It was recently reported that free font site DaFont.com was hacked.
Hackers gained access to almost 700,000 usernames, passwords, forum posts and private messages.
The site hosts a very large collection of free fonts. While some of these are original creations, there are some fonts where an unscrupulous person has slightly modified, renamed, or outright pirated professional, paid fonts and uploaded as their own creation.
Using fonts that have unknown origins like the second case poses a real risk to any professional designer. If discovered in use, the type foundry who created the original work can go after the designer for use of unlicensed fonts. This can cause embarrassment for you, your clients, and even lead to legal entanglements.
Extensis recommends only working with legitimate type foundries and retailers who are creating and distributing fonts for sale.
If you choose to work with “free” fonts, be sure that your fonts are coming from a reputable distributor, such as Google Fonts, or directly download fonts from the type foundry itself. For example, many foundries like FontFabric give away some weights of their font collection for free use.
Of course, you will always want to consult the End User License Agreement (EULA) to ensure that your intended use is covered. For example, many “free” fonts are free for personal use only, and if the intended use is commercial, you will be required to purchase a separate license. If you’re in doubt about usage restrictions, contact the foundry to clarify.
When you are managing your font collection, we highly recommend that you track your purchases, and ensure that the right number of licenses are purchased for your intended use.
Extensis font managers can help you track your collection, usage and ensure that fonts are properly distributed to your entire team. Take one of our font managers out for a spin and see for yourself with a free trial:
- Universal Type Server – for teams that want efficient font distribution, synchronization and complete font license management compliance and control, provided by an on-premise server.
- Suitcase TeamSync – for small teams that need fast font distribution through a cloud-based font server.
- Suitcase Fusion – font single users who want to manage fonts on up to two machines.
May 11th, 2017 by Jim Kidwell
Font expert, Jim Kidwell, rolls the dice along the famous Neon Boneyard in Las Vegas!
Last week I was fortunate enough to attend a new conference for Extensis, IAITAM ACE. This conference covered everything from managing the hardware of workstations in worldwide organizations to the license compliance management of fonts across teams.
The session that I presented covered the risks that fonts introduce into organizations who aren’t properly managing and tracking their font licenses. If you weren’t able to attend, or missed the session, you are welcome to check out the slides from the presentation.
While I was in the Las Vegas area, I would have been very sad if I didn’t make a trek to the Neon Museum and most importantly, the Neon Boneyard. As a typography nerd and sign enthusiast, it’s been on my list ever since it opened.
If you are able to make it to Vegas, I highly recommend scheduling a visit. In the meantime, I’m happy to share a few of my pictures as a bit of enticement. Definitely worth a visit, don’t you think?
Do you want some more font entertainment? Check out our interview with type designer Mark Simonson. He discusses his type design expertise and why he loves what he does.
February 14th, 2017 by Chris Meyer
How does a font administrator achieve font management success by avoiding common mistakes?
It’s amazing to me that I still see companies using fonts illegally for published content. Many are often paranoid about license infringement for all of their other software, but forget that fonts are licensed in a similar way. Here are my top five “don’ts” that every Font Administrator should consider when managing fonts. I hope this gets your wheels turning in the right direction towards font compliance:
1. Don’t: assume all fonts in use at your company today are properly licensed.
Many companies continue to use fonts that have been around for decades, but their licenses and current usage haven’t been verified in recent years.
Recommended: Don’t turn a blind eye to fonts in use today. Take the time needed to organize your list by foundry. Also, isolate and inquire about each font. Locate the purchase paperwork when possible and when not possible, re-purchase or replace the fonts you can’t find licensing for. Also, critically review all of your free fonts and confirm there aren’t special requirements necessary for commercial use. Run an audit at least once a year to make sure you are as compliant as you can be.
2. Don’t: believe you can use your fonts any way you want.
Most fonts have specific Terms and Conditions and clearly define how they can be used in the end user license agreement (EULA). For example, embedding your fonts in PDFs, ePub documents, or websites may require special licenses. Distributing fonts to freelancers and printers is usually prohibited or requires a special license.
Recommended: Be diligent. Read your font EULAs carefully and contact the foundry if you are uncertain of the Terms and Conditions prior to publishing with a font. Remember, this pertains to the license agreements for free fonts as well.
