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Yes, nick, but on the other hand... I know of about about lots of independent font producer that started new foundries thanks to Google fonts.. and so far I have never heard on any independent font producer that went broke because of it. Even our worst critics back in 2010 are now a days releasing fonts at GF.
John Savard said:
Recently I had a client ask me to convert his (script) company logo into a script font. I came with the idea to add his logo as a letter in the font, so every time he writes a business proposal to his partners, he can type it in his own font and add his logo in the flow of the line. I thought this was pretty neat.
But it's very sad that type designers at a higher level have had a substancial chunk of their profits eaten away by giant companies. That's business, I guess...
To get back on-topic, I think almost all design styles for fonts have been explored in the last 10-15 years. Which means that one's work is bound to look very similar to someone else's, and, out of nowhere, somebody will claim you saw their work somewhere, obtained it somehow and made a derivative. It might even be a source of revenue for some shady people that can't sell their fonts. I guess this will be only the first of many such court cases that we will hear of. And also, some AI might come into the mix, pushing the boundaries of legislation.
As for Spectral, its spacing looks too loose to me. Is there a practical reason for that? (For example: enhance on-screen readability for dyslexic people, etc.)
Because I wrote an expert statement in this case I also got to read most of the other statements (the ones that where written in English or translated for me — I remember there being a few only in French that I couldn't read). That was my main take away.
Speaking as a non-designer, but one who has to have these conversations with my own designers and make business decisions... As I read the statements by the people on the offence (those who thought there was infringement) I got the feeling they were looking at minutia and a shared reference font and conflating that with having copied La Monde.
We need to remember that to lay people nearly all fonts are similar. Therefore, there needs to be a really high bar on the industry side, or we would cause a chilling effect and completely destroy creativity.