Type Tips

Font Formats & Licensing Options

FontShop represents a curated selection of foundries—mostly small, independent companies—whose fonts are collected on our website, so you can easily find them and license them for your projects. Each foundry offers standard desktop fonts, the kind you install on your computer and use for, say, designing and printing business cards. Furthermore there are webfonts for webpages, and specially licensed fonts for embedding in eBooks and apps. Not all foundries offer these latter options on the FontShop site. Since every foundry is different, it’s hard to say without getting specific which formats allow what uses, but here’s a general picture of what’s available:

You can find a link to a foundry’s End User License Agreement under the description on its Foundry page.
You can find a link to a foundry’s End User License Agreement under the description on its Foundry page.

Licenses

All licenses or End User License Agreements (EULAs, the foundry’s terms you agree to before downloading their fonts) are prominently displayed on each foundry page. For example, here’s Frode Helland and Sindre Bremnes’ foundry, Monokrom. Find the link just below the foundry description text. Links to the corresponding license are also at the bottom of each family page, and at checkout. At the top of each family page, find a concise graphic on the line just below the Buy button for quick reference, showing which licenses and formats are included. For example, FF Quixo is available for desktop, web, and mobile.

The icons on the line just below the Buy button give a quick overview of which licenses and formats are available.
The icons on the line just below the Buy button give a quick overview of which licenses and formats are available.

Desktop

Desktop fonts are licensed based on the number of users. Within desktop, there are two main font formats our foundries deal in: OT (OpenType), and TT (TrueType). Though the technical differences between these two formats once determined compatibility with different systems, they’re now essentially interchangeable. TrueType fonts remain the standard for interoperability between PC and Mac platforms, while OpenType fonts are the most readily accepted by print houses and service bureaus in the graphic arts industry. The creation of the OpenType format in the late 1990s brought with it greater character capacity and rich substitution features, which gave a single font the ability to include both upper & lowercase and small caps, for example, and allow the typographer to easily highlight a passage and switch between the two.

The industry standard formats for webfonts are WOFF (Web Open Font Format), and EOT (Embedded OpenType), but some webfonts also come in Web TTF.
The industry standard formats for webfonts are WOFF (Web Open Font Format), and EOT (Embedded OpenType), but some webfonts also come in Web TTF.

Webfonts

The webfonts that FontShop carries are self-hosted, the kind you host on your own webserver*. They are licensed for use on websites in accordance with the conditions of the CSS@font face declaration. The industry standard formats for webfonts are WOFF (Web Open Font Format), and EOT (Embedded OpenType), but some webfonts also come in Web TTF. These are marked simply ‘Web’ on the FontShop site. The webfonts from FontShop.com are supported by all major browsers, including Firefox 3.5+, IE 5+, Opera 10+, Chrome 4+, Safari 3.1+, iOS Mobile Safari, Android 2.2+ and BlackBerry OS 6.

*Webfonts from our house brand, FontFont, include a code redeemable at the webfont service Typekit, in case you’d prefer to have them hosted for you. Through this partnership you can add your Web FontFonts to their free Trial account. Once you’ve purchased the fonts on FontShop.com you will find a link on your order history page. All you need to do is click on the button to send your license and fonts to Typekit, then follow their instructions to add a single line of code to your site and your fonts will be added immediately. Typekit’s free Trial account has certain limitations, please see their website for full details. Hosting your Web FontFonts through Typekit is purely optional. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us with your order receipt. We can help you through any steps necessary to get your fonts up and running on Typekit.

We offer two licensing models for webfonts, both based on the number of pageviews.

Pay As You Go

With the Pay As You Go licensing scheme you purchase a certain quota of pageviews. There is no time limit; the cost is determined solely by the number of times your webpages are viewed. By the time your pageview quota is nearly exhausted you will receive a notification, alerting you it is time to license a new batch of pageviews. The foundries that participate in the Pay As You Go model are Linotype, FontFont, Monotype, ITC, Bitstream, and Ascender.

Pay Once

As its name implies, you only need to pay once with the Pay Once license – the cost of the license is determined by the estimated monthly pageviews, without additional charges. In the event the traffic to your website increases, simply recalculate the number of pageviews to determine the new cost of your license. This is similar to upgrading a multi-user license when the number of users increases beyond the maximum amount of users allowed by the original license.

Fictional FF Meta use case in a navigation system.
Fictional FF Meta use case in a navigation system.

Mobile App

A Mobile App license grants you the permission to embed a font in an iOS, Android, or Windows Phone app. Some foundries set distribution limits, which means the license allows a maximum number of app downloads. This number is not restricted to one single platform, but can be spread across any mobile platform for which your app is available. If you need more downloads, you can easily increase the distribution limit within the cart. And once you’ve used up your distributions, simply relicense the font. However there is no need to relicense a font when a new version of your app is released: the Mobile App license provides coverage for the entire life cycle of a title.

Electronic Publishing (ePub)

Although they are quite similar, there is a distinct difference between a Desktop license and an Electronic Publishing license. You need the latter to embed a font in an electronic document such as an e-book, an e-magazines, or an e-newspaper. Yet if the font is not embedded but used to create a static image, like the cover of an e-book, you will need a separate Desktop font license. Each Electronic Publishing license is valid for the full operating life of one single title only. This also covers format variations, and updated versions of publications that are issued free to already existing readers. However every new issue of an e-periodical is considered a separate, new publication, as are newly issued versions of existing publications.

Server

Internet-based businesses offering client-specific products, ranging from PDF invoices and visiting cards to images with captions and personalised T-shirts, need an expanded license model. Thanks to the Server license remote users or website visitors can access fonts that are installed on a server. This license however does not allow those users to download the font files, nor may the fonts be used outside the server environment. The Server license does not cover software as service (SaaS) applications, because in these instances the service is not the means of providing a product but becomes the actual product. A Server license is valid for one year, and covers a pre-defined number of CPU cores on production servers that have the font installed. Development servers are not taken into account.