font license

AnnabelBoard's picture


I am relatively new to working with fonts and licenses, and have come here in the hope somebody can clear things up for me.

I work as a freelance illustrator, and have been asked to design some labels for a small cosmetic company - which includes sourcing fonts, something I have not done before. I have found 2 fonts my client wishes to use on the the labels of their products. I have read through the EULA's of both fonts, which for your info are:

I have contacted both foundries already.

Bembo creators are yet to get back to me.

Packard creators phoned up and quizzed me on what the 3 year projected income of the client I'm designing the label for was - something as a freelance illustrator I am not, and do not want to get involved with. I said I'd get back to them.

I told a fellow designer friend of mine about this, and they said I'm over thinking things and buying a Standard End User License will be fine when using the fonts on the labels of the clients products.

However I'm unsure; I have read through both of their EULA's, and I see mentions of commercial goods needing 'Special Font Licenses'. Would this include the fonts being used on the labels of the goods?

The fonts will be used solely on the product labels, and I am planning on supplying the design in a PDF to the printer, which, as I have read for both fonts, is within the terms of a Standard End User License.

I'm hoping there is a simple answer to my query, and I am just making it more complicated than it needs to be.

Thanks in advance for any replies


chrisburton's picture

Yes that would require a special font license/commercial license as it states.

John Nolan's picture

The Bembo EULA would allow you to use the font without any further arrangements.

The Red Rooster EULA is much more restricted. If you find it too restrictive, you might shop for a similar font:
or even:

chrisburton's picture


2.License Grant. You are hereby granted a non-exclusive, non-assignable, non-transferable (except as expressly permitted herein) license to access the Font Software (i) only in a Licensed Unit, (ii) only for your Personal or Internal Business Use, and (iii) only subject to all of the terms and conditions of the Agreement.

Jens Kutilek's picture

«Internal Business Use» means, as far as I know, that you don’t provide access to the fonts to any other party. If you design a product label and deliver the printed labels to your client, the fonts themselves are only used internally by you, so you should be OK with this licence.

I think with the Red Rooster licence you would also be in the clear because it permits «Examples of non-commercial, not-for-profit permitted usage include PDF documents supplied to Service Bureaus, printers» which would be what you do.

JamesM's picture

For Bembo, internal business use "shall not mean any distribution whatsoever of the Font Software or any component or Derivative Work thereof". I would interpret that as they're saying you can't distribute the software itself, which seems logical.

chrisburton's picture

I interpreted that as one can use the font(s) for whatever business use they'd like (invoices, graphics, etc) but not for commercial use.

hrant's picture

Annabel, it's great that you're worrying about this. But there's no way Adobe would mind you using one of their fonts in any way at all as long as the font itself doesn't get redistributed. Adobe is even in the refreshing minority of foundries that allows modification of their fonts.

If Red Rooster is restrictive, fugetaboutit (and tell them you did, so they straighten up).


JamesM's picture

If folks in a typography forum can't agree what they mean, how could the foundries expect average users to understand?

hrant's picture

But how would the lawyers make a living relishing their propensity for sophistic argumentation without Ambiguity?


John Nolan's picture

Well, the Bembo EULA makes no mention of end products, only the software, and it is hard to imagine they intend to say that a document one prints with that font can only be read within the company. For further certainty, you could buy Bembo from Adobe. They say:
"14.7.1 You may use the font software with the Software on Computers as described in Section 2 and output the font software to any output device(s) connected to such Computer(s)." They certainly place no restrictions on how you use the printed product.

Red Rooster, however, states:
"A Special Font License is also required for...commercial merchandising and goods for sale, (such as clothing apparel and accessories), physical goods, unique branding situations, and any and all other unique or new applications or future technologies."

Given that Red Rooster asked about revenue from your client, I think it's safe to say they intend their EULA to be restrictive.

Iain Farnsworth's picture

The Monotype EULA (for Bembo), says

You may embed static graphic images into an electronic document, including a Commercial Product, (for example, a “gif”) with a representation of a typeface and typographic design or ornament created with the Font Software as long as such images are not used as a replacement for Font Software.

This wouldn't make sense if they were also saying that you couldn't use the font for anything that constituted commercial use. They'd be contradicting themselves.

hrant's picture

BTW if you buy a font from Adobe you [only] need to abide by their EULA, not the EULA of origin.


oldnick's picture

Jeez, Hrant—

When you nail it, you nail it. Mathematicians seldom if ever, go to court…

Si_Daniels's picture

Creative professionals license/buy fonts. Creative professionals use those fonts to make things, such as labels. EULAs typically don't mention this use, probably because it's understood that this is what fonts are for.

However, I agree font licenses are generally badly written, and many of the confusing clauses in these licenses are intended to limit the redistribution of the font file itself and not its day to day use to make things like labels.

oldnick's picture


You are so right; God forbid that we, as a community, get together and come up with a single, commonsensical EULA that even Ryan could understand…

AnnabelBoard's picture

Thanks for all of the replies everyone, I really appreciate the discussion.

It's refreshing to see it's not just the 'average user' that gets confused by the ambiguities and lines of words in EULAs.

Having said that, I still feel none the wiser as to what to do !

I did think Red Rooster looked quite restrictive, and wasn't something I wanted to get into as my first step into licensing a font (Thanks to John Nolan for suggesting alternatives to Packard).

I'm going to try contacting the Bembo creators again - I'd really like their say-so that it's ok to use for my purpose.

Thanks again everyone

hrant's picture

They're dead. :-)


AnnabelBoard's picture

You know what I mean !

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