September 25th, 2012 by Jim Kidwell
Last week, James T. Edmonson, creator of Wisdom Script found his typeface used on a Romney campaign t-shirt. The unfortunate rub? He has no record of anyone from the Romney campaign purchasing a commercial use license of the font.
When contacted, the Romney campaign responded appropriately, and took down the t-shirt in question. Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul responded, “We take licensing matters seriously. We are looking into the matter.” An encouraging response.
Design work can be an exhilarating experience, especially if you’re creating political work that could be seen by thousands, even millions of people. You want to have the best tools to get the job done, and this includes a wide variety of fonts.
With projects like this, it is essential that you ensure that you’ve purchased the proper licensing of the fonts used in the project.
You can get yourself in trouble by:
- Using a non-commercial free font in a commercial project without purchasing the commercial license.
- Using standard desktop fonts as web fonts without purchasing a web license.
- Not reading and understanding the licensing of fonts in your collection.
Previous presidential campaigns have also gotten themselves into trouble as well. Republican candidate Rick Santorum was also caught up when his design agency, Raise Digital, converted a desktop font for use on the web, resulting in a lawsuit for $2 million.
Best thing that you can do for you and your team is:
- Get your fonts organized using a font manager. For teams, a server-based font management solution is critical.
- Purchase enough licenses for your entire team
- Fully understand the terms of your font licenses
- If you’re not sure if your font is licensed, remove it from your workflow until licensed copies are obtained.