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BLOGIFUL DAY 1 | More Than A Font: The Low-down on Typography Licenses

Welcome to the first day of Blogiful!

Kat and I are so excited to be bringing you fresh design content to help your blog look even more beautiful and therefore blogiful.

For this event, we are also holding a HUGE blog design giveaway which you should totally enter HERE.

Let Us Begin! The topic of the day: It’s ALL about FONTS.

Kat and I have talked about it and we’ll talk about it again – Fonts can sometimes make or break your blog’s design. But first, in case you’re not sure; what is a font?

typeface is the overall design of lettering;[1] the design can include variations, such as extra bold, bold, regular, light, italic, condensed, extended, etc. Each of these variations of the typeface is a font.

Typography is the art and technique of arranging type to make written language legible, readable, and appealing when displayed

In its modern usage, a font is often used interchangeably for a typeface (or plural typography) which designers like me are constantly forced to use as terminology in school cause font is apparently not fancy enough – (but also has a different technical meaning to the word in that a font means a specific typeface variation including its weight and size – that’s frankly not important to the average joe wanting to learn more about blog design).

Multiple typefaces related to each other are called Typeface Families. For example, Helvetica Light and Helvetica Bold are both typefaces individually but form part of the Helvetica Typeface Family.

Typefaces come in all sorts of styles, with the most common being classified as serif, sans-serif, script and more as you can see below:

I could go on and on about typography but today’s topic is about more than just learning about type.

So, you’ve found the PERFECT typeface for your blog – what now?

This is where things get interesting because typefaces are kind of like art. People put a huge amount of effort into creating them and it’s not always the case of just being able to download it for free. Because they’re created like art, there’s always a catch on when and how you can use them, and that’s called licensing. Like buying art, you buy the ability to use fonts based on what the creator has dictated the licensing.

When you’re on websites like where there are thousands of fonts to choose from, it might seem like “yay they’re free to use” but it’s important to read the fine print. Especially because many fonts available on websites like Dafont, still have licensing restrictions.

Licensing restrictions can include how you can use the typeface for print, website use, digital and embedding them into other file types. However, the main licensing words you’ll often see if it’s available for personal and commercial use.

Personal use is generally the main reason why so many fonts are available online on websites like, but what’s the difference between personal and commercial use?

Does a Blog count as using a font for commercial use?

The basic definition of commercial use is whether something is generating profit, aka, making you money.

So if you have a blog where that’s your little cyberspace to talk about books, your opinions, and such – it is still within the range of personal use for a font.

However, if your blog has certain ways of generating revenue and potentially profit off the use of these fonts, such as affiliate links, sponsored posts from publishers, or selling or advertising something with those fonts – it’s no longer personal.

The only way you could continue to do so is if you buy the correct license for commercial use from the creator or typeface provider – which can often just be a small donation but some creators will charge a huge ridiculous amount. You can find amazing fonts to buy in places like Creative Market, Linotype and Font Shop.

If by any chance you are getting a design commissioned by a designer like myself or Kat, we may use a font only available for personal use, so if you end up using that design for commercial purposes, it’s up to you to gain the commercial rights to it – and often download it just for personal use because it isn’t recommended (nor normal practice) to include font files when sending final design commissions to clients.

What About Open Source, Adobe Fonts & Google Fonts?

If you have an Adobe Creative Cloud account as I do, you might wonder whether it’s okay to use the fonts on Adobe Fonts for your blog. And the answer is you can! Provided that you have and maintain your subscription. Once you stop your subscription, your typography licensing basically disappears until you get it again.

Adobe Fonts offers thousands of fonts from over 150 type foundries as part of your Creative Cloud subscription.

All of the fonts are licensed for personal & commercial use;

Fonts that are installed in the Fonts folder on your computer are licensed under their own individual end user licensing agreements.

Adobe Fonts

Now, Google Fonts is another popular option for using fonts online on blogs and websites – especially because you can access all the available Google Fonts through a plugin on WordPress (called Google Fonts – which I personally use, my typeface family is Montserrat). Plus, they are all well-designed specifically to be web fonts and used online. Not all fonts are designed to be used for digital and online use.

The reason why Google Fonts is ideal for usage on your blog is that all the fonts included are Open Source. Open source means that you use it however you want, you can change it and share it – for personal and commercial use.

All of the fonts are Open Source. This means that you are free to share your favorites with friends and colleagues. You can even customize them for your own use, or collaborate with the original designer to improve them. And you can use them in every way you want, privately or commercially — in print, on your computer, or in your websites.

Google Fonts

Self-Publishing & The Universal Type Client

I know that a lot of book bloggers are aspiring writers, doing such an amazing job on their WIPs and completing NaNoWriMo, etc, but it’s also important to learn about licensing if you ever want to self-publish your work. Many of the usual font suspects we’ve grown up with such as Times New Roman and Lucinda Calligraphy from Microsoft Word and PowerPoint are actually from the Universal Type Client.

The Universal Type Client is basically a database of fonts you need licensing for. They are all beautiful, old and well-crafted typefaces, and also include management software to manage all the fonts included. The reason why we know all these fonts is because when you use a program like Microsoft Word, it includes this Client and holds the license for you to use these fonts with Microsoft Word.

So if you’re one day planning on self-publishing something, even if it’s for a Wattpad ‘read more’ download link or to send to yourself to your Kindle, you’ll need to have font licensing in mind.

If you plan to create a .pdf of your Microsoft Word book so that you can upload it to CreateSpace, Lulu, or another print-on-demand vendor, you’re licensed to do so.

However, if you’re creating an e-book for, say, the Kindle, you can’t embed the Microsoft Word font you used to write your drafts.  You’ll need to license a font or consider using the fonts provided by the e-book manufacturer — ePUB, iBook, Kindle, and so forth.

So, I think that covers it when it comes to font licensing!

What did you think of this post? Let me know if you have any other questions in the comments below.

Until next time,

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