Aller Sans: High quality fonts for free download

Henrik Birkvig's picture

Sponsored by Danish publishing company Aller (hence the name) and designed as part of the Danish School of Media and Journalisms new CI.
I art directed and the good people of Dalton Maag, London (Bruno Maag, Marc Weyman and Ron Carpenter) designed and produced. Apart from being the corporate font for our new CI, the fonts are for free download at http://www.dmjx.dk/presserum/skrift.html.
Henrik Birkvig

blank's picture

I’m confused by the license. While the license is addressed to all downloaders, item 10 implies that Aller is licensed to DSMJ only for use by the school. I don’t see anything in the license stating that the DSMJ can make the font available to the general public or that, as an entity other than DSMJ, I have any license to use the fonts.

Henrik Birkvig's picture

Sorry for the confusion. I talked to Bruno Maag and agreed just to let their EULA follow the fonts. But you can download and use them for any purpose you want to – but of course not rename them and re-release them.
Henrik

blank's picture

Well, the fonts are great. Free Bruno Maag type is going to become popular pretty quickly!

Chris Keegan's picture

Henrik if you agreed to let their EULA follow the fonts, then doesn't that mean that the points of the agreement follow as well? I would ask them to update that EULA to show that anyone can use these fonts, but which I personally don't understand why it would be in their interest to do so.

bruno_maag's picture

OK, there seems to be some confusion regarding the EULA. This is a special arrangement. All IP rights are with Dalton Maag on this font family. The DSMJ has the right to distribute the fonts freely as part of their 'exclusivity' for the next two years.

The EULA also states that the fonts may be used on up to 25 workstations after which they become commercial. So, a corporate user will actually have to pay a license fee.

The EULA is there to ensure that users don't distribute the fonts themselves, as much as there are no modifications or reverse engineering. It is a protected font product like any other commercial font.

So, I can put your minds at rest. The DSMJ is fully within their rights to announce this free download. As a user you may use the fonts in your work as you wish, as long as you follow the EULA.

Bruno Maag
Dalton Maag Ltd

Chris Keegan's picture

Henrik/Bruno, thanks! The type looks great.

Nick Shinn's picture

Bruno, your strategy could backfire.
If foundries can't make money off sales to less than 25 workstations because the market is full of free fonts like Aller, they may adopt a similar tactic and compete in "your" niche.

nithrandur's picture

I like the alternates for the A in the display. This is really nice! Thank you.

bruno_maag's picture

I would like to say here, that it is not our usual policy to publish free fonts. In fact we don't give away any of our fonts.

The case of the Aller font family is different in that the client has paid for the development and negotiated the right to widespread distribution for the next two years. It's not that different to fonts being distributed with Windows. As we retain all the rights to the fonts we have full control over future developments and in two years time we have the opportunity to further exploit the fonts.

Bruno Maag
Dalton Maag

Nick Shinn's picture

It’s not that different to fonts being distributed with Windows.

If a foundry makes free fonts available for one platform, that can lead to corporate sales for the other, and I've heard the theory that this accounts for a lot of the sales of the old sans faces such as Helvetica. Not sure how well that model would continue to work in the OpenType era.

My philosophy of font marketing (and digital ethics) changed considerably when I read Chris Anderson's essay on "Free" in Wired, although I haven't got around to incorporating my new attitude into any marketing plans yet.

aluminum's picture

As a .gov-er by day, I always appreciate a quality free font. Thanks!

Si_Daniels's picture

>The EULA also states that the fonts may be used on up to 25 workstations

Perhaps the company could download the fonts twice or three times giving them 50 or 75 workstations? Or suggest that their users to downlaod the fonts directly?

SuperUltraFabulous's picture

The fonts are beautiful!

But of course nothing ever turns out right for me. Why would it? Anyway...

I get this error. Also the light weight is not linked with regular and bold.

Mikey :-)

bruno_maag's picture

Ok, two answers:
A download does not count as a license. The license talks of installation of 25 workstations. That means if you have the fonts installed on 75 workstations you are in defiance of the EULA, whether you downloaded the fonts once or a 100 times.

This is the typical Fontbook bug. It's been around for blimmin' ages and Apple (the lifestyle company) have done nothing to remedy it. This error occurs when TTF fonts are loaded with a missing 'fpgm' table. This table is necessary for hinted fonts but in unhinted fonts it has no effect whatsoever. You can safely ignore this warning. We ought to issue an update I guess.

