Typography, it's so hot right now, but what do you need to know when searching for fonts? There are several different ways that font creators give usage rights for their fonts. It's important to know the licensing rules for a particular font before deciding if it is okay for you to use commercially (aka – for your business) or not.
Some fonts are completely free, and some are free for personal use only (ie – not for commercial businesses). Other fonts are available for purchase and have different licensing rules, which are available to read before purchasing. Make sure you read the fine print on the fonts you are using, read licensing agreements, and get familiar with the terms of any fonts that you are using for your business.
Along with general licensing, you also want to make sure that you're using the fonts for their intended purpose. There are versions for desktop use, webfont versions (for use on your website), app-embedding, etc. Make sure that you have purchased the correct version of the font for your intended use.
Font licensing agreements can be long and full of a lot of information, and it may make you nervous that you're not using the fonts correctly. If you're ever unsure, go to one of my favorite sites, Font Squirrel, which has only 100% FREE for commercial use fonts (how awesome is that?) They have several fonts to choose from and you do not need to worry about not having the proper usage rights.
Font designers are creative business owners just like you, so it's important to make sure that you are abiding by their rules when using their work. I often get asked by my clients, “Can you email me over the fonts that you used in my logo?” Sometimes I can (well, at least the links where they can download them for free), but most often, designers or original font purchasers are prohibited from transferring files to anyone else, even their clients.
When I purchase a font as a designer, I'm making sure I have the right to use it for my commercial projects for my clients. This is also part of the reason that designers obviously charge for their services. Aside from the know-how, we purchase large quantities of fonts and licenses, which can get expensive!
Knowing what to look for when purchasing and downloading fonts will save you headaches in the long-run and will make sure that your business is on the right track. Do you have any great resources for free commercial use fonts?
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