Digital Spring Cleaning: Getting Your Font Licenses in Order

The right font can make or break the most brilliant visuals and most creatives have acquired a good-sized library of fonts. Over the years, designers collect fonts from a variety of sources: Friends, coworkers, your company (or companies) the internet, etc. No harm. They are FREE right?

You may have squirmed just a little bit after reading that last paragraph because you probably know the answer.

No, fonts are NOT free. Not all of them, at least. There are freeware, shareware, demo versions and other types of fonts but regardless of whether they require a financial payment, they carry with them a license just like music, software and any other intellectual property. Real people create them and the fonts should be used in accordance with their license. Not honoring a license can lead to legal issues, technical trouble and possibly the tarnishing of the very reputation on which you base your business.

The folks at Extensis, the industry leader in font management and digital asset management software, developed a report that every creative professional should read. The Hidden Risks of Font Misuse Survey Report includes some good-to-know feedback from your creative peers as well as some considerations for future font usage.

With spring around the corner, I’m taking inventory of my digital library and getting my fonts in order. What are your tips for using fonts and honoring their licenses?