3. Don’t: forget to increase your company’s font licensing IQ when managing fonts.
In a recent survey conducted by Extensis, over 80% of designers admitted they do not read Font License Agreements. 78% of those who said they do are confused by the language.
Recommended: It’s your job to make sure your users understand the rules when using fonts within your organization. Frequent reminders and a solid business process can save your company costly and embarrassing infringement lawsuits. It’s critical to come up with a simple, yet non-disruptive process and make it stick as part of your font purchasing workflow.
4. Don’t: permit unauthorized sharing of your fonts.
Designers will often collaborate and enjoy sharing their creative ideas. Sometimes they’ll go as far as to share fonts too. Don’t let them. Now, we realize your parents taught you to always share, but sharing fonts within your own company is often as illegal as if you shared them with external companies. That’s because many font licenses are restricted by geographical location, department or even to a specific set of machines. Remind your employees of the possible consequences to your company and themselves if they share fonts without authorization.
5. Don’t: allow users to purchase fonts on their own credit cards.
You’d be surprised by how many companies still allow this, but I can assure you it is a recipe for disaster and a license tracking nightmare. Also, these purchases tend to be licensed to the individual and not the company.
Recommended: Instead establish a simple purchasing process to guarantee your company’s name is attached to every license purchased and ensure the purchase receipts and EULA end up in your possession. Convert them to PDFs and keep them electronically filed for future purchase verification.
Put your organization to the test! Download our font management risk assessment tool and see if your team is on the right font compliance track.
September 27th, 2016 by Chris Meyer
Because software upgrades can be disruptive to a Production environment I’m frequently asked which best practices a company should employ when upgrading Universal Type Server.
Here are ten basic ideas to help guide you through the upgrade process. Please feel free to share your own tips with us or any others I may have forgotten to mention.
- Forward with a Backup – starting your upgrade out with a way to quickly restore your environment in the event of unforeseen problems is always the best way to lower your stress level. Backup first, always.
- Keeping up with the Joneses – Often customers jump into the latest operating systems or other application updates before ensuring their software and plugins are compatible. Compatibility information is generally available on the Extensis website so be sure to look before taking the update plunge.
- Testing, is this thing on? – Whenever possible, we recommend you review upgrades in a “testing” environment before upgrading your Production environment. This helps you identify and deal with unexpected issues without bringing your business to a halt.
Did you know? The Extensis software agreement enables you to use your licenses on a separate testing environment at no additional cost. So setup a test environment to ensure everything works as expected.
- Keeping up with the times – We realize that it’s very challenging to stay on top of the latest versions of all your software. But just like the rest of the technology world, critical changes occur every day so if you don’t stick to a regular upgrade schedule you’ll fall behind.
If you want to be certain Universal Type Server upgrades go smoothly, we recommend you lag no more than one full version behind.
For example, Universal Type Server is currently at version 6.x so if you are running Universal Type Server 4 or older it’s time to get updated. When it comes to databases, upgrading from two (or more) versions back to the current version may not be directly compatible. Upgrading may require extra steps to to ensure you’re current. Staying updated will save you time and energy in the long run.
- One step at a time – Remember it’s much easier to ensure a successful upgrade when you use a stepped approach. Complete one installation at a time then validate its results.
For example, if you need to upgrade systems to Mac OS X, Adobe Creative Cloud and Universal Type Client all at the same time take it slow and implement one change at a time. If you don’t, how will you know where a problem lies when things don’t go as expected? I can assert you will not know and neither will our technical support team.
- Server upgrades first – In the Universal Type Server world, client versions are often optimized for their intended servers. Therefore, it’s best practice to upgrade your Server before the clients. This ensures any new database schema updates get handled before connecting new client versions.
- In-Place upgrades (over a restore) – Universal Type Server offers two upgrade options. We recommend performing an in-place upgrade over a backup restoration (whenever possible).
In-place upgrades ensure your current server data is updated quickly and users have the least disruptive experience. Remember as a safety net, run best practice step #1 before doing an in-place upgrade.
- Stagger client upgrades – It’s often recommended larger organizations upgrade their client versions in smaller chunks. Doing so minimizes the first-time work Universal Type Server is required to perform when syncing newly connected clients. Many of our customers will schedule client updates by office location, floor, department, or publication so their users have advance notice. Also if an unexpected issue occurs, the number of affected users is manageable.
