Recently, on an old post, I got a question:
“Might come off as a silly question, but I need answers. I was formerly employed by a large company as a designer. I have left the company to start my own freelance design business. I still continue to do design work for my former company. Do I need to purchase a set of fonts in order to legally do my work as a freelancer? What is a good set to buy? Or is it better to buy them on an as needed basis? Any recommendations would be appreciated.”
And my response:
Thanks for reading – and no, that’s not a silly question.
As far as the legality – I have to plead a little bit o’ ignorance on that. I will say – it is ALWAYS better to have your own, fully licensed copy of ANYTHING you have on your computer. Fonts included.
As far as having a bunch of fonts, – really, it all kind of depends on your needs. If you work with a lot of fonts, or plan to work with a lot of fonts, then you should go ahead and buy a collection.
BUT – I would suggest buying a font library from a big manufacturer – Adobe, Letraset, ITC, etc. That way, you get the real fonts that you’ll need. They might not be all that exciting or funky, but you’ll get the Avant Gardes, the Garamonds, the Futuras that you need – and they’ll be the full versions that are actually used by printers and service bureaus.
You can always get the funkier fonts too, but you really need to get a good, solid straightforward collection to form the foundation of your whole library.
For some of the more unusual fonts, you can get freebies all over the place. A couple of my favorites are
Just Google “free fonts” or “free cool fonts” and you’ll come up with a variety of things for download.
Just thought it bore some more attention, as fonts can be a really sticky subject.
When you buy fonts, you are essentially purchasing a license to use them our your machine and in your design. You can’t really send them to a printer as part of a package legally. I don’t know of anyone that’s been in trouble for packaging everything up (using InDesign’s “Package” or Quark’s “Gather”) but ostensibly, you could. So be careful.
“Borrowing” fonts is common. Keeping fonts used on other jobs or provided by an employer or client is also common – but neither is technically legal. Not sure what sort of trouble you could get in, but you could.
So – purchase a font library and use that. Collect free fonts. But – keep it legal and you’ll be in the right.