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Hi. A few questions I ponder about throughout my day.

1). How does one know that a font can used be legally for their logo? I see some fonts on several font sights that I would like to use but I don't want to get into trouble for using it.

2). If I have an artist/illustrator use my company name to design it in a fashion like you see on some of the
No Fear/Hurley/Affliction shirts, and I pay them, who owns the art? How is that price typically quoted? I'm looking for the name to be manipulated and some decorative elements to be included. All one color.

3). Is there such a thing as being paid on a royalty basis rather than payment for the design? If so, who owns that design?

I am experienced with Corel Draw and can do the basics and some manipulating with individual letters and such, but every time I sit and start designing, I feel like I am my worst critic and start making so many changes that I get frustrated. I'm starting to think it's probably better to have artists do what they do best and pay for the designs.

I appreciate your feedback.

Thanks
Vicki
 

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How does one know that a font can used be legally for their logo? I see some fonts on several font sights that I would like to use but I don't want to get into trouble for using it.
Typefaces are made to be used. There is no law that states you can't use a typeface in your logo.

Some typeface creators prefer that you pay them when using their font for commercial purposes. But copyright law does not enforce this.

That said, try to use fonts that are free for commercial purposes. Or pay the font creator for peace of mind.

Also, try to avoid fonts that are based on existing logos (Disney, Star Wars fonts, etc).

If I have an artist/illustrator use my company name to design it in a fashion like you see on some of the No Fear/Hurley/Affliction shirts, and I pay them, who owns the art?
When in doubt, the artist owns their work. If you are paying the artist for a logo or design, get it in writing that the ownership of the work is transferred to you upon payment of the project.

How is that price typically quoted?
You need to negotiate a price with the artist. All artists have their own rates based on their skill, experience and their expectation of how long the job will take.

Is there such a thing as being paid on a royalty basis rather than payment for the design? If so, who owns that design?
Yes, it's called licensing. The artist would retain ownership of the design. That's what protects them and keeps them getting paid. If they transfer ownership to you, what obligation would you have to pay them for using a design you now own?
 

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Hi. A few questions I ponder about throughout my day.

1). How does one know that a font can used be legally for their logo? I see some fonts on several font sights that I would like to use but I don't want to get into trouble for using it.

There is no definitive way of know a font is free for commercial use besides doing your research (google whatdafont) or seeing if the font is available to purchase for commercial use.

2). If I have an artist/illustrator use my company name to design it in a fashion like you see on some of the
No Fear/Hurley/Affliction shirts, and I pay them, who owns the art? How is that price typically quoted? I'm looking for the name to be manipulated and some decorative elements to be included. All one color.

Well this one is loaded. A designer can create something for you and unless, in contract, you stipulate that the full rights are transferred over to you or your company, they own it. Keep in mind that legitimate artist also charge a few for use or transfer of rights. (Can be hefty depending on designer)

Secondly, you can use others designs as inspirations but blatant rip offs are looked down upon and are at times illegal (tricky subject)

3). Is there such a thing as being paid on a royalty basis rather than payment for the design? If so, who owns that design?

Again, this is a rights issue and what ever the contract between the designer and the client are, there in lies your answer. Royalties are always an option but in my experience a down payment/signing advance is always asked for. Royalties are also only used with "big fish" in my opinion...but to each their own.

I am experienced with Corel Draw and can do the basics and some manipulating with individual letters and such, but every time I sit and start designing, I feel like I am my worst critic and start making so many changes that I get frustrated. I'm starting to think it's probably better to have artists do what they do best and pay for the designs.

I appreciate your feedback.

Thanks
Vicki
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fonts are a different kind of category of graphics. i was just reading about this as i wondered about using off the shelf fonts for cheap logo designs for a freelance graphics biz i'm intending to start up hitting the low end of the market at first doing simple font alterations.

you CAN'T outright steal a font and re-sell it, as it sell the font itself complete with formatting. you COULD, from what i read re-draw the font and format it yourself for resale though. the person i learned that from stated that's the reson why you see a lot of bad kerning in freeware and "1,000 font" CDs.

if you simply convert a font into line art, then you're totally in the clear according to what i read, though the previous poster's comments reflected the general conversation i read... fonts aren't considered the same as artwork.

there could be an issue though if you copied some company's logo that isn't based on a font though i'd imagine, but you should be able to use off the shelf fonts without a problem, especially if you rework them.

just like using clip art for logos though, you might not be able to copyright a logo. anyone have anything to add to that question?
 

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The law separates the difference between fonts and typefaces.

Fonts are computer files that you install on your computer and use within programs, such as AI, PS and Corel. These files are protected by copyright. So you can't re-distribute the font without permission. But downloading the font and installing it fine, as long as you obtained it legally... through a font site, for example.

A typeface is the creative, aesthetic elements of the font. This cannot be protected as copyright. They are letters... the law views them as functional... they have been created and distributed with the intent to be used. Once you install the (legally obtained) font on your computer... use them within a graphics program... and convert to outlines... the font creator does not have the legal grounds to take action for the unauthorized use of the typeface.

Perhaps the laws will change at some point. But current copyright laws only protect the font (computer file) and not the typeface (creative elements).

All that said, it's a good idea to respect the work of font creators and pay the licensing fees when requested. Or just use fonts that are free for commercial use.
 

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it would also be VERY difficult to track font abuse as there are so many similar looking fonts out there and a nearly infinite number of uses for them.

even if you could invent truly intelligent font regognition program, it still wouldn't be able to spot fonts that are buried in graphics or had effects done on them. even captcha has a hard time recognizing letters for what they represent... forget it trying to understand the concept of fonts.

it's too late now to change direction. freeware fonts have been available for too long to try and charge people for using them after the fact.
 
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