Just a quick question re: making a company logo. I’m doing some web design work for a client who has a company logo that is simply their name typed out in a particular font (not sure what the font is, I’ve only got it as an image file). At TAFE last year, one of my teachers told me that this wasn’t the sort of thing a company should do. From memory he said that it was a legal issue, but it was a while ago and he may have just been talking about it from a design perspective.
So, does anyone know whether or not this does present a potential legal issue for my client?
If your client has legally purchased the font, then he is entitled to use it in his logo, if it is a graphic. What he might most likely not do, is reproduce or redistribute the font in any shape or form which includes editable material such as Flash, image replacement techniques that allow the download of the font file, @font embedding, PDFs, and so on. You’ll have to check the licensing agreement for that particular typeface.
From a design point of view the argument makes little sense to me. Of course you can use type only to create a strong brand.
Most font licenses don’t prevent you from embedding the font in Flash or PDF documents and making use of them (in the same way as graphics) as long as they aren’t redistributable (at least not in the sense of the source files being able to be passed around). This is one problem with @font-face as it requires the actual font’s to be provided on the web (except for IE which uses WEFT that encrypts the font using DRM). Most foundries are getting better about this kind of thing so you could just contact the creator of the font if you really want explicit permission to use it in branding using @font-face, but in general for other uses, it should be fine.