Brand designers; once you’ve selected brand typeface/font do you buy copy of licences for yourself AND client? Or just on behalf of client?

I’d usually purchase on their behalf but a type foundry I’m chatting to has advised I must also buy. Interested to know thoughts from type designers/other brand designers… I guess it may vary between foundries?


  • @Matt Percival it is helpful. Thank you so much. I think the particular foundry I’m currently sourcing font from are a bit different/more stringent in how they approach licences. Ie we both need to have it. But your client-buys method sounds like a logical one going forwards :)
  • Hi Louise, lots of good and clear advice about license options, I particularly liked @jon-sharp. I’m guessing you’re self-employed or in a small agency, I would just add always get the client - the license-holder - to purchase directly and include you as a user: avoid shelling out on their behalf and use the font on their work at no cost to yourself.

    As others have pointed out, that means you shouldn’t then use the font for anything else, unless you latterly purchase a license for yourself or repeat the exercise above.

    Hope that’s useful


  • @Mike McCoole Yup. Every client different. I think it gets more and more important to make the client aware of the expanse of licences they may need in future. I've noticed more being specific about usage... ie. different licences required for logo, desktop, social media etc. Minefield haha. The joys.
  • @Luke Freeman That's exactly as I've always understood it re. no of users/usage specific to project or brand. And I'd usually buy relevant licence(s) direct from foundry where possible with client as licensee. But with current foundry it's a case of buying two licences (designer/client) even to create brand guidelines. It's cool, just something I'd be sure to double check in future so as to account for in project cost. Useful to hear others' processes for sure.
  • @Louise O'Kane I generally deal with small businesses so I’m assume most don’t take up the option but at least I’ve put it out there for them and future-proofed (plus it helps in having clients come back as you are a stakeholder in their brand and they’ll get a consistent look etc. in returning).

    When dealing with medium businesses and enterprises the terms get greyer and admittedly, someone with far greater knowledge of the intricacies of licenses will be better placed to answer. We had a third party agency work with my large business day job and they too passed on the licensing terms of our new fonts for us to sort and boy, was there a lot to consider - Print, App, Web, HTML5 ads, e-Publications and server on top of how many users there were etc.

    (So, I think a lot depends on the size of business and your relationship with them& the brand).
  • Let’s clear this up. Every Font Foundry is different in their EULA (End of User License Agreement) a Font Foundry is not the same as a font vendor “market place where you buy from”.

    Purchasing a font best to read the EULA first as they normally allow in the between 1 - 5 users covered under 1 purchase. You could put yourself within those users aslong as you use it for that client/brand you are working with.

    However licensing costs can go up (exteneded) depending on the usage for via web, app, print, broadcasting etc.

    I don’t buy the font exactly (trial fonts), I let the client buy it, just guide them through the purchasing opitions.
  • @Mike McCoole that sounds like a good process. I believe some foundries are more flexible when it comes to designer purchasing too as it’s more project specific. But seems every foundry different so will be contacting for clarity. I guess the licence you purchased is then free for you to use as a designer/studio? Ie not specific to that client’s project. #alwayslearning
  • @Jon Sharp yeah, that’s how I’ve usually done it as many foundries allow you to assign licensee at point of purchase. But this foundry requires licence for anyone that installs/creates assets, so designer too. Clearly varies between foundries so prob just a case of checking/getting clarity when selecting type. I do love a good quality typeface so I’m the instance of having to cover a licence cost for both parties could work out a tad £££. Thanks, so useful to get thoughts/process insights from other designers.
  • @Kim Whyte thanks, so useful. I’ve usually purchased on behalf of the brand and handed over but this foundry doesn’t like that. Like you say, I think it depends on where you’re sourcing it from. Think it’s worth reaching out to the foundries for clarity where there’s any ambiguity. Of which there is often a lot haha :)
  • Font's usually require licencing by the Brand – the Brand is then allowed to supply to service professionals (like printers or designers) for use on the Brand's work ONLY.

    So if you wanted to use it for one project alone, buy one on behalf of the client (they'll be the licence holder). Some foundries don't let you buy-on-behalf-of though so you'd either have to walk the client through buying or purchase with their details.

    If you wanted to use it as a studio on multiple projects, licence it yourself. Each client you use it for will also need a licence that suits their own use.

    However, it would be up to the foundry to restrict use to licence holders only. Bit prohibitive for how the real world works but their choice, I guess.

    Hope that helps.
  • Hi Louise, I would usually purchase two licences - one for myself and one for my client – billing them accordingly. In my experience, some clients can get a bit flustered if they are required to purchase/licence the font themselves. I know the terms can vary from foundry to foundry but a general rule of thumb would be that each person using the font needs a licence.
  • Having purchased the font myself, I usually include a link of where to purchase the family; together with the story if the font and it’s creator/foundry in the typeface/font usage part of the brand guidelines I create.

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