- Contact us, really – Many customers don’t think to reach out to us before they upgrade until something goes haywire. Next time, email or call us first. You’d be surprised how much useful information we can share before you begin.
- Finally, do not contaminate the crime scene – In the rare event you encounter an issue, requiring support assistance, please do not make additional changes until we can gather the information needed. Often times we are unable to resolve the issue quickly because important application files, databases and logs are no longer available.
I hope this article was helpful for you. On behalf of the Universal Type Server Team, thanks for being our customer and good luck with your next upgrade.
Feel free to reach out and let me know which other topics you’d like for us to write about.
It seems easy. Just download a font and use it, right? Well, not necessarily.
It is easy to quickly download a font and utilize it without giving the process much thought, but that’s the problem. Forgetting or not understanding user license agreements or utilizing fonts incorrectly can lead to font copyright lawsuits. Many organizations are at risk due to font misuse, but your organization doesn’t have to be one of them.
Here’s how to reduce your chances of getting sued:
1. License fonts for their appropriate usage
Using desktop fonts as web fonts without purchasing a proper web license can place you at risk. Even using some open-source fonts for commercial projects without purchasing an appropriate license can get you in trouble.
Reduce the risk
Your organization can reduce the risk by implementing font management software that tracks usage and keeps everyone in sync, but it is crucial that a font purchase policy is implemented, reviewed, and followed. If everyone knows the policy, they are less likely to make risky purchasers or use fonts incorrectly.
2. Understand font EULAs
EULA stands for End User License Agreement. You agree to this when licensing a font, but do you understand it? Fonts are licensed entities just like any software. When you install most software, you get a window that displays the EULA that you must agree to that covers the software. EULA’s aren’t exactly the easiest things to read so many designers don’t read them thoroughly or don’t read them at all. EULAs vary by foundry and can vary based on types of use that you’ve selected during the process. Do you want to use the font on the web? In a logo? Embedded into a mobile application? All of these uses are likely to incur extra costs and there may be specific language regarding usage in the EULA that was overlooked.
Reduce the risk
According to Exensis’s Font Compliance Survey, close to 80% of designers don’t regularly read EULAs. So, spending time reading the fine print is the first step to understanding how you can utilize your font purchases. Unfortunately, even after reading EULAs, 78% of designers are still confused about the EULA terms. If anything in the EULA is not clear, contact the foundry for clarification.
3. Transfer fonts properly
Once you have gone through the proper purchasing and licensing process, you need to understand if and how fonts can be moved around your office. How many users can install the fonts? Can they be transferred to a printer for output? Can they be installed on a web server? Etc.
Reduce the risk
Fonts purchased for use in the office should stay at the office. Your team may feel the need to explore new fonts while at home for business use. That being said, your team should always get appropriate licensing for corporate use before any new fonts are brought into your office.
4. Create Comps with Licensed Fonts
Approximately 32% of designers surveyed admitted to “locating” a copy of a font online for use in the comping process. It’s understandable that designers may not want to purchase a font before it is selected by a client for use. Some type foundries are offering new options for users to test fonts in comps prior to purchase, but this varies by foundry and technology.
Reduce the risk
Setup a thorough examination process before new fonts are brought into your team’s workflow. You must understand what you can and can’t do, and protect yourself by limiting the exposure of fonts use pre-licensing for comps. A thorough font purchase process and implementation of a font server can help save your bacon.
5. Do not assume your team knows your licensing policies
57% of those surveyed said that their employer didn’t have a clear policy for licensing fonts and integrating them into the workflow. This can and has led to font copyright lawsuits because designers can make assumptions.
Reduce the risk
Once you’ve got licensing under control, you need to track your purchases. This is where an effective font management strategy that includes a font server can help keep your licensed terms paired with the fonts themselves.
So, when you develop your internal policies, be sure that everyone on the creative team understands them and that you train new team members quickly.
Careful planning and communication can help keep you and your team safe. It just requires some time that can greatly reduce your risk of a font copyright lawsuit.
Want to get more information on font management strategies that can help keep your team safe? Download our free Server-Based Font Management Best Practices Guide.
