Noveo Sans by Fontsite? (A variation or copy of Neuzit Grotesk)

J. BridgesJ. Bridges Posts: 84
edited April 2022 in Type Business
I was looking for an inexpensive font that looked like Neuzit Grotesk that my client can use for internal PowerPoints. I did not want to send them the real font that I have licensed for packaging work. I am trying to do the right thing. I get asked all the time: can you send me that font?

I came upon (Noveo Sans). It looks really close. I found it on Fontspring and MyFonts. It is from Fontsite. Then I noticed that Fontsite had a ton of very famous fonts with slightly altered names.

These look like exact clones or copies. Is this firm legit?


  • Mark SimonsonMark Simonson Posts: 1,594
    edited April 2022
    They are fonts marketed by SoftMaker, a German software company. Fairly comprehensive info about SoftMaker and its fonts here:
  • Here's a clue as to the site's legitimacy:

  • Mark SimonsonMark Simonson Posts: 1,594
    edited April 2022
    I'm not sure exactly what the legal or business connection is between FontSite and SoftMaker, but I had a book years ago, written by Sean Cavanaugh (who founded FontSite) and it included a CD of SoftMaker fonts.
  • Softmaker sells 7,500 TrueType commercial fonts for $34.95 as a digital download. That is a lot of fonts. They appear to be similar to some of what Fontsite is offering but the Fontsite fonts are OpenType. Maybe Sean Cavanaugh updated the ones he sells? Good to know that the Fontsite fonts at MyFonts are OK to purchase. Thanks.
  • Mark SimonsonMark Simonson Posts: 1,594
    edited April 2022
    Found the book. It's called Digital Type Design Guide: The Page Designer's Guide to Working With Type, published in 1995 by Hayden Books, and sold for $45. The accompanying CD-ROM (containing 220 fonts in PostScript and TrueType format) contains a Typeface License Agreement with SoftMaker, Inc. It also contains demo "TryOut" versions of Adobe apps (Illustrator, Photoshop, and PageMaker) and Acrobat Reader.

    On the "About the Authors" page in the book, it says, "[Sean Cavanaugh's] last real job was director of typography for SoftMaker, Inc., where he oversaw the development and release of SoftMaker's definiType typeface library and associated products."

    His LinkedIn page says he's been "Principle" of FontSite since 1996.
  • It looks like Softmaker and Fonsite fonts are the same but with different names. Same vectors on this version of Neuzeit Grotesk clone. Not that it matters.
  • I came across this page a long time ago while deep in some rabbit hole, and this thread reminded me of it:
    The Font Forging Industry
    Forgery, Cloning, Piracy, Plagiarism of Fonts
    Documentations for Prosecutors and Criminal Courts
    They write about FontSite and this Sean Cavanaugh character, and other companies like Monotype and Linotype, accusing them of all sorts of plagiarism and piracy. I can't really tell how much of it is serious or tongue-in-cheek, but it's an entertaining read, that's for sure.
  • I find the font business to be very confusing. How does a person redraw (CLARENDON) or any other well known typeface from scratch without it being a form of plagiarism? OK, you used fewer or more points in your vectors. I don't know what to say.
  • British design patents were introduced around the time the first Clarendon typeface was released. It received a design patent, which lasted for three years. At the time, there was no other protection available for its design.

    Copying someone else’s digital Clarendon or Clarendon-inspired typeface today could indeed be a copyright violation (at least, if the data in your source code matches theirs). But everyone is free to reinterpret very old Clarendon-style fonts, like those produced in the 19th century.

    Note that several of the late 1980s/early 1990s interpretations of e.g. Hermann Eidenbenz’s Clarendon for the Haas typefoundry likely have the exact same outlines. As is the case with the Neuzeit clones discussed in this thread, that is not the result of piracy but because multiple parties shared the digitalization data. This is not a tactic that is likely to apply to fonts made now, but it is an element of the business as it was carried out back at that time.
  • Mark SimonsonMark Simonson Posts: 1,594
    edited April 2022
    The article on Luc Devroye's site about SoftMaker mentions that their font data was licensed from URW. URW was the source for many digital fonts in the '80s and '90s and, like so many other digital type companies from back then, it is part of Monotype now.
  • Is MyFonts, Monotype, Bitstream, ITC all the same company at this point in time?

    I was looking at a typeface called Tango Regular at MyFonts. The Monotype website says it was designed in 1974 by Colin Brignall for ITC. I found a 1993 version by Bitstream, a 2002 version by Softmaker and a 2015 version by Fontsite that was renamed Tampa Regular. 
  • Mark SimonsonMark Simonson Posts: 1,594
    edited April 2022
    Is MyFonts, Monotype, Bitstream, ITC all the same company at this point in time?

    Yes, plus Linotype, URW, FontShop, Agfa Compugraphic, and some other companies. 

    ITC had been acquired by Esselte Letraset in the eighties and was sold to Monotype in 2000. As I understand it, all the Letraset fonts had by that time become "ITC" fonts and were also acquired as part of ITC.

    (Incidentally, Agfa Compugraphic purchased Monotype in 1999, renamed themselves Agfa Monotype, and later dropped the Agfa part, the Monotype name having more prestige in the industry than either Agfa or Compugraphic. Compugraphic was the most successful low-end typesetting manufacturer before desktop publishing. Agfa made graphic arts products, not type or typesetting equipment.)
  • Nick CurtisNick Curtis Posts: 118
    The Agfa Compugraphic 8400 series was a Postscript-based dedicated digital typsesetting system.
  • Mark SimonsonMark Simonson Posts: 1,594
    edited April 2022
    Agfa Compugraphic made typesetting systems, but Agfa didn't before they and Compugraphic merged. Agfa mostly made photo paper and film, and things like that.
  • J. BridgesJ. Bridges Posts: 84
    edited April 2022
    Were Compugraphic typesetting systems common in and around 1980? I remember buying typesetting from an old German "typographer". If you called him a typesetter he got upset. The system he had looked like a CRT PC computer. I don't recall if it was a WYSIWYG desktop view or if it looked like DOS type commands. I recall seeing paper tape as how he transferred the data to the big output device. Does that sound familiar? I kind of recall seeing a linotype or Mergenthaler logo on the output machine but that was 42 years ago. So, I am probably dreaming.
  • Mark SimonsonMark Simonson Posts: 1,594
    edited April 2022
    Compugraphic typesetters were common in the US around 1980, and even later.

    In 1985, when I was working at a magazine, we purchased a Compugraphic digital typesetting system that included a quasi-wysywig display. Probably not the best investment on hindsight, as Mac- and PC-based systems would start to replace such machines within a few years. But in 1985, it still made sense. Mac- and PC-based systems were not quite up to the task yet. 
  • I bought a license thru Fontspring. It is useful but I'd reccomend buying the original Berthold version thru their site but I know that ownership is in flux as Monotype bought it. 
Sign In or Register to comment.