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It was recently reported that free font site 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.

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If you’re a designer, your love affair with fonts probably began a long time ago. Great fonts are the lifeblood of beautifully crafted design.

Even with all of the joy your fonts can bring you, unfortunately if they are misused, you can get yourself, and even your company into trouble.

We analyzed the results of our recent survey of designers, web developers, and those who use fonts in their creative work, and unfortunately have concluded that many of you are likely at risk from font misuse.

Join me for a webcast on January 21st where I will cover the top mistakes that many designers make with font usage, and ways that you can avoid them.

Register for the webcast here. (If you can’t make it, if you register we’ll send you a link to the recording afterward.)

This presentation includes:

  • An exploration of the evolving perception of font licensing by creative individuals, the past, present and future
  • How the expanding pool of designers who desire quality typography affects this perception
  • How you can keep yourself, your employer and coworkers safe from font use missteps