- How to organize fonts for your team’s workflow
- Create a font licensing strategy
- Assess your font needs
- Avoid costly font copyright issues, and more.
Download your best practices guide today and get on the road to font management success.
September 6th, 2016 by Extensis
There are number of common challenges all teams face when it comes to sharing and managing fonts. Suitcase TeamSync allows you to curate and distribute your font library automatically across your entire team.
This new cloud-based font server makes professional font management easy so you can focus your time and energy on doing great work.
An on demand version of our latest webcast introducing TeamSync is available to watch. Check it out:
International versions of this webcast will be hosted in September, join us on the time zone and language that are most convenient for you, or register to get the recording sent to your email:
- Date: September 8th, 2016
- Time: 11:00 a.m. BST – British Summer Time / British Daylight Time
- Presented by: Chris Stevens
- Register here.
- Date: September 14th, 2016
- Time: 2 p.m. CEST – Central European Summer Time
- Presented by: Jean-Michel Laurent
- Register here.
- Date: September 15th, 2016
- Time: 11:00 a.m. CEST – Central European Summer Time
- Presented by: Torsten Koebel
- Register here.
Hope you can join us!
August 31st, 2016 by Extensis
Michael Shavalier, Director of Creative Operations joins us on September 14th for a live webcast to share SANDOW’s font management success story.
During a recent interview Michael talked about the critical role font management plays at SANDOW, and how finding the right font management solution has helped him and his team improve their efficiency and productivity.
Join us live on Wednesday, September 14th, 10:00 a.m. Pacific; 1:00 p.m. Eastern, where he delves deeper and shares best practices he used from planning to implementation.
Michael will talk about
- the importance of brand consistency and font license compliance
- challenges that led to the need for a font management solution
- the most critical components to SANDOW in a font management solution
- learnings in preparing for and implementing a font manager
- SANDOW’s continuing journey with font management
Michael will be available for a live Q&A session after the webcast. After the webcast a recording will be emailed to everyone that registers.
To register, please follow this link.
Hope you can join us!
August 24th, 2016 by Extensis
Font management plays a key role at SANDOW, a rapidly growing global publishing and media company with brands spanning design, luxury, fashion and beauty. SANDOW’s rapid growth not only brought an ever expanding list of brands, but with each brand their own sets of fonts. This skyrocketed SANDOW’s font collection into the tens of thousands making the need for effective font management critical.
SANDOW recently joined the Extensis family. They were using a different font management solution, but when they experienced limitations in their ability to manage groups effectively, instability with other key applications and technical support that was non-existent, they made the switch to Universal Type Server.
We sat down with Michael Shavalier, Director of Creative Operations at SANDOW to get a deeper look into his experiences with font management.
To hear more of Michael’s story live along with best practices he used to prepare and implement a font management solution, sign up for our webcast on Wednesday, September 14 at 10:00 AM Pacific / 1:00 PM Eastern.
Extensis: Can you tell us a little about your role as Director of Creative Operations?
Michael: When people ask that I tell them that I’m a former creative director, which evolved into a creative operations role. I don’t design too much anymore. In my life before SANDOW, I worked for the Village Voice’s corporate entity as their design director. I gained lot of experience there with managing art departments and production work flows across the country in 15 locations. So, I had some creative operations experience with setting things up for a lot of users, across remote locations, and adding governance and things like that.
As SANDOW evolved, they brought in a Chief Operating Officer that was looking at everything and trying to combine it into more of a universal workflow where we could gain greater efficiencies. My role at SANDOW naturally evolved as well from being involved strictly with the creative and design teams to where I now I report to our COO. I’m in charge of “creative operations,” but I have a lot of things that involve just straight up operations now.
Extensis: Why are fonts and managing them so important to SANDOW?
Michael: Being a publishing and media company with magazines and websites that span the globe, fonts are a key component to our business. Brand consistency and license compliance are at the top of the list where fonts are concerned.
Each brand has its own fonts, which they should be able to manage. Even though the brands are well separated, there’s a lot of synergy and cross-pollination between brands. There are separate design groups, but at the same time there is some overlap.
