Fontsite/Softmaker: so what?

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Tiffany Wardle's picture
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Joined: 13 Jul 2001 - 11:00am
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Hugo — I actually meant to reply to this thread, and just kept forgetting. I would always recommend going directly through the foundry, as a first choice. But, that said, going through MyFonts is just as good an option. I purchased a couple different “collections” through MyFonts and see no reason to have done differently. Is this close to an answer?

Nathan Matteson's picture
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Joined: 16 Dec 2002 - 11:00am
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Didn’t see this thread. Sorry Hugo. From my experience:

The fonts I saw on the Fontsite CD were pretty terrible. Technically. I.e., fonts with absolutely no hinting, contours running on the wrong direction, etc.

I never did a comparison between their fonts (e.g., FS Caslon) and a font a knew to be reputable (e.g., Adobe Caslon) so I don’t know if they were pure rip-offs or not. (Though I’m interested to do that right now — I’ll let you know.)

I certainly don’t want to suggest that they’re an unethical bunch if they’re not. But frankly, the fonts are dubious enough to put me off. And really appalling from the technical side.

I think those are 2 of the reasons certain font collections are so cheap. Technically inferior & (perhaps) merely stolen outlines from a proper foundry.

Nathan Matteson's picture
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Joined: 16 Dec 2002 - 11:00am
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OK. That said, I think a lot of my students still use the Fontsite CD (some, unfortunately, for professional work). I suppose it’s better to have FS Caslon at your disposal than to be stuck with Times New Roman for every project — if you’re broke and you’re school (in my case) doesn’t provide a proper collection from Bitstream, Adobe, etc. Maybe.

Hugo Cristo's picture
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Joined: 24 Feb 2003 - 11:00am
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Thanks Tiffany and Nathan for the feedback.

Buying fonts directly from the foundry always
seemed to be the best choice for me. That’s
why those collections surprised me so much.

I’ve almost decided wich collection I’ll buy,
probably Bitstream’s Cambridge. But what still
makes me curious is how that font renaming
thing works. I mean, isn’t there any legal way
of preventing an unauthorized redrawing and
reselling of an original font? And I’m not only
talking about things like Softmaker/Fontsite’s
Sabon x Savoy, but also like Bitstream’s
Humanist 521 x Gill Sans.

Let me put it better: What else, beyond ethics,
prevents anybody from redrawing one of my fonts
and reselling them under other names?

hC

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am
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I think it was the FontSite CD that was discussed on Typo-L many years ago, and it turned out that the guy selling it (Sean Cavannaugh) got the rights to all those fonts legitimately, when the parent font house (I forget who) did a barter with some money they owed him. So it’s more the parent font house’s fault.

hhp

Nathan Matteson's picture
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Joined: 16 Dec 2002 - 11:00am
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>legitimately, when the parent font house (I forget who) did a barter

That’s really interesting. I was at an old student’s office last night and was looking at the FontSite CD — and I was wondering how it was possible to have “URW Grotesk” if it wasn’t licensed. Makes more sense now. But it still doesn’t explain why so many of the fonts aren’t technically up to par.

>What else, beyond ethics,
prevents anybody from redrawing one of my fonts
and reselling them under other names?

As far as I understand it, if you work in the US, nothing prevents that. You can copyright the name of your typeface, but not the outlines. So anyone can rip off your outlines, change the name, and redistribute the font.

Nathan Matteson's picture
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Joined: 16 Dec 2002 - 11:00am
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>but also like Bitstream’s
Humanist 521 x Gill Sans.

Hugo, I believe there was a discussion about Bitstream and their naming conventions a month or two ago on Typophile. I’ll try to dig up the link for you.

Try here and here.

Nathan Matteson's picture
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Joined: 16 Dec 2002 - 11:00am
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Hugo, also take a look at this discussion re: Gill Sans.