Sunday, May 15, 2022

Saturday, May 14, 2022


For the typefaces used in the interior of our Arachis Press books, we are scrupulous about using only fonts for which we have a license. This means—in our case—the Bitstream typefaces licensed via our software and an assortment of ‘free’ fonts. There are free faces that are quite satisfactory and entirely professional; we have mentioned before the free pack donated by URW++ to the Ghostscript project and that one could do a perfectly good job with nothing else.

But then there are covers. If one converts ones cover file to a graphic (as we do—we upload high definition PNGs to our printer), one can get away with using unlicensed fonts. It is when we embed those typefaces in PDFs (or other file formats) that we run into legal questions.

Now we’ll admit that a small publisher (or self-publisher) probably won’t be called out for this but it is best to be safe. And legal! Therefor, we do keep a number of fonts on hand (or on computer, we should say) that we would not use for interior layout but can be handy for cover design. These are, of course, primarily ‘display’ fonts that one might not use for interior text anyway.

The self-publisher who uses Canva (or a similar cover generator) needn’t worry about any of that. Any licensing is taken care of already. Similarly, ebooks (other than PDFs) should not be problematic; we simply specify ‘serif’ for the type in our EPUBs and allow the reader to choose the font they prefer.

Incidentally, we should mention that Microsoft’s fonts are not free to use in your books, even if they are included in your copy of Windows. And Times New Roman should not be used in a commercial release without paying for it—though we don’t know why anyone would want to.

So we have used Dutch 766, Bitstream’s copy of Imprint, in our books but we would not use the Imprint MT Shadow that came with Windows. Not as part of the interior text. On a cover? Maybe someday, if it is needed.