Font are digital files, so when you purchase fonts, you're actually licensing them.
If you’re not sure which license you need to purchase, the license categories and descriptions below will help you figure it out:
A desktop licenses are based on the number of users of the fonts (see our 'What is a user' article for more information on this).
You can install and use desktop fonts on Windows and Mac OS X systems.
Desktop fonts are usually downloaded, installed and then selected via your font menu on a desktop application, such as Adobe InDesign, Microsoft Word or PowerPoint.
You can use these fonts to design and create documents or images which can be saved, printed or used within a static image (.png, .jpeg, . tiff).
Important point - You can use these static images that you create with your desktop fonts within a mobile app or website, you just can't use the font file itself without purchasing additional licenses. Remember that you are licensing the font software, but the images that you create are separate to this. You will need to check the specific EULA for the font you have purchased to see if there are any further restrictions when it comes to the images that you create (there may be some about NFTs, as an example to look out for).
Our articles on 'How do I increase the number of desktop users?' and 'what file format do I need - OTF or TTF?' could also help and are attached below (see related articles).
In order for a font to display properly on a website (or email), it typically needs to be embedded in to the site's code. This allows the text to be responsive and scale as needed based on the many different screen sizes that it could be viewed. It also helps search engines, such as Google, find key words within your site. You do this by using a webfont which you embed within the code of your website using the @font-face rule.
For more techy folks - you will be self hosting the webfont kit and linking it in the CSS.
See our articles on 'Webfonts usage (page views)', 'How do I use webfonts' and 'Which webfont formats do you offer' for more information (See related articles)
As mentioned above in the Desktop information, if you are only using a static image of the font (such as a logo) then a webfont license is not needed.
An ePub license allows you to use (embed) the fonts within an electronic publication. This includes eBooks, eNewspaper or an interactive PDF.
The license you need is based on the number of titles that you will be using the font within.
Important note - each new issue is a separate publication, but different versions of the same issue are not.
An App licenses allow you to embed the font file into the code of your mobile application ( iOS, Android, Windows etc).
The price is based on the number of downloads on the App Store, Google Play or other relevant mobile application store, each year. We appreciate this is often difficult to predict in advance, so it is best to leave some room and ensure you are covered for a little extra that predicted. If you do realise that you have exceeded the number of downloads that you are licensed for then you must purchase additional licenses to cover the correct amount.
You will need a separate license for each app.
Banner ads can come in all shapes and sized, which means that it is really important for your font to be responsive and scale as needed, a digital ad license allows you to do this by embedding the font within the code of your digital ad (using a web font file).
A digital ad license is based on the number of impressions your campaign, or annual usage, will require. We appreciate this is often difficult to predict in advance, so it is best to leave some room and ensure you are covered for a little extra that predicted. If you do realise that you have exceeded the number of impressions that you are licensed for then you must purchase additional licenses to cover the correct amount.
Sometimes a font file is used in a way where an end user without a licence themselves can access the font to personalise a document or a product, for example a personalised birthday card or a PDF receipt in a specific brand font. This is when a server license is required. With a server licenses the fonts can not be distributed or downloaded from the server.
We split this out in to two different types of server usage, internal and external:
- Internal - Is where an organisation (or individual, but unusual) installs a font on their servers so that employees or automated processes can access these fonts to produce documents using those specific fonts. The key thing here is that nobody external to the organisation can interact with the font file, customers can't pick which font they want to use or which words to create with them. The process of interacting with the font file happens within the licensed organisation.
- External - This is where the font file is embedded on a server but the external end user can interact with the font in some manner. Think of creating a personalised birthday card, business card, mug or t-shirt via a website. In order for the organisation to use the fonts in this way they would need an external server license.
Some of our foundry partners just have one server license that covers both internal and external usage. This should be clear when you come to select this license type when purchasing the font and will be detailed within their EULA.
Important note - the server license can not be used as a way to distribute desktop fonts to people within, or outside, an organisation. It must only be used as part of automated processes to create items (hard-goods). If an organisation needs their employees to use desktop fonts throughout their organisation then they need a desktop license that covers each employee as a 'user'.