I have only skimmed the most meager minutia of arguments pertaining to Type legality battles and battles over freeware, free software, pirating... things such as these.
What has consistently remained in the back of my head, despite the validity of arguments on both ends is that Graphic Design has never appeared to me as a cheap business. I'm not talking about consumer end; I'm talking about designer end. The purchase of software, work-horse computers, typography, proper color calibration, PANTONE, printing mockups... these things cost money. A business, right?
A business must generate revenue to get things done, period. So really the point of this conversation isn't "Graphic Design is tough on the professionals!" because they have consistent means to accommodate costs. Instead I ask fellow designers and typographers alike what their thoughts are on the "friendliness"—to pick a word—of graphic design towards not-for-profit amateurs.
I design regularly for my University because student groups need someone to do that. It's a fun and exciting responsibility. On my end I get no money, and even if I did, it'd be mere stipends. My resources are largely former presents or things I've collected over the years—legitimately or not. On that note: I have come into the possession of fonts that I did not rightly buy. Did I take these off the internet? No. Good ole' fashion ties to the industry has allowed me some lush typefaces.
In retrospect, I am saddened. I do feel bad that I use someone else's art without the proper contribution towards their business. But if I paid for every typeface I own that's licensed I'd have spent well over 4,000 dollars on typography alone. Yet if I didn't have these typefaces, I'd be stunted. My designs would more or less utilize the same Minion-Helvetica-Lucida fonts over and over and the variety I would have among my designs would be poor. Does: "I'm gonna have bad art!" justify the lack of monetary compensation on my end? Not really. But it's a fair argument from where I'm standing.
Because really, how do you operate in this biz, as an amateur, without that constant flow of money? Especially during the global economic crisis? What is the point of entering into a creative field if your tools and instruments are limited from the start?
I don't think you can: not at the prices foundries charge. So I'm just entirely skeptical. As someone in the social sciences, we see that some activities are for "High Society" and others for everyone else. Just as a violinist in the inner city will have access to different resources and that fact will show, so too will a designer of any field with less money be limited in the kinds of production that they can create. I think this stratification of artists among classes is both beautiful and deadly. Beautiful because it diversifies the art and deadly because the only reason we have diverse art is because someone had to go an alternate route with their creativity. And not necessarily because they chose to.
But I am not posing this to make an argument, only see what others think and to express my own doubts about it all.