Hello, I understand that if a font is to be used in a logo then a license must be obtained but if I wanted to use an adobe font with type on a product label for example then would I need a special license for that? How about text used in Instagram posts? thanks
THE SIMPLE ANSWER:
It sounds like what you want to do is allowed by the Adobe Fonts licence: you’re producing work with static text that others can’t edit.
You can find detailed information – as well as answers to frequently-asked questions on Adobe’s website:
THE MORE DETAILED ANSWER:
Every typefoundry has its own set of licence agreements. These are typically posted on a foundry’s website.
If you ever need to directly license a specific typeface from a typefoundry, I strongly recommend reading the appropriate licence in detail before purchasing a licence. That way, you avoid the surprise of discovering that your licence doesn’t allow you to use the typeface in the ways that you need. Also: licence pricing can vary greatly, depending on specifically how you need to use the typeface.
Adobe Fonts has its own particular licensing agreement, which is similar to Adobe’s older Type Library licence.
That is: you can use typefaces any way you want, just as long as the products that you make don’t require an active copy of the font to work properly. In other words: static text is okay, but dynamic text isn’t.
What’s the difference?
Static text is text that you’ve typeset using a specific font, and then converted into a format that doesn’t require that others have a live version of the font files installed on their own computers.
If you build a PDF from InDesign, all fonts are embedded in an uneditable format. Any reader who opens the PDF file will see the font in use, but won’t be able to use the font themselves for new work.
If you’re working with text in Illustrator – and convert it to vector outlines – that’s static text. The vector outlines can’t be converted back into live editable text. That means even if you give that Illustrator file to another designer, they won’t need to have the font installed to view the outlined text accurately.
If you’re creating a graphic in Photoshop – and add text to your design – that’s also static text. Although Photoshop keeps the text live and editable in a layer, it also renders a bitmap version of that layer. That way, anyone who opens the Photoshop file without the font installed will still see the text layer accurately. They just won’t be able to edit the text on that layer, unless they first install the font on their system.
Dynamic text is any text that can be edited down the line by someone else. Most importantly: those other people don’t necessarily need the font installed on their system to create and edit text using that typeface.
Most basic typeface licences don’t allow you to create and publish work with dynamic text. Typefoundries typically have different types of licences to deal with situations like this. Dynamic text licences are typically much more expensive, and pricing depends upon just how many people will be using works with dynamic text.
An example of dynamic text: you want to set up a website that allows visitors to make T-shirts with your artwork. Your artwork includes text that the visitors can customize before placing an order. When they click the order button, a server with the typefaces installed generates a custom version of your artwork and sends it to a clothing company for manufacture.
In this example, you’re not the only person whose needs to have the typeface installed to produce the final artwork. The website server needs the font files to generate a preview of custom artwork that visitors create. Behind the website will be another system that needs the font files to generate production-ready artwork. And the clothing company will also need to have the font files installed to complete production and make any last-minute changes.
Dynamic text workflows like this are a much more complex than static text workflows. They involve more than just you, and the complexity of the workflow will require a set of custom licences and pricing agreements to be negotiated with the typefoundry. This is beyond the scope of the Adobe Fonts licence, which is intended for individual designers creating their own original work.
The point of Adobe Fonts is to give Creative Cloud subscribers easy access to thousands of typefaces from a wide range of typefoundries. The Adobe Fonts licence is similar to the licences that these typefoundries use themselves.
An advantage of using typefaces on Adobe Fonts is that the same uniform licence applies across the board, regardless of the typeface and typefoundry that you choose. But it also means that if you want to do something more custom – such as create designs with dynamic text – then you need to license the typefaces from the typefoundries directly.
An important exception to the Adobe Fonts licence: you cannot create saleable artwork that is a single character (or glyph):
The reason for this is simple: the many independent typefoundries that make their typeface designs available on Adobe Fonts don’t want this. If anyone is going to sell artwork based on individual characters in a typeface, the typefoundries want claim this as their own legal right.
A good example of this is House Industries, who for many years have sold artwork and products as a way to promote the typefaces that they design. A range of House typefaces used to be available on Adobe Fonts, but these days you need to license typefaces from them directly:
If you read the standard House Industries licence, you’ll find that it’s even more restrictive than the Adobe Fonts licence. For example: you need to purchase a special licence to use House typefaces in any logo.
I hope that answers your question. If not, please let me know.