Eighty3 - Creative Solutions

When it comes to typeface, are you the font of all knowledge?

What the font?

What typeface and font do you use in your branding and logo? Do you even know what it’s called? Or did you choose it because it just looked the biz? Fair play. Or so you may think. 

Using a typeface and font commercially without the proper licence could mean you’re inadvertently breaking the law. Here, we’re going to go a little deeper into the importance of the lettering you choose, especially when using Canva, so it’s all a little bit easier when you’re working on your business. So, get those speedos and bikini on, and we’ll dive right in.

Word to the wise

We all know that branding is pretty important. In fact, we bang the branding drum pretty regularly. And being designers, we know that font is an integral part of the whole process. Using text, you can be whatever you want to be: serious, stylish, regal, techy or flowery. But the majority of fonts are not open source, so to use them commercially, well, you need a commercial licence.

Crackin’ Canva

So, how about the fonts on Canva? We’ve previously written a blog on our love of Canva, the fantabulous design app that allows you to create to your heart’s content for both business and personal projects. But when you’re on the app perfecting your branding and marketing materials, is that font (which you spent ages choosing) actually freely available to use for business purposes? Don’t be so sure.  

Choosing the right font

Canva must have hundreds of fonts to choose from (we haven’t counted them). Some are available in the free version, some only for the Pro version, but if you look at the Free Media Licence Agreement and the One Design Use Licence Agreement, they don’t include the word font.

Thankfully, the kind people at Canva have composed a list of fonts available for commercial use. However, take a peek at the closing notes on this list of the best free fonts on Canva. Not all are for commercial use. Hmmm.

The beauty of Google fonts

Did you know that Google has their own set of over 1,000 fonts? We’re not saying they’re all beautiful; some are anything but! The beauty comes with the fact that they’re all open source. Yep, you read that right. You can use any Google font for both non-commercial and commercial activities. 

Here at Eighty3, we regularly use Google fonts in our design endeavours, and if you haven’t seen our “Favourite Google fonts” post yet, check it out!

What is your type?

Font vs typeface (geek speak)

Ok, we don’t want to get too technical, but is there a difference between font and typeface? Yes. If there weren’t, we probably wouldn’t have asked! Think, one typeface, many fonts. Roboto is the name of a typeface (in fact, it’s a typeface family). But, the specific font you write your Roboto text in depends on character weight, spacing and whether it is italic. Depending on the sector you work in, size may determine the font too. 

There are many type foundries (companies that design and sell typefaces) out there, so if you’re thinking of using something that’s not open source, then shop around. You can even commission a typeface or font solely for your own use! But using something that isn’t your intellectual property willy nilly without doing it correctly is a step towards design disaster!

Parting notes

If you want to find out about a particular typeface, type its name followed by ‘font licence’ into your favourite search engine, e.g., ‘Poppins Font Licence’ and have a read of what comes up. Do you have permission to use it commercially, or do you have to pay for a licence? 

There are various End User License Agreements (EULA) available from the Desktop Font Licence, the Web Licence, the App and E-Pub Licence to the Broadcasting Licence. Each licence determines how you can use your chosen font (our list isn’t exhaustive, by the way). The guidance is out there; we found this buying guide on Colophon Foundry’s website and this information from Typotheque. If in doubt, make sure you investigate! 

Want to know more? Give us a bell, or drop us an email (01384 936620 or info@eighty3.co.uk) or contact us via Google My Business. We’re on social too! Find us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Insta, Twitter and TikTok. Phew!  

As you can probably guess, this blog does not constitute legal advice. Double-check the licence when downloading or using a font to ensure it is suitable for your desired purpose. A font, just like an invention, is intellectual property; make sure you give it that respec’.


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