Copying a Font?

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driz
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Copying a Font?

Postby driz » Fri Feb 26, 2016 6:29 pm

Hi, I have a certain font that I really like, but it's a corporate-designed font and nobody can use it but the corporation.

1.) Is there a font creation software package that will allow me to input JPG images of this corporate font, make subtle changes to it, and create my "own" font?
2.) Is there anyone on this list who can do this for me, for not a lot of money? :-)
3.) Is there copyright law I can read which describes the legality of modifying and re-using fonts?
4.) I need the font for both website use and desktop/graphic uses.

I've looked hard for a suitable replacement font, but nothing comes close, especially with specific styles (numerals, small "s", small "l", small "g", etc...)

Thanks,
JL

MikeW
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Re: Copying a Font?

Postby MikeW » Fri Feb 26, 2016 8:02 pm

And you think you'll get a different response here?

http://www.talkgraphics.com/showthread. ... y-Own-Font
Last edited by MikeW on Fri Feb 26, 2016 8:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: Copying a Font?

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Fri Feb 26, 2016 8:04 pm

Unless the design is at least 25 years old (more in some jurisdictions) you would probably be violating the copyrights by cloning it from bitmaps. If it's a Corporate font, then it will probably have Trademarks too.

Post a screenshot in the Identifying Fonts forum to get help tracking down a free version that is somewhat similar.

See The Font Forging Industry for one expert opinion.
My FontsReviews: MainTypeFont CreatorHelpFC10.1 Pro + MT7.0 @ Win10

driz
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Re: Copying a Font?

Postby driz » Fri Feb 26, 2016 8:11 pm

Bhikkhu, thanks so much for that. The link is very informative -- just what I was looking for.

driz
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Re: Copying a Font?

Postby driz » Fri Feb 26, 2016 8:48 pm

Bhikkhu, in your opinion, what constitutes a "forgery," and what constitutes a fair-use "similar look?"

How do you make the distinction?

At what point does a font go from "inspired by" to "forgery?"

Are there any objective methods for making this distinction?

Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: Copying a Font?

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Fri Feb 26, 2016 9:03 pm

driz wrote:Bhikkhu, in your opinion, what constitutes a "forgery," and what constitutes a fair-use "similar look?"

How do you make the distinction?

At what point does a font go from "inspired by" to "forgery?"

Are there any objective methods for making this distinction?

There is no "fair use" for Font Designs as with quoting part of a copyrighted work by way of review.

  1. It's a forgery if you simply open the TTF, remove the copyright details and replace it with your own, whether or not you rename the font.
  2. Its a rip-off if you digitally reproduce the font making subtle changes to it.
The safest route is to search for Open Source fonts that permit and encourage modification, but then your work will also have to carry the same license terms. Or you can start with a font design that is in the public domain, due to expiry of design patents.

I am pretty sure that the Corporate font that you want to copy will not fit either of these cases.

If you want to create a font that is your own to use and sell as you wish, then you must create an original design.

Read this article on Palatino for more information about font and design copyrights.
My FontsReviews: MainTypeFont CreatorHelpFC10.1 Pro + MT7.0 @ Win10

driz
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Re: Copying a Font?

Postby driz » Fri Feb 26, 2016 9:15 pm

Bhikkhu,

You are a terrific resource! Thanks so much. Yes, I think we can find a reasonable starting point in the public domain, and modify to something we want. Is that something you do? Maybe we'll hire you!

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Re: Copying a Font?

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Fri Feb 26, 2016 9:33 pm

driz wrote:Maybe we'll hire you!

I don't do commercial work. The only possible way would be to offer me a font that I liked, that was OpenSource, and needed a minimal amount of work to extend its glyph coverage, fix bugs etc., much like what I did with my Balava font (based on Libre Baskerville).
My FontsReviews: MainTypeFont CreatorHelpFC10.1 Pro + MT7.0 @ Win10

PJMiller
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Re: Copying a Font?

Postby PJMiller » Sun Feb 28, 2016 11:47 pm

But when is it close enough to be a copy?

When designing Kelvinch I went for a conventional look, and I did copy features I liked in other fonts (not by copy and paste but by hand and eye). The tail of capital Q comes from your very own Balava font but it also resembles some commercial Baskerville fonts. The capital R comes from the front of a bottle of Mayonnaise of a well known brand but with added serifs, again copied by hand and eye.

It is all my own work but I am aware that the resulting font resembles many oblique square cove fonts, how close does it have to be to one of these before someone calls it a copy? I have not consciously based Kelvinch on any one font.

But I did consciously try to make it look like a conventional font because that is legible and easy to read.

driz
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Re: Copying a Font?

Postby driz » Mon Feb 29, 2016 4:55 pm

If I understand the law correctly, if you flat-out copied another font outline, but then entirely and on your own (in a "clean room" environment) re-established the TT or PS parameters (the "software") that control the vectors of the outlines, you're legal. Font infringement is when you download an existing TT or Adobe font set and use it without acquiring a license. You're generally infringing the software that defines the vectors of the fonts, not the font outline itself.

You can't copyright a font, you can trademark a font name but not the outline, and you can get a design patent on a font outline, but that's rare.


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