The most overlooked design issue…

by | Apr 4, 2020 | 500 - 1000 words, Websites

With self-made logos being a popular choice when getting started in business for yourself, there are a lot of things to take into consideration; even with professionally made logos, there’s a lot to take in.

You’ve got your colour choices, related imagery, even fonts to consider. Does this combination suit your business? Does it look childish? Come across too unwelcoming? Does it attract your ideal client?

But there’s one area which seems to be forgotten in all of this by a number of people.

Do you need/have a licence to use the fonts your logo contains?

If this has you answering I don’t know, or nah I just downloaded it from the internet, or something similar; it’s worthwhile checking out whether or not you do actually need a licence.

Even if you purchased your logo from a designer, it is worth asking the question as to whether the fonts used needed a licence.

Now, you may be thinking but what’s the use of having a licence? It’s available online, I’m a small business, that’s expensive to purchase, etc. etc.

However, there are a couple of reasons why having a licence when it comes to your fonts is can be worthwhile.

It’s someone’s creation.

That’s right. Someone created the font you want to use. Creating a new type font isn’t an easy job either; as it takes time and dedication to come up with something no one has created before. Just like an artist takes time to create each individual piece of art work, creating a font means creating all 26 letters in the alphabet more than once (capital and lowercase), plus all the numbers and the special characters. That’s dedication right there!

It signifies that there is an element of exclusivity behind it.

A number of fonts can be purchased for under $100. And a large amount can be used for free (if you want to check if yours can be, Google Fonts is a great tool).

However, the higher the licence fee, the less likely it is that someone else will have your font. Now, I’m not advocating that everyone needs to splash out big money, but when it comes to branding sometimes exclusivity can be worth a bit of cash. This is something you would need to decide whether it’s right for you when it’s time to work on your branding.

It removes the risk of litigation for breach of copyright.

Just because it’s in Word, doesn’t mean it’s a free for all when it comes to being used online or commercially. And depending on the creators/copyright holders, some of them would have their lawyers searching for breaches of copyright. Could you be able to afford going to court to fight a copyright fine?

Let’s look at Helvetica as an example. It’s a common enough font that most people will have heard the name.

Can you gain access to the font? Yes.

Does the font actually cost to purchase? Yes.

Can you gain free access to the font? Yes.

Is the font licenced? Yes. It actually has a Proprietary licence and can’t be used for commercial use.

So what does that mean?

This means, that it is a worthwhile conversation to have with your designer or your lawyer if you want to use the font in your design.

Did you know that in America breach of copyright even if unintended can cost several thousand dollars? And if a person is found wilful in that breach there could even be jail time and fines up to $150,000.

The important questions you should ask yourself are these:

  • Do I want that font?
  • Should I pay for that font?
  • And if the answer to that second question is no when there is a licence fee associated with it, then you need to ask yourself one final question.
  • How would I feel about someone using my work without paying me for it?

At the end of the day, you need to decide what’s right for you.