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I am self-teaching myself graphic design and am feeling a bit stuck about the licensing/copyright aspects of adobe fonts/ fonts that come with the programs in adobe.
Are these fonts free to use for commercial use? and if so, can I manipulate these texts however I want for logo design, etc, by changing transforming, and editing their shape?
Also, if I were to be using one of the adobe fonts for designing a brand identity, how would I go about delivering the chosen fonts to the client? Are the fonts in adobe only able to be legally used only by those who already have adobe programs?
For example: If I were to choose a font for a brand identity, would I only be able to deliver the fonts to the client with it already integrated into finished design files such as the brand poster, banner, brochures, etc in JPEG/PNG/SVG and PDF format? (rather than sending them the font file for them to be able to use)
Hope this wasn't too hard to understand! I would appreciate any help with the questions I have 🙂
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The specifics entirely depend on the individual font and that info is available via the TypeKit page or Adobe's font licensing FAQ. Outside that of course you can share artwork created from fonts without issue, as in legal terms they are derivative works, but whether or not you may share entire font sets or actual font files is a whole different matter for most fonts. Unless they have been explicitly declared "free" like Adobe Sans and a few others, some restrictions may apply. Again, you can't get a single all out answer here. You have to tackle this on a per case basis.
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Any logo, brand mark, word mark, etc should have any live text objects converted to outlines. No one should be required to install a particular font file in order to open/import a vector-based logo file. Any lettering in the finished logo file should be straight raw vectors. No editable text.
Generally speaking, once any font objects in a logo design are converted to outlines that takes away any font licensing issues. Typeface names can be copyrighted or even registered as trademarks. The data that makes up the font file can be copyrighted. Letter shapes on their own cannot. That's why there are many "clones" of certain typefaces. Helvetica has a slew of Helveti-clones: Nimbus Sans, Swiss 721 BT, CG Triumvirate, etc. Different type vendors may publish their own flavors of an established typeface, such as Futura. Linotype, Bitstream, URW, Tilde, Neufville Digital, Monotype and others have their own takes on Futura, even multiple versions. Futura Now is a pretty nice font package. None of these flavors of Futura are exactly the same. There are very subtle differences from one flavor of Futura to the next. None of those foundries simply took another vendor's font data and re-published it under a slightly different name. The characters had to be re-drawn, spaced, hinted, etc and generated into new font files.
All commercial fonts have their own licensing requirements and limit the number of computers on which they can be used, often just one computer only. Fonts synced via Adobe Fonts are only good for the 1-2 computers active on that user's subscription. CC users don't get any font files to re-distribute to other people. It is possible to embed font data from synced Adobe Fonts into PDFs for printing. If customers are needing specific font files as part of a corporate branding program those font files have to be purchased according to the number of computers that will be using them.
Some decent open source font options do exist. Sites like Google Fonts and Font Squirrel offer up a decent number of fonts that are free for commercial use. But even in that area there can be exceptions if a given open source typeface will be used on a massive scale, such as a commercial publication with many thousands of copies.
Awesome! Thank you for such an in-depth response. I'm a bit confused about what you mean by embedding font data from synced Adobe fonts into PDFs. If possible, would you be able to expand on what this method can help with regarding my original question?
Thank you! 🙂
Applications that can create PDFs, such as Adobe Illustrator, can embed font data from active text objects inside the PDF so anyone reading the PDF in Adobe Reader on another computer or portable device will not need to install any fonts in order to see the type objects rendered correctly. This is especially useful for blocks or columns of paragraph text. If a document with a great deal of text had all the lettering converted to raw outlines it would probably make the document much larger in terms of file size.