A complete guide to font licensing for designers

An image of a wall with layers of torn posters using different fonts to represent the importance of font licensing
(Image credit: Busà Photography via Getty Images)

Font licensing is a part of using typography, and it's important to know how it works to avoid any unhappy surprised after hand off. Any designer knows that beautiful typography can make or break a project. Whatever the piece, a standout font can make all the difference to how a design is perceived and how well it catches the audience's attention (see our pick of the perfect font pairings, for example).

However, a lack of knowledge of font licensing is a common pitfall. Imagine that two weeks after launch, your client calls you to pull the campaign, demanding to know why they have received legal letters from a type foundry. To avoid this kind of issue, it's crucial you check whether your chosen fonts are fully licensed for the intended use. If they aren't, you and your client could be sued – leaving your professional reputation in tatters quicker than you can say 'sans serif'.

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Garrick Webster

Garrick Webster is a freelance copywriter and branding specialist. He’s worked with major renewable energy companies such as Ecotricity and the Green Britain Group, and has helped develop award-winning branding and packaging for several distilleries in the UK, the US and Australia. He’s a former editor of Computer Arts magazine and has been writing about design, creativity and technology since 1995.