You can only link for font styles together. The fonts are engineered so that the Bold can be accessed via the 'B' button in Office apps. That necessitates that the Light has to be separated into its own font family. The way the fonts are engineered at present give the most thorough formatting compatibility, accross platforms and documents possible.

Bruno Maag
Dalton Maag Ltd

AGL's picture

Aller! Very nice, specially the Aller Display. Thank You!

seml's picture

Interesting typeface. Thank you.

seml's picture

Interesting typeface. Thank you.

microspective's picture

Thanks very much for this typeface.

Regards

SuperUltraFabulous's picture

Thank you for your response and explanation Bruno!

I appreciate this face very much... I plan on giving it a proper workout very soon.

Mikey :-)

PS... I’m glad to see you have a US distributor too :-)

Typedog's picture

Dalton Maag

Thank you Bruno Maag and Dalton Maag, its a gem!

Miss Tiffany's picture

Next time I see you, Bruno. I'm going to ask you about this project.

Interesting concept for the EULA. The typeface isn't half bad either. ;^)

Anti-Social™'s picture

Very Nice. Especially the display face. Thank you

Vivio Russ's picture

AWESOME!!! this font rocks, especially the Display!

are we authorized to use it in graphic creations like a logo for example?
I mean, if I sale a logo using this font, have i to pay something?

Miss Tiffany's picture

Read the EULA all the information is there.

Joe Pemberton's picture

Handpicked

pattyfab's picture

I wish it weren't truetype, I don't know what to do with those. Maybe they work on the web? Not for print tho.

Miss Tiffany's picture

Patty they are True type flavored OpenType fonts. They work fine here, why do you say that?

Stephen Coles's picture

Why not for print, Patty?

Sye's picture

hey, is there a regualer italic? i can't seen to see it...

oh well, thanks anyway, they are nice!

Sye's picture

ok, i found it... sorry....

pattyfab's picture

Oh I see, they are open type. When I saw the suffix .ttf I assumed TrueType.

Stephen Coles's picture

TrueType will still work on a majority of modern RIPs and printers. The days of PostScript-only presses are behind us.

Mitternacht's picture

Thank you, this is a very pleasant typeface. I especially like the regular lowercase “a” and uppercase “G”.

piccic's picture

My philosophy of font marketing (and digital ethics) changed considerably when I read Chris Anderson’s essay on “Free” in Wired, although I haven’t got around to incorporating my new attitude into any marketing plans yet.

Nick, could you share your thoughts?
I have not found yet a convincing "philosophy of font marketing" and I was just talking with Chester of these things… Thanks!

P.S. What do you think, in general, of the idea of "bundling" typefaces with software applications, as the perception of the public it may be considerably reinforced (in ignorance) to perceive all works as "not to be paid"?

Jens Kutilek's picture

Maybe they work on the web? Not for print tho.

Rather for print than for screen, because there is no hinting.

piccic's picture

I would like to ask how Unicode values for Small Capitals are assigned, since they are a "stylistic variation" and not included in Unicode. I see they are also different from the ones usually adopted by Adobe (forgive my question, but I am striving to build a sort of standard for myself…)

Theunis de Jong's picture

The Unicode code points are in the Private Area.

It is possible to include characters without a unicode code point, but this way the characters can be used with software that allows you to use any UC character (as opposed to programs that allows to select any character, such as InDesign).
It's not really necessary for the small caps function.

It is a very nice design, looks like Myriad but a bit less "cramped". Is it inspired by certain Dutch designs? (grin)

But Windows (on screen) doesn't really like it ... Is it still possible to add basic hinting?

Theunis de Jong's picture

.. InDesign doesn't like the family naming scheme!

It shows one group "Aller", containing Regular, Italic, Bold & Bold Italic, one group "Aller Light" with Light & Light Italic, and one group "Aller Display", with a single "Regular" font.

InDesign can handle some variations, but it seems their system is defeated here.

bruno_maag's picture

Thank you all for your comments. I am pretty chuffed with the design myself.

Yes, hinting: the font has been autohinted but that, of course, won't do the trick if good display is required. If we get some spare time and don't know what to do with our hands, we'll do some hard core VTT hinting on it.

Theunis, the font naming convention is intentional. This allows us the same naming for all applications, be they graphic or office. It also means that if a doc is created in one app, the doc can be opened, imported or whatever, in another wihtout losing the font name formatting. And since we're sticking with the 4-style font family it works fine in older versions of Win and Unix, too.