One of the biggest problems our designers had is when they were asked to do something across brands. They had to load the other brand’s version of the font, and may have conflicted with other fonts on their system. Sometimes they had to spend a good deal of time trying to work through the glitches of having font conflicts which wasn’t productive or efficient. Now, with a centralized system that manages our fonts, we’re able to identify the font right away and make sure everyone is using the same version. It’s one less thing for everyone to manage. We now know across all brands which font is needed, where it is, or where it should come from and if we’ve got enough licenses. I don’t see many emails anymore saying “this brand is using this weird font, and I don’t know where to get it from”.
Designers and art directors are half of our font users with an understanding and familiarity with font management. The other half are editors, brand leads and such. Typically, the second group is where we’d find we had issues because they had the access to install fonts on their machine without the understanding that fonts are software requiring licenses to adhere to. For about eight years, it was pretty common for an advertiser to send in a font that somehow landed on one of our servers, and no one knew whether they could use it or not. It became time to think about licensing and the legal implications of using these fonts. Now, I can have a lead in each brand, usually a design director or art director, who manages the fonts for that brand by adding or taking them away. It’s allowed the non-design teams not to worry about fonts. They’re there for them.
We’ve done a couple of redesigns here in the last year. We made sure we bought enough font licenses for the brand. The nice thing is I could say, which I wasn’t able to before- when we had that redesign, the brand spent money on these expensive new fonts for their redesign purchasing the correct number of seats, and then was able to remove anyone else from being able to see or use them to maintain license compliance.
Extensis: What were the biggest challenges that lead you to implement a font manager?
Michael: As the company grew and became a little more corporate – taking on more and more smaller companies and brands – we had to integrate everyone. One of the problems we realized pretty quickly is, like so many startup companies, we had buckets of fonts. They were either on servers or people’s desktops, or you’d find 15 copies of the same font, or 30 copies of Helvetica but they weren’t the same. I’d venture to say we had tens of thousands of fonts. That’s including things people pulled offline from free font sites, or got on discs or from the different brands. If some designer was asked to put a cowboy style ad together and they grabbed a Giddyup, it ended up on our server, along with whatever else they grabbed at that time. Any designer here, could just get what they needed and move it somewhere because it wasn’t really locked down.
It was really causing a lot of havoc with the design teams, and it was also causing concerns about compliance.
Extensis: Why did you choose Universal Type Server as your font manager?
Michael: The font manager we had been using previously fell short in critical areas, in particular control in setting up users and groups, serving out fonts to them and in addition lack of technical support. Universal Type Server has given us the control we need and has excellent technical support.
Extensis: What are some of the features that are most critical for SANDOW?
Michael: We have a lot of remote editors in different parts of the country. A big feature for us is the ability to provide remote access to our Universal Type Server so editors can synchronize and manage fonts locally lessening the traffic load to our network. The Universal Type Client synchronizes with the Server automatically so an IT person doesn’t have to remotely access each system. This makes the process extremely efficient and saves hours of valuable IT resources.
Managing users in Universal Type Server is easy. With the way the admin console is set up, and by allowing us to tie it to Active Directory; it’s easy for our users to login with the same credentials they use for everything else. While I’m not doing full group mappings, because our security groups are a little different, using Active Directory does allow me to see any new users in the system, and to pull them through.
So more efficient access overall, and less taxing on our system, because we don’t have a bunch of people logging into the VPN to get their fonts.
Extensis: Where are you today with fully implementing font management at SANDOW?
Michael: Our first phase was basically to replace the other font manager for every user that was on it. We’re replacing it all now and we’re pretty close to being done. That would be at least three of our main brand groups.
Extensis: Looking a bit into the future, what are your next steps?
Michael: The next phase is going to be adding additional groups and users that weren’t using the other font management software, they are literally using folders of fonts. Our goal is to get Universal Type Server Clients installed across all brands. I’ve actually already built out a system to support the new users.
I have a feeling the next part of the project will be doing a lot of licensing and auditing. Utilizing the reporting features in Universal Type Server will help us sort that all out.
Extensis: Any parting advice for someone who needs to solve their font management challenges?
Michael: I’d carve out time to set it up for success on both the technical level and the user adoption level. There may be pain points in figuring some things out but it can be simple. I think a lot of companies, if they thought they had to go all in at the beginning, it would be too daunting. I realized early on in the project, it doesn’t have to be all in at the beginning. It’s been an ongoing project.
Extensis: Michael, thank you for your time and sharing your story with us.
