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(Dreaded) Font licenses in branding

Hi there
I have had a regular client of mine drop their whole branding in my lap! Its not something I normally do.
I have been reading up about font licensing..

Can you tell me what the general practice is for using a font for a client's brand?
I realise that in a logo, text is outlined so the font is not passed on, but this company produces publications.
They are based in the humanitarian sector.

From what I understand I should buy the font on their behalf in their name so that they own the license, or get them to buy the license.
They could then pass it to designers as needed when they work on publications in the short term, which I think is deemed 'sort of ok'.
My client is clueless as to whether they own licenses for fonts they use and its tricky to ask without opening a can of worms, so I can't tell whats been done before!
The desktop fonts are Frutiger and Times. I am desperate to change the Times, and the client regards it as 'old fashioned' but it will mean losing a few days of paid time. I would change it to another font that isn't so common, so designers would have to ask for it. But they pass native files around commonly anyway.

Is what I have outlined above the 'right' thing please? ie buying the license in their name. Is this what brand designers commonly do? Or am I overdoing the issue?
Any other suggestions around this issue is welcome. Rather in it over my head!

Many thanks for any help or advice.


Staff member
Don't feel bad about asking questions when taking on someone elses work, this is essentially what you are doing, because to put it simply you have no idea what the other designer has done before you.

Personally I'd be asking directly if they need the license to be purchased etc because ultimately they're the ones liable.


Staff member
It depends on the font licence, you'll have to read the EULA of each font.

Some require any new person to use the font to purchase their own set of the font. Others allow it to passed on to the next designer, for the sole use within that brand and company only. So you can't use it for your next design project for another client.

Then they can buy the font, but they need to buy enough 'seats' so that you can use it, and technically you are an employee at the time. Therefore the seat is transferred to you for the duration of the project. Once the project is finished, you delete the fonts from your side and releases the seat to their care.

You're right though, outline the fonts in the artwork for logos, but make sure the EULA states you are allowed to do this, some fonts don't allow it. Doing this means for whatever reason someone can open the logo and make tweaks, changes, colour etc. without needing the font installed.
Would the license vary according to which font supplier they bought it from please?
And would you shop around to buy it from a supplier that gives the license you need?
Thanks again, in advance.