Font Licenses & Web Fonts

A reader asks us the following:

"Why do some fonts have a charge to use on websites when they're just standard Microsoft Office fonts?"

Here's our answer:

Most of the famous fonts are still owned by the foundries that created them e.g., Helvetica is issued by Linotype. Felix Titling and was created and is owned by a foundry called Monotype.

Many of the most famous fonts are bundled with operating systems and sometimes pieces of software with a license for the single user. called Felix Titling and was created and is owned by a foundry called Monotype.

This gives us two options:

1. We can specify Felix Titling as the site font and users who have the font installed will see it as intended. There is no charge for this because they are just using the font that they already have installed. The problem is that users who don't have the font installed -- which will be a high percentage -- will be shown a substitution based on what they do have installed. This will mean that the site will look different to different users.

2. We can guarantee that everybody sees the correct font as intended if we use a webfont version of Felix Titling. What this means is that we buy a subscription to the font from Monotype and they will let us embed the font directly in to our webpage. Then when a visitor comes to the site the font is streamed to the user before the page loads and then used on the site for the duration of their visit. This means that every user will see the site with the correct font even if they don't have it installed on their computer. It works very very well although you do pay for the privilege.