Are Your Blog Fonts Legal?


I had never thought much about the fonts that I use on this blog for my blog design and graphics.  If I could get a font for free somewhere, I was just excited about it!  I pinned all the images with cool font pairings and downloaded some of them to use in graphics for my posts.  Who doesn't love a free cute font, right?

Then last week I read this post on font types at Pink Heels Pink Truck and I don't know why I never thought about it before, but obviously there are people who created these free fonts.  And they may only want them to be used in a certain way.

Taylor does a great job of explaining the different font license types, so I won't re-do that here - please go read her post.  But the bottom line is this:

If you advertise on your blog, you need to use fonts that are free for commercial use.  

If are advertising on your blog and you have used fonts that are only marked free for personal use, then you need to purchase a commercial license.

Talk about a nightmare!  Back when I created the majority of the graphics that are on my blog I was not advertising on my blog - so it was fine to use fonts that were free for personal use.  But earlier this year I started advertising with Blogher and selling sidebar ads - so all those fonts that require a commercial license that I used in the past needed to be fixed!  

I spent two long nights going back and changing all the fonts I could find on my blog that were not free for personal use, and purchasing a commercial license for a few of the ones I used heavily.  Thankfully most of the ones I had used in the past were already either free for commercial use or the commercial license was pretty inexpensive - but I still had to change a lot of my graphics and it took forever!  

You want to know the one that really hurt?  I've been using a font called "Before The Rain" for the watermark on all my pictures for the last few years.  I knew I was going to have to buy the commercial license for that one, because there is no way I could realistically go back and edit all those pictures with a new watermark.  Well, the commercial license for "Before The Rain" cost $60!  Yes, $60!  Ouch.  There goes all my ad profits for the last few months.

In the process of researching all my fonts, I found a website that has only fonts that are free for commercial use, called Font Squirrel.  You can try to research the licensing information for every font you want to use (trust me, it can take some searching for some of them), or you can just get all your fonts from Font Squirrel.  They include a file with each font that gives the specifics of each font license, and most of them are fine for commercial use on blogs (though you should still read the individual licenses to make sure). 

So blogging PSA:

If you advertise on your blog, or you think you might advertise on your blog at some point in the future, make sure all the fonts that you use on your blog are free for commercial use

You'll save yourself a lot of work, money, and stress later on if you do.

(Click on image for more posts in this series.)

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Jessica Elyse @ Memoirs of a Mommy said...

Yes! This is a huge problem I started facing when I started up my card business. I had been doing it for fun and free for so long, but when I switched to making profit I had to go back and purchase those fonts, etc. What a nightmare, but definitely worth it. Thanks for sharing FontSquirrel. I will have to check it out.

Unknown said...

Great post!! Thanks for the heads up! I love your blog design, by the way

Heather @ Simple Wives said...

I didn't know that about Font Squirrel. Thanks for sharing!

Amanda said...

Interesting! As a graphic designer, I know about font licenses, but I never even thought about how putting ads on your blog would mean you need fonts for commercial use. Thanks for teaching me something new!

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