Confused about Single Glyph/Character license use distinction/

Engaged ,
Oct 24, 2019 Oct 24, 2019

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I want to use a font for a clients logo. I read over the License terms and FAQs for adobe fonts and theres something Im confused about. It says that you can use a font for nearly any project, as many projects as your want, but single letters/characters/glyphs cannot be used to spell something out. (from here-on out I will use "letter(s)" for letters/characters/glyphs)

The project Im doing for the client involces a logo and the name of his company. Primarily he's needing it for cards, but Im certain it wouldn't be limited to cards. Im pretty sure he'll want to print out vinyl decals to put on his vehicle. But when you print out vinyl decals, the letters are no longer "connected" as an image, but are cut into seperate vinyl letters.

It seems . . . unlikely (imo) that you can use a font to print a card, but couldn't print vinyl decals. But I don't want either my client or myself getting sued. So I just wanted to confirm.

Does anyone have clarification on this matter? Your time and any feedback is appreciated.

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Community Beginner ,
Sep 29, 2022 Sep 29, 2022

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I have the same question. Can someone answer and help?

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Community Expert ,
Sep 30, 2022 Sep 30, 2022

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THE QUICK ANSWER:


This is a borderline case for font licensing. Your client would probably be fine, because the decal letters that are individually being cut out are part of a larger piece of artwork with multiple characters.


THE MORE DETAILED ANSWER:


The reason why the ‘single glyph’ term exists in the Adobe Fonts licence is simple: most of the typefaces on the service are the products of third-party typefoundries, who want that term in the licence.


These foundries make their typefaces available on Adobe Fonts as a convenience for Creative Cloud subscribers. A typefoundry can choose to add, modify, or remove their typefaces from Adobe Fonts whenever they want.


Earning licensing fees from Adobe Fonts is one of many ways that typefoundries make money. Many foundries rely on direct licensing; most make their fonts available for licensing on other services. Some produce publications and custom designs; some even sell merchandise.


Typographic merchandise is an important reason why the ‘single glyph’ term is in Adobe’s licensing agreement. One of the best examples of a typefoundry who produces merchandise is House Industries:


https://www.houseindustries.com/ *


[* Note to forum moderators: please do not remove these hyperlinks, as they’re critical to answering this forum posting.]


When House produces a typeface, they also make merchandise. In some cases, they manufacture and sell products directly:


https://houseindustries.com/hi/house-racing-number *
https://hello.houseind.com/work/serigraphs/ *


In other cases, they work with third-party manufacturers:


https://hello.houseind.com/work/design-with-reach/ *
https://hello.houseind.com/work/heath-ceramics/ *
https://hello.houseind.com/work/uncle-goose/ *


These examples illustrate why a typefoundry may not want you to make and sell single-character designs and merchandise: you’d be in direct competition with them. And since typeface design is a extremely time-consuming profession – it can take years to design a single font – it’s understandable why a type designer sees it as their right to make money from their own work. Especially the individual glyphs and characters that make up their typeface designs.


In the case of making vinyl decal letters and numbers: this would be grey area in Adobe Fonts’ licence. If the decals are the result of a process that requires that an artwork be broken up into individual components for later assembly, that should be okay. Just as long as you’re not selling those individual components as part of a modular system, like making house numbers.


But if you’re simply using typefaces on Adobe Fonts to produce individual-character decals for sale to anyone, that’s an obvious violation of Adobe’s licence. It’s like buying a bulk-unit product from a wholesale warehouse, and then selling the components clearly marked ‘Not for Individual Resale’ yourself.


I hope that answers your question. If not, please let me know.


Best regards
Andrew


–30–

 

 

ANDREW KEITH STRAUSS / ACTP / CTT+ / ACI / ACE / ACP

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