, but I'm not going to bait any lawyers to make an example of me because I have some of these fonts in my possession.

If I collected matchbooks or tea bags or coins or stamps, I would have diminished the world's supply of these rare items for each I took out of circulation. Not copies of fonts. No foundry or designer is out a dime from me for any usage of their fonts, except for the usages normally freely permitted (by other means) of viewing and study. It is simply much more convenient to view on my computer than go to an Internet site. I have paid for many more fonts than I could ever use; including many duplicates, giving me triple licensing or more for some of them.

I'm not demanding that anyone agree with me; but I am stating it is my belief that "hobbyist collectors" whose practices regarding unofficially copied commercial fonts are harmless, not thieves, and probably provide greatly beneficial unpaid advertising and promotion and educational service for the art and industry of type-founding. I refuse to call those shared and sampled fonts stolen.

Historically, theft has always meant loss to the original owner -- either of the benefits of possession, or sales revenue. But (until Costco, Sam's, etc.) nobody charged potential customers just to come in the store and look, or (excepting token charges) to look at their catalog. That is exactly the same use to which hobbyists put their shared and sampled fonts. Speaking just for myself, I have never downloaded any music (again except for free samples with full permissions) from the Internet. That's because listening to music is using it in the way which should require payment. However, I download fonts to study and admire -- and I do not believe that is using them in the way which should require payment.

Finally, I will go further and state that I believe when the commercial makers vilify, persecute, or prosecute the hobbyist collectors, it is "the pot calling the kettle black," for there are virtually none of them who have not outright stolen another's designs -- not just for commercial application, but for commercial resale! That I -- and most "collector hobbyists" would never do. They may have found a way to be legal, or at least deter lawsuits for their actions, but they are actual criminal thieves, and those whom they attack are not.

These same criminal minds believe I should pay the same just to study a font as a big publishing house should pay which is printing millions of books with it. Don't hold your breath, guys.

Nobody is saying this, and I believe it deserves to be said ... and believed.

On Jan.07.2003 at 01:24 PM
paul klein’s comment is:

every 3 months or so the same discussion, i am more

than tired of this. piracy, piracy, piracy.

cannot hear it anymore.

On Jan.26.2003 at 01:55 PM
Dave’s comment is:

Without hotline I would have never been more into type then today. During my design school years it was the best. I saw other students creating boring stuff because the school just cannot purchase every cool and new fonts thats out there. Its just too expensive. However I do feel that most professionals will purchase their fonts. Let the client pay for it. I love my archive. I can test fonts before i decide to buy!

On Feb.14.2003 at 07:51 PM
blaue’s comment is:

1979- A record album cost $5.99

1979- A record album cost �$1.80 to manufacture

1989- A CD costs $13.99

1989- A CD cost � $0.65 to manufacture

1989- Napster...

Fonts are software, and the software industry has continued to band on the horn of their Mercedes about piracy. "Piracy costs us so much in earnings that we have no choice but to charge higher prices for our products.". If you look at software packages that are copy protected they will have a much high price than the software that can be copied and used illegally. Why is that? These copy protected software packages are more valuable? Say more valuable than, oh, Photoshop?

I have bough my share of software and my share of fonts. but as long as Industry thinks that they can make hundreds of percent on profit they will suffer the same fate that is awaiting the music industry. If you could buy a song for 20� Napster would not work. If I could buy a font for $2.00 everyone would own all their fonts and Foundries would be doing well. If a font cost $2.00 i would buy most of my library. as it sits now, i would need to spend upwards of $350,000 to get legal.

I am a type designer. Many of the fonts I have were given to me by other type designers. The basic high cost of font's will be the driving force that puts foundries out of business.

On Apr.09.2003 at 10:15 PM
zip code’s comment is:

Please post more comments, I will visit this site again.

On Jun.09.2003 at 12:52 AM