Font Licenses and Free Fonts for ePublishing


Choosing a font for a digital publication you should pay attention to a font license in the first place because not every font you like is allowed to use in eMags. (I won’t mention Typekit because it’s a different story)

Every font shop has its rules and license agreements, but they all have the same principle. Usually, a shop offers four main types of licenses:

  • Desktop fonts
  • Webfont, @font-face Embedding
  • Applications
  • eBook (for eBook, eMagazine, eNewspaper, or interactive PDF).

eBook License

Snob Magazine

Fonts in a digital publication are embedded; that is why there is a special license type for them. This license (eBook) is allowed to embed fonts.

What is special about an eBook license?

You have to buy the license for each issue of a magazine, one license = 1 issue or 1 book.

License agreement

Electronic Publication Font licenses are based on the number of titles in which the font is used. For example, if you make 5 eBooks, you need 5 licenses. Each issue of
a magazine, newspaper or other periodical counts as a separate publication. ( #ebook-licensing)

Desktop fonts License

Museo Cyrl 500

When the font is used as an image, for example, a logo, cover, ad banner you should use a font with a desktop license, because the font itself won’t be embedded in the publication

Free Fonts

Not every free font can be used in digital publication, many of them are not allowed for commercial use or for embedding in publication.

Which fonts to use?

1. SIL Open Font License (OFL)

All fonts with a license type OFL may be embedded in any application or publication absolutely for free.

2. If a free font has the different type of license (not OFL), find a paragraph in a license agreement about embedding fonts.

Where to find free fonts for e-Publications?

1. Google Fonts

Google fontsAll these fonts have SIL Open Font License. You can use any font form Google fonts for your digital magazine; it means you can embed them in a publication or use as an image. 

2. Font Squirrel

Font SquirrelFont Squirrel is a resource for free, high-quality, commercial-use fonts. Font Squirrel makes designer’s life easier; it’s not only a great selection of free fonts but also a good interface. Icons helpFont Squirrel quickly understand if the font can be used for ePublication or not.

Font Squirrel

3. Social networks for Designers

Many designers post their portfolio on design social networks (BehanceDribble) and often offer promo free fonts; it’s good opportunity to find the new font for free. Not all promo fonts are free for aPub read an agreement first.Behance

3. Free Font Collections

Different sites, blogs, and FB / Twitter publics (FreeTypographyDafontFontfabric) offer collections of free fonts and post new fonts almost every day. Unfortunately, only small part of them can be used for ePub.

4. Font Shops

Even if it sound strange, nonetheless it’s possible to find free fonts in a shop. Many designers offer promo fonts or allow download some weights for free. web site provides 967 free promo fonts, but most of them don’t have free eBook license, and you can use them only as an image. also allows download free demo fonts and free for ePub.
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