Asset managers for corporate licensees – “normals" or font people?

I'm researching font management to help define a role for higher management.

But I'm also interested from an ethical standpoint:
– Should this be a dedicated font management role (e.g. Pearson, Penguin Random House, maybe others?);
– Should this role is a subset of an asset / permissions management role? Pros and cons;
– Should this role be undertaken by a member of the type community? Pros and cons.
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Comments

  • I think Program Management people (often called "Producers" in Creative Industries) usually handle this sort of thing; I'd be surprised if it required a dedicated role even at a publisher like PRH. 

    Members of the type community tend to want to spend their time drawing type, not doing business administration; but domain knowledge is always helpful. Perhaps someone with paralegal contract and copyright training would be better suited.
  • ^ Insightful.
  • Colonel BleepColonel Bleep Posts: 793
    edited October 2016
    I know one of my clients (major magazine house) has a dedicated font person that clears all font license purchases company wide. They have been in place there since the mid 90s.

  • I'd actually be fascinated to know if there are several of these dedicated roles. Pearson and Penguin Random House both have Global Font Managers.
  • James, great to know! Is that person a "type person"? 
  • Dave, he has many careers. He worked in days of photo, selling typesetting for one of the NY type shops, He is also a flight instructor and has an aerial drone business. 
  • It is important, I think, that the person have a strong understanding of print, web and ebook workflows and the font handling involved, so they can understand how the EULAs interact with that. I agree with Dave that they don't have to be a font person for that purpose—somebody with more of a book production background might be well suited.

    That said, if the person is also serving as a broader consultant on font purchasing, and not just licensing per se, a lot of other knowledge could come into play. An understanding of Unicode, languages and character sets, font embedding... all sorts of things.

  • JoyceKettererJoyceKetterer Posts: 128
    edited October 2016
    I've encountered a lot of digital librarians but only one dedicated font manager other than @Katy Mawhood.   

    I've never had any reason to think that the digital librarians do an inferior job and I would imagine that it's harder to make an entire job out of just managing fonts.  
  • I have often seen Production Managers with type as part of their job.
  • @Karl Stange
    What kind of workflows do you have for license compliance? For example, we have a list of 5,000 fonts which we broadly license for print and PDF.
    • Our designers' font use is locked down by our font management server.
    • Our typesetters are instructed to license these 5,000 fonts, and we conduct quarterly reports (e.g. 5% sample of all titles) to assure compliance.
  • Karl StangeKarl Stange Posts: 38
    @Katy Mawhood
    Sorry, I completely missed this!

    It sounds like you have a very similar set-up to us, with font management (FEX) used to manage desktop deployment and fairly expansive licensing in place to cover extended rights for digital usage (PDF, other ebook formats, web platform and app embedding) as well self-hosting rights for web fonts. Compliance reporting is conducted within specific business areas.

    We also have a limited amount of 3rd party licensing but we are increasingly trying to move away from it.
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