I've looked for this topic, but I think it's not started yet, so here I am.
Due to the rapidly growing numbers of fonts out there, I thought that we are already run out of font names, especially the good and short ones. Thus, I want to ask you guys, what would the future of font naming be? Would we start to create non-sense or long font names, or we think it's now ethical to use the same font names (especially if the words are not made up)?
Or maybe in the future there will be an official regulation of font naming? For example, we have to use initial prefix or suffix.
What's on your imagination this naming thing would be?
And the thing is, the fonts with the same name are already there. For example, there are already three entries for "Oxford" in MyFonts (although two of them are the same fonts), but when you search it on CreativeMarket, boom, there is one other "Oxford" which is different from MyFonts entries. This is just one example, there are many, and we also haven't talked about how many fonts with the same name on Dafont.
If you ask me, considering the growing numbers of fonts, I think it's just ethical to use the same name of fonts as long as it's not a made-up word. Just like some bands sharing the same title for their songs. I know it will cause conflicts in the system if you want to install those "same name" fonts, but we have to admit that we've created sooo many fonts that we can't install them all in the system. We have to choose.
What do you think?
So: Dubious ethics, definitely unwise, and sometimes illegal.
- Why create unnecessary user confusion?
- Some vendors such as MyFonts will not allow a duplicate name for a new font
- If the name is trademarked, you may be infringing the trademark and opening yourself to legal action from the trademark holder
Instead: make up names (Elemontain? Feranobe? Wathe?), use proper names (Syauqi? Evanston? Hillsboro?), or two-word names (Blue Dove? MegaPenguin? Tiny Dancer? Cranky Joe?), as needed.
Sure, I've been taking this issue so carefully and avoid the double naming as well. That's also the reason why I ask it here, to have some opinions from the experts.
Actually I come up with the topic because I can't stop thinking about it:
I am about to create a font family with weight and width axes. For it will have some suffix like "Font Name UltraLight Wide" or "Font Name Heavy SemiNarrow", I try to use just one-word font name.
Some people like to name the fonts after a place name, like San Francisco, New York, and Montserrat. I like it too, and have chosen one. I looked it up on MyFonts, Dafont, Identifont, and FontData, and it's not been taken. Then I looked it up on CreativeMarket: it's there, a casual font.
I don't think I will distribute it via CreativeMarket, so it's been a dilemma for me: to stay with the name or give it up.
Some comments from me:
At first, like you, I think MyFonts won't let the same name fonts on their library, until I looked up some popular words on it, and they are there (multiple entries). Then, I assume it is maybe just a past mistake, but it's not. The most current fonts with the same name I can find on MyFonts is Disco. There are two fonts named Disco on MyFonts which one of them is released in February 2019. It's quite new.
By the way, I want to make it clear: it's not about me, but the community, the world.
Sure, I will not use the name already taken, but what's your opinion about those who did?
Because unfortunately, as I mentioned above, they are there. And my original opinion above is for them who did, not for myself.
Muhammad Ariq Syauqi said:
Because, I believe that font making is now becoming a trend. It will continuously grow and I believe in the future, font-making will be as popular as photography nowadays: everyone does it. Especially in Indonesia, someone already realized it and post it here: Typedesign and Indonesia.
Furthermore, a few days ago, triggered by some issue about font licensing, a thread about font-making is trending in Twitter Indonesia, encouraging people to create their own fonts with just their smartphone. And I have to tell you it gets 25.000 retweets and 82.000 likes. By the retweets and likes it gets, I'm pretty sure the impressions are millions.
At first, I thought people just retweeted and liked it without further actions. But I'm wrong, they really started to create their own. And by the fact that distributing fonts via some free-download-font websites are quite easy, tons of fonts will be released every day. Thus, slow but sure, I believe that someday we will really run out of names.
So, for example, while naming your new futuristic typeface 'Avenir' or 'Eurostile Bold Extended' would be a definite no-no, I don't see a huge problem if, for example, foundry XYZ were to design a set of ornate capitals based on the Book of Kells and to name it XYZ Kells despite the existence of P22 Kells.
Note that I am not a professional font ethicist nor do I play one on TV.
I also appreciate the way this question was phrased because ethics and law are not always the same. But no, it is not ethical to use the same name, even more so today than before webfonts. Caching is a huge issue.
@Dave Crossland has stories of people who made fonts as students that they never distributed writing him angry because they think Google has stolen their font. not only is it the same name (because no one knew the name of their font) but they are looking at a website and their font is loading. it's installed locally and the computer isn't loading the font in the css! Imagine the chaos if distributed fonts did that. This is why we always rename mods we license.
And here's a case that's kind of funny I guess. I released a free compressed unicase typeface called Droid in the late 1990s. That was about a decade before Lucasfilm had trademarked the word. 12 years ago, Google (Ascender?) released their own Droid font. On my PC, I have my Droid installed and not theirs so on some websites, it shows up as a fallback which looks pretty silly. I've gotten a few reports from people telling me that my font was showing up in strange places. Even if you think a Dafont font isn't going to be an issue, consider that some of them get downloaded sometimes thousands, sometimes millions of times. And free fonts often get packaged as OEM so naming conflicts could be more likely that they would be with non-free fonts.
About slapping your foundry initials in front of the name to make it unique: DJR slaps his initials, should the need arise, to the end of it (e.g. Forma DJR) which I dig very much, as grouping one's fonts within a menu has much less value to me than being able to key in first two letters, press Return and be done with it. Anyone else takes this route?
2. Find that it's already used by some poor quality free font for which the name makes no sense.
3. Go away and release typeface under less good name.
4. Time passes.
5. See that one of your colleagues has released a typeface using that great name you thought of .
6. Check and find that the poor quality free font using the name has 1) disappeared or 2) has become three different poor quality free fonts all using the same name.
2. Discover that Rian Hughes is already using it.
3. Be grumpy and sad about it for years.
* Both because I like the bird and the Geoffrey Hill poem 'Genesis' that contains the stanza
The second day I stood and saw
The osprey plunge with triggered claw,
Feathering blood along the shore,
To lay the living sinew bare.
and also in reference to Bill Hill's 'The Magic of Reading' essay.
I think there was a trademark issue. For a company like Microsoft, they want to avoid any software related name or term used by someone else. So when they do a trademark search on a proposed font name, they're not only looking at existing font names but a whole bunch of other stuff. And they're looking internationally.
Cabot was a likely name for a while. There was a possible trademark issue, but the trademark seemed to be dormant. The lawyers tried to track down the holder of the trademark to see if he would relinquish it, but he'd apparently gone into the Australian outback on vacation and couldn't be reached.
Big corporations going beyond fonts for big just makes a tough problem just that much worse. Robert Slimbach only managed to get his 5th choice name for Arno.