I realise that this may be a bit tedious for graphics users where you'd expect to see all styles in one font family. But it is a small price to pay for all round compatibility.

It is our policy to give all glyphs a Unicode value. I realise that a number of these are then put on private area. Not everyone may agree with this policy but I believe it is important to give access to these glyphs also to people who have no OT feature access, such as Word. And since it's Unicode, the glyphs can also be accessed using database driven copy, as long as the Unicodes are stringed correctly.

And then the question re TTF: it is our policy to produce TTF based OpenType fonts since we are confident that they work pretty reliably in a wide variety of environments. We create CFF based OT fonts only on demand.

Bruno Maag
Dalton Maag

Theunis de Jong's picture

Those are some good points you make. Every now & then I wake up to realize not everyone is using InDesign. (That day will come!)

My question re: low rez hinting is based upon my preference for high quality fonts for reading on screen, such as in Notepad (and as Windows default font for its windows as well). Oh well, I'll stick to (checking) hey, today it's Eurostile :-)

It sure looks to me as a very good book font -- I'm going to propose this to our clients. That's doctoral theses from our friendly local medicine university (Erasmus, Rotterdam) in small print runs (about 300), so don't expect to see one pop up in book stores near you soon. I'm pretty sure the EULA allows this (...)
Bruno, if you'd like to see one (if I can push it thru), I could send you a PDF.

piccic's picture

The Unicode code points are in the Private Area.
Thanks. But, assumed I assign to Small Caps (or other stylistic variations) a Unicode value from the Private Range area, has a sort of "standard" been developed or not?
I was oriented to stick with Adobe values, and see those also for the Greek Small caps.

Maybe I should have posted in a separate topic, but I am interested to hear what Bruno Maag says on this, if it happens he passes again…

Thank you!

Nick Shinn's picture

Claudio, the idea is to make a version of a product free to get it established, and then people will buy the non-free versions.

k.l.'s picture

Adobe's document Unicode and Glyph Names, section 4, should answer the question. Also see, same document, the entire section 6, especially this part (quote):
The exceptions are the AGLv1.2 names which are associated with Unicode Private Use Area (PUA) values. These include all the superiors and small cap names. Use of these names will, for the purpose of searching text, lead some current implementations to map names like "Asmall" to the PUA Unicode value from AGL v1.2, rather than to the Unicode value for "A". We now recommend naming these glyphs according to the rules below.
Better only study Adobe's latest fonts like Arno Pro.

[Edit: Not meant as a comment about Aller Sans, only addressing Claudio's question. Point is, whether you use Adobe's earlier PUA codepoints or not, you should have a good reason for your decision.]

piccic's picture

@Nick: Incredible how I realized this could be good, by experiencing it. It has already happened to me as a customer. And I think the "freebie" maybe does not even have to be a full-coverage weight. it's to test the quality… Great! Hope we'll talk about this…

@Karsten: How would I do without you? Thanks, I'll read them…

Nick Shinn's picture

Claudio, AFAIK, "free" is one reason Helvetica etc. are top of the sales charts.
Partly an historical thing: free on Mac, then had to be licensed for PC?

piccic's picture

I can't get the PC reference (I always used Macs), but thanks… :=)

Sye's picture

i've often wondered why helvetica is still top of sales charts... thanks nick!

bruno_maag's picture

Theunis, hinting is always a nice thing to have. Unfortunately, the commercial reality is that is barely affordable to do for a foundry. It takes about six working days for a plain Latin font to be hinted to a good quality. If you add the S/C you'll increase that easily to eight days. No one is ever going to pay the premium for this in a retail product. The difference between a hinted v. unhinted font would be around £15 per font.

Yes, please do send me a PDF of the work. I would like to see it.

Re AGL1.2 and PUA - it appears that we haven't updated our encoding vectors. I am all for standards. We'll create future fonts to follow the AGL standard. But as explained above we had good reason for applying PUAs to the S/c.

Bruno

Nick Shinn's picture

Actually, there is simple hinting that can be easily done to a font, in particular assigning values to standard stem widths and alignment zones, that sharpens things up considerably.

Vivio Russ's picture

Miss Tiffany said: "Read the EULA all the information is there"

lol...
My english isn't enough good as I would like so this EULA is really MARTIAN for me :/
I just want a simple and clear answer:
Are we authorized to use this font in a logo?
YES or NO? nothing more...
thanks in advance...

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