Creating a Custom Version of Akzidenz Grotesk for In-House Work?

blankenship's picture

We* use Berthold Akzidenz Grotesk as our house font for print, signage, etc. and Standard CT as a close approximation for Web Fonts. It's gotten a bit crazy how much time we have to spend kerning and tracking and pushing and pulling Akzidenz on a daily basis, especially as we continue to grow, add new designers, etc.

We've got the in-house skill and software to do a custom version that would address the kerning pairs, occasionally wonky tracking and some of the baffling character inconsistencies between weights. The time-savings and brand consistency we could get from an altered version is compelling. We would use it, but never sell it.

My question is, is this legal?

If not, how/who would we approach to get licensing to tackle this and how much would it hypothetically cost?

*I'm the Design Director for an in-house team handling print and web collateral (7 designers and devs, ~200 projects a month ranging from fliers and small print pieces to annual reports and a fairly expansive website). We're not huge, but we're not small, nor is the reach of our communications pieces, e.g. we're not exactly under the radar, and we always want to be above board legally in our dealings.

riccard0's picture

It depends on the EULA. Adobe's, for example, permits it.

blankenship's picture

If the EULA is the guide:

Intellectual Property Rights; No Modifications. You acknowledge and agree that the Font Software and permitted copies, and the trademarks associated with the Font Software, are the intellectual property owned by Berthold. Berthold reserves all of its rights under these laws. You further acknowledge and agree that the structure, organization and code of the Font Software are valuable trade secrets and confidential information of Berthold. The Font Software is protected by copyright including without limitation, by United States Copyright Law, international treaty provisions, and applicable laws in the jurisdiction of use.

You may not copy the Font Software except as provided under the "Permitted Copies" provision above. YOU AGREE THAT YOU WILL NOT MODIFY, ADAPT, TRANSLATE, ALTER NOR CREATE DERIVATIVE WORKS OF THE FONT SOFTWARE.

Bert Vanderveen's picture

Just send Adobe a letter telling them you want to adapt the font for your own needs and state that pending their answer you consider their consent given. They probably won’t answer and you have a pretty solid agreement (even if it is onesided…).

hrant's picture

Joshua, if it's Adobe, and it's internal, don't worry.
I once did this sort of work on Garamond Premier Pro*
after getting explicit permission from the manager of
their type group**. And I wasn't even internal, I simply
had a legit copy of the font myself (thanks to winning
InDesign in an Adobe subsite naming contest :-).

* I was commissioned to add 20 compound characters to
six styles for a particular flavor of Sanskrit transliteration.



blankenship's picture

But Berthold isn't Adobe, right?

hrant's picture

No, and They happen to be an extremely sue-happy font house,
so be careful. I was under the impression that Adobe sells the
Berthold fonts (at least the big-name ones), and you only have
to respect the EULA of where you bought a font, but now that
I checked, my memory was jogged: Berthold pulled their fonts
from Adobe a while back.

So I think your best strategy would be to switch
to an Akzidenz look-alike with a permissive EULA.


rolandstieger's picture

Why don’t you use Theinhardt?
I really admire Akzidenz Grotesk too and Theinhardt is like the contemporary version of Akzidenz Grotesk which offers everything one needs.

Frank ADEBIAYE's picture

Yes, Theinhardt is a good alternative, but for your custom, you'll need to contact the foundry first :
"If you need to customize a Optimo font, we would be pleased to send you a quote. Please contact us for more information."

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