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8 posts

Graphic designing classes and free fonts

May 06, 2010 at 04:40

I've never taken any designing class, so this topic is all about questions and suppositions.

First, I thought about that because one day, I saw a poster from a pretty big company (a bank, in fact) that was using one of my fonts. I was pretty sure they had never paid for it, and gave them a call.
They were really polite, and gave me no problems. They of course paid me, but something took my attention. The guy I was talking to said that he never thought he had to pay for fonts. He never did, and if I had not called, he'd never have.


Here's my point:
I'm pretty sure in classes teachers tell their students they have to pay for stock they use (pictures, etc.) but is anyone telling them that they must pay to use most fonts they freely downloaded ?

This is just a supposition I made, but I have a couple of other anecdotes that led me to think this.

But I live in a pretty small place, maybe it's different in bigger cities, or even other countries. But if I'm right, is there a way to inform future graphic designers of that ? I'd like to know if similar things happened to some of you, or if I'm just imagining things

tl;dr: I think nobody tell graphic designing students that they must pay for most free fonts.


Jun 02, 2010 at 01:55

No one tells you that you have to pay for fonts. And the time that you really do have to pay is to use them commercially, which isn't the case with all graphic design students.


Jun 04, 2010 at 19:22

Yeah I know, but the goal of graphic design classes is for the students to do commercial stuff one day. That's what I'm concerned about :/


Jun 04, 2010 at 21:28

Think of it this way, Graphic Designers usually aren't self-employed. And when they're hired for a business, I'm sure their supervisors make them pay for the fonts they use.


Jun 05, 2010 at 01:25

emmalicious77 said  
Think of it this way, Graphic Designers usually aren't self-employed. And when they're hired for a business, I'm sure their supervisors make them pay for the fonts they use.

Actually, emmalicious77, the majority of Graphic Designers ARE self-employed. They find their own clients, and charge the client an amount that is agreeable to both sides. If the designer needs to use commercial fonts, he/she will usually purchase the fonts, and include the cost of the fonts in the amount that the client will have to pay. The designer then keeps the fonts. Although the self-employed designer can't count on things like a regular paycheck, company benefits, taxes deducted at source, etc., they do have many advantages as well, such as being able to work from home, being able to deduct the cost of some puchases from their income because they are business expenses, etc. One very big reason why a graphic designer would want to be self-employed is ownership of artistic creativity. If you are an employee of a company, and you create something of artistic value, in most cases, it would belong to the company, not to you.

If someone is a graphic design student, they usually wouldn't need to pay for 'free for personal use' fonts while studying, UNLESS they use the fonts for commercial use prior to graduation, (ie: they're doing 'professional' jobs part-time or occaisionally while they complete their courses). If the student is using a font for a school assignment, where they would receive a grade for their work, rather than money, that would be considered 'personal use' by most designers, but you should read the license or read me file with the particular font to be sure.

The distinction between a 'commercial font' and a 'free for personal use' font usually relates to how the font is acquired, and the ways you are allowed to use it after acquisition. For most commercial fonts, you are buying a license to use the font for commercial purposes, in addition to buying the font file itself. There may be additional conditions, like the number of computers on which you can install the font, whether or not you have the right to modify the font in any way, etc. Those rights are usually connected to the font itself, so by buying the font, you don't acquire the right to sell it, or to give it away to other people.

With 'free for personal use' fonts, you have an obligation to compensate the designer or rights holder, if you are going to use their font for commercial purposes, ie: if you are going to make some money by using their font, they want you to give some of that money to them.

In most cases, the cost of a commercial font is much higher than the cost to purchase a license to use a 'free for personal use' font. You're also likely to see a noticeable difference in the quality, as well. Most commercial font designers are professionals, and their commercial fonts are going to be professionally made and technically precise. Most 'free for personal use' designers are amateurs or semi-professional font makers, and you'll expect to see some technical errors in many of their fonts, usually in terms of degradation of the quality at lower point sizes.


Jun 05, 2010 at 01:45

in the US a lot of graphic designers work for comapnies who hire them. A lot of our businesses have their own advertising staff. I don't know any self-employed Graphic Designers.


Jun 07, 2010 at 10:31

You don't have ANY freelance in the US ??? waw.
In France, it's quite common to be self-employed. Maybe there is no legal structure to work this way in the US.


Jun 07, 2010 at 15:33

vinz said  
You don't have ANY freelance in the US ??? waw.
In France, it's quite common to be self-employed. Maybe there is no legal structure to work this way in the US.

No, there is a lot of self employed people, designers included, in the US. I don't have statistics, but I think the majority are.



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