Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Feast for Foundaries

In answer to my original query, many fonts of knowledge have contributed – thanks to you all for your time. Have cut and pasted here for all our benefit . . .

From a brilliant copyright expert at Penguin, "the Publisher would also have to purchase the font to use it . . . This is an absolute nightmare when selling overseas rights or licensing on our covers . . ."

From another brilliant copyright/production/font expert at Penguin, "[the] freelance designer would have to hold a licence to the fonts . . . however we, the publisher would need to purchase font licences also – we would bring files in house, to print out and circulate if nothing else, to do corrections, and to archive. The repro house would also need to hold font licences. The foundries are going to do very well out of this, but it is important that we are in strict compliance will all font licences."

And from the ever helpful and brilliant art director, Deb Brash, "Foundries have had the same licences and agreements for ages, but are cracking down on ensuring that the often confusing and complex licensing agreements are adhered to."

Thanks again everyone.


  1. Coincidently I just got an email today from a large publishing house issuing a new policy on fonts whereby the only fonts that can be used on their covers are from a pre-determined list. Several other publishers I know of use the same model. It allows the publisher to be more compliant on font licensing but it also reduces font choice for designers.

  2. I have found freelancing and fonts a minefield where the designer often ends up being the 'baddie'. I try desperately to do the right thing but no matter how many times you explain it to some people they still don't understand that a font is software and you need a license and you can't just download it for free and pass it on merrily to everyone you know.

    I know of three large publishing companies that at least used to use a similar 'model' as Phil has described above, where the publisher was supposed to send their fonts to freelancers and have a signed agreement that they'd be deleted from the freelancers system once the job was completed and sent to press. I am sure this process was cleared at the time by two of the large font foundries....but from comments on here this seems to have gone out the window!??

    Interesting, but not surprising.

    Anyway, great topic I have a love/hate relationship with, but definitely one that needs more of a profile.

  3. Thank you for setting this up, Sandy. I hope you don't mind me joining you. I'm not a professional book designer or typographer - though I did illustrate and hand write all 208 pages of my book 'The Australian Manual of Calligraphy' (Allen and Unwin, 1987). I have also taught book cover design for a program organised by the State Library of Queensland.

    So why do so few publishers employ a professional calligrapher to produce lettering that is unique and hassle free? We have very talented practitioners in all states - some of the world's best.

    I don't work with type, but would like to gain skills to make some of my calligraphy into usable fonts, particularly for children's books. It's on my 'to do' list. I was therefore interested in the examples of typeset words on the page from the link you posted, Liam. 'AVAST' may look well spaced - but I wonder what would then happen if a letter combination like 'AA' existed in a word? From a calligrapher's perspective, I would be most disappointed with myself if I wrote 'LOVELY' with compartively large inter-letter spaces between the 'L' and the 'O' and 'L' and 'Y', as per the example of Normal or what is supposed to be Optically superior. Similarly, for my eyes, the gaps are obviously too large in the words 'True Type' between 'T' and 'r' and 'T' and 'y'; too large in 'Youth' between 'Y' and 'o' - and too large in 'traffic' between 'r' and 'a'.

    If lettering by hand, it would be so easy to shorten the bottom of 'L' when necessary, tuck the vertical of 'r' under the bar of 'T', or make 'o' closer to 'Y' and so on.

    It's good to find you here, too, Andrew - we met at the CBCA dinner in Brisbane a few years ago, and regards, too, to Maryann who I met recently at the SCBWI Conference in Sydney.

    Best wishes to all,

    Peter Taylor