6 Replies Latest reply on Jan 8, 2013 5:42 AM by Designer_10

    Font Licensing


      Hi there,


      I wonder if someone could help me with font licensing? It is something that I havn't yet been able to get my head around.


      I have previously worked as an in-house designer in which all fonts with correct licensing have been supplied for me. Now I working for a small company as the sole designer. The company have provided me with CS6 Adobe Creative Suite with a commercial license, however, since I have installed this on my own mac, I have no idea which are the fonts that come with CS6 and which are my own. (Fonts I have decided to install over the years from dafont etc).


      Is there a function (specifically in Indesign) which enables me to see which are the fonts that come with the software, safe to use commercially.



        • 2. Re: Font Licensing
          Designer_10 Level 1

          Great - this list is exactly what I was after.


          Thank you!

          • 3. Re: Font Licensing
            Designer_10 Level 1

            However... furthermore, would anyone be able to assit me in determining if all the remaining fonts on my mac, are legal to use for commercial use?


            For instance I have a range of fonts that I have obtained or downloaded from I don't know where. My company's primary font is Helvetica which I have on my mac with a variety of weights, but it does not come with Creative Suite Standard. Is there anyway I can check the licence of this font, or find the source? I'm sure I got it from a design agency when I was a student, still unsure if this is legal.


            I find font licensing a grey area, I used to intern for a company that downloaded from dafont and then outlined them. Which doesn't strike me as legal!



            • 4. Re: Font Licensing
              Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

              Helvetica is often installed as a printer font, though you might or might not have received a disk with the printer that would have allowed you to install it on your system as well (Xerox, for example, used to provide a disk, but doesn't seem to any longer). Typically fonts installed on printers are older or abbreviated versions. Helvetica was also installed as a system font on Macs, I think, for many years, but has been replaced with the Helvetica.dfont. A legitiamte copy of helvetica would certainly be licensed for commercial use.


              There's a broader question here, though, and I'm impressed that you take it seriously. Most fonts that require payment are licensed for either a single user or a limited number of users within a single organization (Adobe fonts, for example, typically have a five-user license). It is not permissible for you to transfer the font to someone outside the organization, anymore than it is permissible for you to share your license for InDesign with your cousin in another state. In the real world you'll probably never get nicked for using a font that isn't properly licensed, but if you want to keep your conscience clear you should save up your money and re-purchase your own licenses for commercial fonts (that don't come for free with your various applications) as you find you need them, and download your free font licenses to see what they say.


              Personally, I avoid the free font sites. While there are some very good free fonts, many of the so-called free fonts are in fact pirated commercial products, others are badly made amateur products that will crash InDesign, and many more are free only for personal use (though some can be licensed for a fee to use commercially -- but it can be a real slog to find them).

              • 5. Re: Font Licensing
                BobLevine MVP & Adobe Community Professional

                In addition to Peter's comments, which are dead on, if you're looking

                for high quality fonts and want free, check out Google's web fonts.


                As the name implies, these were originally distributed for use on

                websites, but they're open source and very much free to use for print

                and other electronic distribution.



                • 6. Re: Font Licensing
                  Designer_10 Level 1

                  Hi Peter


                  Thank you so much for your advice with this, I already feel that I understand font licensing much better. I have several fonts on my system that I have 'taken' from friendly design agencies helping me out when I was a student. I knew in the back of my mind that I was not permissible to use them, but also as I knew that they had been purchased at some point therefore became a little confused.


                  And what do you know, I asked my line manager if we could purchase Helvetica and it was sitting on the server ready. Couldn't see the wood for the trees.


                  I will sleep easy tonight.


                  Thanks again!