Hi. First time caller…
I have some font-embedding/licensing questions and I hope to learn some answers or at least get some leads.
First some quick background: In a nutshell, I’m a designer at a design, design research, and development company that creates UI/UX for new applications in addition to fixing/redesigning existing applications. We’ve been around for about 12-13 years and many of our engagements have been for web-based business applications.
Anyway, it’s really just within last few years that fonts outside stock OS libraries have been realistically viable for mainstream use (also much of our work has been for business/enterprise applications) so specifying non-standard fonts wasn’t even really an option — it was more like “Sigh. Well, are we using Arial, Verdana, or Trebuchet?” because everything else looked terrible on crappy corporate bulk-purchased monitors.
As we all know, thanks to Typekit et al, using non-system fonts in client work is easier, affordable and looks great blah blah blah. It’s no longer a compromise to design a cohesive suite of websites, web apps, print materials, and mobile apps that all respect the client's brand/style guide.
But then there’s an area that is much more mysterious — Desktop applications. Almost all of the respectable foundries offer webfont as well as mobile app and e-reader licenses but I’ve yet to find any public information concerning the licensing costs of embedding fonts in Mac OS X and/or Windows desktop applications. We had a client not too long ago for whom expenses were not an issue (this is a very rare animal) and we had sold them on using some lovely [Highly-Respected-Foundry] type. After an inability to choose an appropriate format/license from HRF’s website we had a follow-up email conversation where they explained that they don’t offer fonts for desktop embedding because Windows does not offer a reliable way to protect fonts from being extracted (and then pirated). Unfortunately, I wasn’t personally in that email exchange so I don’t know all of the details but believe that was the spirit of the exchange and I totally respect their concerns. We did use something else, BTW.
So this was a really long way of getting to the question portion of this post. (sorry)
- Were you aware of the security/piracy risk of embedding fonts in desktop applications? (Is the threat real or just paranoia?)
- Are there differences between OS X and Windows for securing embedded fonts?
- Do you know of any foundries with font offerings for desktop applications?
Thanks for reading this far and I look forward to y’all’s insights.