Are your favorite fonts approved for commercial use?
This might come as a surprise, but there are some fonts approved for commercial use, and some that are not. This means that when you’re creating products of any kind (books, newsletters, ezines, graphic tees, coffee mugs), you might not be able to use that type style you love so much. Fonts are intellectual property; they are software, and the creators have the right to say how they can be used. It stinks for writers and other Creatives, but it is fair.
Font or typeface
Note: most of us have been taught incorrectly when it comes to the usage of the word font. A font is a software program that tells your printer how to create a typeface, which is what the letters look like. Typefaces are not generally covered under copyright law, according to CrowdSpring.
Because of fights over which fonts are approved for commercial use and which can be used for what kinds of applications, Microsoft switched some of the fonts it uses, and my guess would be that other companies have done the same.
Fortunately, there are so many different options out there… so if the one you love can’t be used, chances are good that you can find one that looks very similar to it.
For body copy, such as the text inside your self-published book, you’ll want to use one that’s good for body copy, a clean, readable type such as Palatino, Garamond, or Times New Roman. You don’t want to strain the eyes of your readers, which is what would happen if you used something like this:
This is one of the fonts approved for commercial use, but it’s hard to read.
Serif fonts are also popular. Times New Roman, Georgia, and Garamond are all popular serif fonts. Serif fonts are often used for print materials, such as brochures and magazines, as they lend a more traditional and sophisticated look to the material.
Display fonts are also popular for commercial use. Display fonts are more decorative, and they are often used for headlines and titles. Popular display fonts include Impact, Rockwell, and Futura.
Script fonts are also popular for commercial use. Script fonts are often used for more decorative purposes, such as greeting cards. When used in a book, script fonts are employed to represent a handwritten letter or note. Popular script fonts include Lobster, Pacifico, and Great Vibes.
Finally, handwriting fonts are also popular for commercial use. Handwriting fonts are often used for logos, branding, and invitations. Popular handwriting fonts include Pacifico, Lobster, and Great Vibes.
Some font families are great for covers, but not for using within the book.
For self-publishers who format their own books
This concern about fonts really applies only to self-publishers who format their own books, I should add. Traditional publishers of all kinds and professional formatters select the typefaces used in what they produce, so if you’re sending material in to a magazine or book publisher, you don’t have to worry about deciding what kind to use.
For some, you’ll need to purchase a license to use them. There are many fonts approved for commercial use that are available for free, however.
It’s always a good idea to be sure the font you want to use is safe to use. Microsoft’s Typography pages have some good information, though it may be difficult to wade through it all. When in doubt, track down the creator and ask.
Where can you find fonts for the things you create? Here are some links to sites that have plenty of options to choose from.