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  • Re: Foundries Allowing Modification

    My take: Initially early digital foundries simply followed Adobe's model, where modification was explicitly allowed in their FAQs (even if their EULAs were more ambiguous).

    Adobe took this approach because they just didn't want to have to deal with the hassle of one-off modifications and licensing requests - they could leave this in the hands of customers - "modify the font as you see fit but make sure whoever you give it to has a license to the original". 

    I think most type designers today want to be involved in modification - either doing that work or approving of the work - this extends to open source fonts too - the OFL restrictions around font names being evidence of this. 
  • Re: Plex; IBM's new font identity model

    SiDaniels said:
    Curious, why do the sources have an exclusivity period?
    There is no exclusivity period. The word “exclusivity” implies that there is a deliberate decision to withhold something in order to gain an advantage, usually in a financial way. And that is absolutely not the case.

    The IBM Plex project started a long time ago, and did not start as a shared project on a GitHub repository in the first place. Instead the project was carried out on our own internal production system which is completely tailored to our own preferences and uses scripts and tools that are not all open source.

    When the decision was made to open source IBM Plex we got in touch with a number of people with experience in that field – including Dave Crossland – and decided that we want to do this properly. Comparable to how the people at Adobe Type have published the Source family for instance. However, this means that we need to make sure our source files can be compiled using open source software and that the resulting font files are 100% identical to the ones that come out of our production system. That transition is what we are working on.
  • Re: Foundries Allowing Modification

    We're still considering whether or under what conditions to permit modification in our commercial license. What I've done in the past, in some of our no-fee no-commercial-use licenses, e.g. for the SBL fonts, is to include a requirement that any modified fonts be sent to us, and we reserve the right to include such modifications in future versions of the font. The context there is fonts for specialist scholarship, recognising that modifications, especially extensions, might be useful for others in the user community. But I think there's a more general point to be made about who owns derivative works, and the right to exploit those commercially. Modified fonts are covered, as derivative works, by the copyright of the original, and by the terms of the original license agreement. That is, no matter how substantially modified, the fonts belong to the original copyright holder.

    I've seen modified versions of fonts used in branding, in which changes to a few common letter shapes create a distinctive typographic look and feel without the expense of commissioning a whole custom typeface. My understanding is that there is nothing in that case to prevent the original font foundry from releasing their own version of that modified font — even taking that modified font as is and releasing it, or licensing it to another customer, even one in competition with the branding agency's client — and thereby undermining the value of the branding exercise.
  • Re: EULAs: No Modifications Clauses.

    Why NOT allow mods:

    1) Support issues. Support calls. If you allow mods, you have to deal with more users who may have been the authors of their own troubles by messing something up while modifying the font.

    2) Purity. The type designer doesn't want others messing up their glyphs or spacing.

    Why ALLOW mods:

    1) You have to deal with modified fonts anyway, and ask about them. Just warn that you don't support the modified fonts, and you are no worse off than if you didn't allow mods at all.

    2) Sometimes users have a perfectly good reason. Their company is named "FreeValve" and you didn't kern the "eV" combo and they want to kern it. Or any number of oddball things. Easier to just allow mods in general, rather than make users contact you every time.
  • Re: EULAs: No Modifications Clauses.

    I have a no-modification clause so people don’t fix my spacing and raise expectations.
  • Re: Plex; IBM's new font identity model

    I can confirm (as I already did on GitHub) that we will make the IBM Plex source files available for everyone. This will happen in the course of 2018.
  • Re: No Name Serif (first typeface)

    I can't see a reason why top serifs need to be mirror images of bottom serifs. This feels steady like a table. The only thing I don't like about this is that I didn't think of it first.
  • Re: What was the very first typeface described as “feminine”?

    @Robin Mientjes No matter which way you slice it, since genitalia is almost entirely binary,

    Your “almost entirely” is my “not at all near.” I have known too many people who didn’t fit that binary, even for physical genitalia.
    if you refuse to see gender in visual language you end up making lists like this
    which are oppressively gender-binary (if unwittingly so). It's an insult to everybody to pretend one needs to be obviously female to contribute female associations in visible language.

    That is unfair nonsense. The list was nothing to do with “contributing female associations in visible language.” It was exactly what it claimed to be: fonts made by women. Your obsession with labeling the *work* as feminine or masculine seems to have blinded you to this.

    Women are under-represented among type designers. Some people would like to encourage type design by women, and being aware of it is a first step, whether it proceeds to promoting their work or buying their typefaces.

    And yes, it is more complicated—see my above comments about people not fitting this binary. We can have an even shorter list of non-gender-binary type designers if you like.
  • Re: What was the very first typeface described as “feminine”?

    For example you end up with a list of over 250 typefaces designed by women... which inescapably only includes people with a vagina, because you're not allowing yourself to see an expression of gender in the fonts themselves. This is a harmful gender-binary.

    First of all, Hrant, you’re making an awful lot of assumptions – and they’re wrong.

    Second, you’re equating and conflating gender with sex, and sex with a binary. Both reasonings are wrong. If you’re arguing about aesthetic features, fine. But don’t try to excuse your aesthetic ideas and ideals by bringing in hopelessly wrong biology and sociology.

  • Re: What was the very first typeface described as “feminine”?

    @Hrant H. Papazian
    Protecting gender stereotypes is like a nature conservationist focused on protecting the common housefly. We're in no danger of anyone in the world forgetting gender stereotypes exist. If you want to discuss the relationship between gender and type, that's fine. There's nothing wrong with that. 

    Outside of ad copy, gender and type is an interesting thing to talk about. If a reviewer says a font is masculine, there's some context. We know who the reviewer is, we can think about it.

    I get what you're saying about the two triangles. I think we're all pretty round these days. But some women have narrow shoulders, wide hips, thick limbs, big muscles and sharp angles. Some men have wide shoulders, narrow hips, thin limbs and soft features.

    When gender stereotypes are used in ad copy to sell fonts, it's not a discussion. Think how that kind of ad copy reads to people who don't fit the stereotype. When type designers use these terms in their ad copy, they're usually not talking about the triangularity, the hip/shoulder ratio of the typeface. Enter some gendered terms into your vendor search tool and see what comes up. You'll see a few results that aren't stereotypical and plenty that are.

    Maybe there's a way to use gender in ad copy that's progressive. But I think the typical gender stereotypes used in typeface ad copy are a turn off for younger customers. When a young designer types "feminine" or "masculine" into the font vendor search bar, the search results have an effect on what the next generation will see.