Do you Know Why you Need Public Domain Fonts?

Bluntly, public domain (or open domain) fonts are fonts that you can use for commercial use. Public domain fonts are not the same thing as “free fonts.” Simply, “free fonts” mean that you don’t have to pay for the font; public domain fonts allow you to use the font for professional use. Just because you have a Mac or a Windows font library that comes with your software, doesn’t necessarily mean that you have the ability to incorporate those fonts into a professional project. Repercussions of using non-public domain fonts can include lawsuits, which will hurt your bottom line. Additionally, any web designer will tell you that using the appropriate font is vital to excellent readability on the web; incorporating open domain fonts is just another layer to protect your work.

From PDFs to short stories, when you design the text and the artwork, take advantage of the public domain. If you’re a Microsoft user, you’ll want to download this Font properties extension to check the copyright of your fonts to ensure you’re using the fonts appropriately.

If you’re not sure whether or not the fonts you have through your desktop publishing software are public domain, there are two resources you might want to check out. The first is the Open Font Library which is a project that allows you to use fonts within the public domain, and encourages you to submit your own. The second is this article about the 40 Plus High Quality Free Fonts for Professional Design. A small sampling of what Smashing Magazine has to offer, be sure to visit their category of free fonts for monthly, updated examples.

Whether you enjoy purchasing unusual fonts through places like Dover Publications or not, as a friendly heads-up be sure to check out what publishing rights you have. Not all of the so-called “free fonts” are available for professional design, some clearly state “for personal use only.” Here, the specific language is key to understanding your rights as a publisher.

One Response to Do you Know Why you Need Public Domain Fonts?

Monica Valentinelli is an author, artist, and narrative designer who writes about magic, mystery, and mayhem. Her portfolio includes stories, games, comics, essays, and pop culture books.

In addition to her own worlds, she has worked on a number of different properties including Vampire: the Masquerade, Shadowrun, Hunter: the Vigil, Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn, and Robert E. Howard’s Conan.

Looking for Monica’s books and games that are still in print? Visit Monica Valentinelli on Amazon’s Author Central or a bookstore near you.

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