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Five Font Distribution Best Practices Cheat Sheet (DRAFT) by [deleted]

Five Font Distribution Best Practices

This is a draft cheat sheet. It is a work in progress and is not finished yet.


Think of font distri­bution as a process. Not only does it keep your fonts organized and effici­ently distri­buted, it also helps you maintain the approp­riate number of font licenses by helping track which fonts are author­ized, purchased, shared (with approp­riate team members), and reviewed.

Legal concerns regarding font licensing. Without a controlled distri­bution and system of font access, unlicensed fonts can gain easy access into your organi­zation or even worse, custom fonts could be released into the wild. All of which could potent­ially lead to a lawsuit.

1. Oganize your font collection

We recommend organizing your teams by workgr­oups. Workgroups are groups of fonts and users. Basically, you give a specific number of users access to specific fonts. Below are three common methods to choose from.

User Type: user types may vary, but we commonly hear about editorial, design, and production user types. These different groups have different needs and will use fonts for different reasons so it makes sense for some organi­zations to divide their font teams by user type.

Client: Every client is unique and so are the fonts they are using. For example, Times New Roman was built specif­ically for the Times of London. Companies want a specific brand identity and they can do this by creating and commis­sioning their own typeface, or selecting groups of fonts that most effect­ively represent their brand.

Project: Just like each client is unique, so is each project. However, since projects don’t have to be client specific, sometimes grouping by project makes more sense.

2. Set up compliance using permis­sions

One of the easiest ways to be compliant and avoid piracy issues is to set up user permis­sions. Instead of a whole department or company having access to certain fonts, only people who need rights to particular fonts have permission to use them. Permis­sions ensure your company is following branding guidelines and avoiding even inadve­rtent piracy because users can only use approved and/or purchased fonts that they have access to.

3. Choose roles

Who is going to be choosing, purcha­sing, and uploading fonts into your system? Is it your Lead Graphic Designer? Is it someone in your IT depart­ment? Having a key person who is in charge of this process helps you avoid a guessing game that can lead to problems.

4. Track font licenses and usage

When you’re managing the distri­bution of your fonts, you can gain a level of control over font compli­ance. You have direct access into who has access to your fonts, and how many users are activating them. This helps ensure you have the right number of licenses for your actual usage and lets you make improved future font purchasing decisions – remember when we discussed saving time and money? This is your ticket to doing just that. Keeping track of all this can be a huge challenge, but font management software can help you.

5. Right enterprise font management software:

Having reliable, robust font management software to save time, money, and maintain license compliance is key to making font distri­bution possible and succes­sful. Look for a solution that has a dashboard allowing you to easily compare fonts side by side. Check for the ability to search for a font by specific type and set up user permis­sions by work groups. Make sure reports are available so you are able to see if more font licenses need to be purchased or scaled back for future use.