6 Replies Latest reply on Jan 30, 2017 3:11 PM by rob day

    Isn't outlining all text a violation of the font license?

    Sandee Cohen Adobe Community Professional

      This is a template from a reputable online print shop that should know better.

       

      Isn't a blatant outlining of text, especially if the file is going to be a PDF, not just stupid, but against the licensing agreement?

       

      Instructions 2.png

      Instructions.png

        • 1. Re: Isn't outlining all text a violation of the font license?
          Michael Witherell Adobe Community Professional

          Hi Sandee! I harrumph along with you!

          • 2. Re: Isn't outlining all text a violation of the font license?
            BobLevine MVP & Adobe Community Professional

            It's only a violation to avoid embedding errors. In this is just stupid and the X/1-a is a dead give away to run, not walk to another printer not using 20-year old workflows.

            • 3. Re: Isn't outlining all text a violation of the font license?
              BobLevine MVP & Adobe Community Professional

              I should correct that. Not embedding error, but to bypass embedding restrictions.

              • 4. Re: Isn't outlining all text a violation of the font license?
                rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                Isn't a blatant outlining of text, especially if the file is going to be a PDF, not just stupid, but against the licensing agreement?

                I think you would first have to ask whose license agreement and what does it actually say? Seems like the spirit of "no embedding" font agreements is to prevent the use of the font outside of the license. Converting text to outlines would certainly accomplish that—no printer receiving text as outlines would be able to use the customer's font.

                 

                Instructions to flatten, convert to CMYK, and outline text are very common with online printers where full automation gets you the low price. I don't think it's because they are Luddites, but likely because there's never a customer service rep between you and the press to catch a case where there's a replaced font due to no embed restrictions, or you are expecting to print 0|0|255 blue as you see it on screen.

                 

                I use moo all the time and they are one of the better online printers. I also don't follow their lowest common denominator instructions. An advantage of low cost online printing is testing is inexpensive. I have sent them PDF/X-4 tests and I know they are perfectly capable of handling RGB conversions and embedded fonts. I have tested making conversion directly to GRAcol and letting them make the conversion on their end and the results were identical.

                • 5. Re: Isn't outlining all text a violation of the font license?
                  Dov Isaacs Adobe Employee

                  On behalf of Adobe Systems Incorporated:

                   

                  The practice of “outlining text” in and of itself is not necessarily against font licensing agreements.

                   

                  In the case of fonts sourced directly from Adobe, there is absolutely nothing in the EULA (End User License Agreement) that prohibits this practice. On the other hand, all fonts sourced directly from Adobe permit “preview and print embedding” for PDF, ePub, EPS, etc.

                   

                  However, for fonts sourced from other vendors, you must read the EULA to see whether such practice of outlining or even rasterizing is prohibited as a means of getting around embedding restrictions and/or royalty payments (payments based on number of files distributed in addition to a license simply to use the font) for the font(s) in question. What is permitted or prohibited in font EULAs is all over the place.

                   

                  That having been said, beyond any EULA issues the practice of “outlining text” is one of the poorest and most misguided workflow practices that we know of. Why?

                   

                  •     Outlining can dramatically reduce the quality of the rendered text on both screen and print, often yielding what appears to be overly emboldened text, especially at lower magnifications. This is due to the loss of intelligent scaling that “hinted fonts” provide in terms of how to render the font outlines at different magnifications.

                   

                  •     Each glyph becomes an independently-defined polygon bloating the size of the output file.

                   

                  •     Rendering time (RIP time for printing) can increase dramatically because outlined text isn't cached as glyph definitions and rasters are.

                   

                  •     In the case of PDF, you lose the ability to search for text and do any text touch-up in Acrobat/Reader. You also lose “accessibility” for screen readers and the ability to export to other text-based formats.

                   

                  There is only one situation in which outlining text makes sense and that is in the situation where you are applying some artistic effect(s) and transformations on text that cannot be be performed by simply scaling, rotation, and/or obliquing of text realized by fonts such as one might do in creating a logo. Note that some font EULAs explicitly prohibit such glyph distortions, modifications, etc. by outlining or otherwise. (Again, this is not an issue with fonts sourced from Adobe. Read your EULAs for fonts sourced elsewhere!!)

                   

                  PDF/X-1a is a retrograde PDF/X specification appropriate for 1990s era workflows in which there is no live transparency and no content originally in RGB (such as digital imagery) with all content in DeviceCMYK as handed down at Mt. Sinai!!!!

                   

                  Print Service Providers (PSPs) who require PDF/X-1a demonstrate that they either (1) have ancient RIPs and PDF workflow software that don't support anything newer (i.e., their stuff is nearly a decade old!), (2) they don't know that their RIPs and PDF workflow software indeed supports newer standards such as PDF/X-4, (3) are dramatically uniformed and/or scared of newer technology (latter day Luddites), and/or (4) have a “blame the customer” attitude by which if there is anything wrong with the colors as printed (and or the areas of transparency), since the customer and not the PSP did all the color conversions and transparency, the PSP can point to the customer as the party at fault!

                   

                  For the record, RIPs incorporating Adobe's PDF Print Engine technology for direct PDF rendering or even Global Graphics' Harlequin technology from over the last 10 years will unconditionally produce quality and performance from PDF/X-4 files with live transparency and full ICC color management than equivalent pre-flattened (i.e., “ruined transparency”) PDF/X-1a files.

                   

                            - Dov

                  • 6. Re: Isn't outlining all text a violation of the font license?
                    rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                    Print Service Providers (PSPs) who require PDF/X-1a demonstrate that they either (1) have ancient RIPs and PDF workflow software that don't support anything newer (i.e., their stuff is nearly a decade old!), (2) they don't know that their RIPs and PDF workflow software indeed supports newer standards such as PDF/X-4, (3) are dramatically uniformed and/or scared of newer technology (latter day Luddites), and/or (4) have a “blame the customer” attitude by which if there is anything wrong with the colors as printed (and or the areas of transparency), since the customer and not the PSP did all the color conversions and transparency, the PSP can point to the customer as the party at fault!

                     

                    If you look at Moo's branding and more importantly the quality of their printing, they are definitely not in group 1-3. Their template guidelines are unfortunate, but as I mentioned they will not reject PDF/X-4 with RGB and embedded fonts, and are fully capable of correctly outputting them.

                     

                    That leaves #4, but online printing depends on complete automation to deliver the price—there's no customer service or proofing between you and output so the normally questionable guidelines are likely a business choice. In that automated production process where there's no proofing what will generate more rejected jobs, outlined fonts (the output is high res so hinting isn't an issue) or missing fonts because the client misunderstands font embedding? I'd bet on the latter.