August 17th, 2016 by Jim Kidwell
Learn font distribution best practices so you don’t get caught in a font licensing conundrum
Think of font distribution as a process. Not only does it keep your fonts organized and efficiently distributed, it also helps you maintain the appropriate number of font licenses by helping track which fonts are authorized, purchased, shared (with appropriate team members), and reviewed.
A proper font distribution process helps in many areas:
- Time and money spent. Incorrect font usage can cause unnecessary misprints from text reflows and require reprints that waste time and money.
- Tracking issues. Without a proper font distribution process, your team has little (if any) insight into which fonts are being used. Some fonts may be underutilized which can result in purchasing more font licenses than needed. Proper tracking and reporting give you a meaningful way to make future font purchase decisions.
- Unhappy employees. Confusion and frustration reign when your design team can’t find the fonts they need when they need them. Life is easier when a process is in place that allows them to find what they are looking for.
- Legal concerns regarding font licensing. Without a controlled distribution and system of font access, unlicensed fonts can gain easy access into your organization or even worse, custom fonts could be released into the wild. All of which could potentially lead to a lawsuit.
Read on to learn font distribution basics and best practices to help alleviate these potential problems.
Five Font Distribution Best Practices
1. Decide how you want to organize your font collection
We recommend organizing your teams by workgroups. Workgroups are groups of fonts and users. Basically, you give a specific number of users access to specific fonts. Below are three common methods to choose from.
User Type: user types may vary, but we commonly hear about editorial, design, and production user types. These different groups have different needs and will use fonts for different reasons so it makes sense for some organizations to divide their font teams by user type.
Client: Every client is unique and so are the fonts they are using. For example, Times New Roman was built specifically for the Times of London. Companies want a specific brand identity and they can do this by creating and commissioning their own typeface, or selecting groups of fonts that most effectively represent their brand.
Project: Just like each client is unique, so is each project. However, since projects don’t have to be client specific, sometimes grouping by project makes more sense.
2. Set up compliance using permissions
One of the easiest ways to be compliant and avoid piracy issues is to set up user permissions. Instead of a whole department or company having access to certain fonts, only people who need rights to particular fonts have permission to use them. Permissions ensure your company is following branding guidelines and avoiding even inadvertent piracy because users can only use approved and/or purchased fonts that they have access to.
3. Choose roles
Who is going to be choosing, purchasing, and uploading fonts into your system? Is it your Lead Graphic Designer? Is it someone in your IT department? Having a key person who is in charge of this process helps you avoid a guessing game that can lead to problems.
4. Keep record of your font licenses and track usage
When you’re managing the distribution of your fonts, you can gain a level of control over font compliance. You have direct access into who has access to your fonts, and how many users are activating them. This helps ensure you have the right number of licenses for your actual usage and lets you make improved future font purchasing decisions – remember when we discussed saving time and money? This is your ticket to doing just that. Keeping track of all this can be a huge challenge, but font management software can help you.
5. Pick the right enterprise font management software:
Having reliable, robust font management software to save time, money, and maintain license compliance is key to making font distribution possible and successful. Look for a solution that has a dashboard allowing you to easily compare fonts side by side. Check for the ability to search for a font by specific type and set up user permissions by workgroups. Make sure reports are available so you are able to see if more font licenses need to be purchased or scaled back for future use.
What does your font distribution process look like? Let us know in the comments section.
August 10th, 2016 by Extensis
In a recent What’s New in Publishing article Jim Kidwell, Senior Product Marketing Manager from Extensis, takes a closer look on how typography is trending in today’s society and what it means for publishers.
What’s New in Publishing is a United Kingdom news portal focused on the Publishing industry and reports on innovative solutions; case studies and success stories relevant to publishers worldwide.
In Jim’s own words: “If you’ve been in business more than a few months, you’ve likely been building up quite a collection of fonts. Average solo design professionals have around 4,000 fonts in their collections, and the average business can easily have many multiples of that baseline number.”
Sounds familiar? In the full article Jim highlights how the increasing number of fonts launched to the market daily is increasing the number of challenges publishers and designers are facing with managing their font libraries… And, how to best deal with it!
Read the full article here: http://www.whatsnewinpublishing.co.uk/content/beyond-fad-typography-mainstream