Typeface Licensing at Coppers and Brasses.

Haven’t mastered legalese yet? This is for you.

Étienne Aubert Bonn
4 min readJun 23, 2022

Typeface licensing sometimes might seem complicated, but it really isn’t.
Let’s try to explain it as simply as possible.

What is a typeface license and why do I need one?

To use a typeface, you need to own a license. That’s right, you don’t actually purchase the typeface, you purchase a License to use the typeface.
This license defines what you can and can’t do with the typeface. All the details are stated in the EULA, the End User License Agreement. The EULA is a legally binding document that you need to agree to before completing the purchase of the license.

A Wild EULA appeared!

Here’s how our new license works.

We recently changed the way our licensing functions. Our licensing is now all based on the extracted value a client gets from the use of the typeface.

How do we calculate this? The only metric we are looking for is the total amount of employees at the company that extracts the value from the typeface. If you are a design studio, advertising agency, etc., that company would be your client. If you are a designer working internally at the company, that would be the total amount of employees working at your company.

The total amount of employees working for a company is the simplest way for us to estimate that company’s size and therefore the value they extract from the typeface’s use.

Let’s go back in time to understand this a bit better.

The way licensing used to work was that the design studio, advertising agency, etc., purchased a license for themselves and produced work for the client using this license. Basically, they were the licensee.

Desktop licenses used to be calculated by the amount of computers the typeface was installed on. This came with its load of problems and grey areas… What if we need to install the typeface on our internal server? how do you define how many computers have access to the typeface then? What if a small company hired a huge advertising agency to work on their campaign? Were they getting penalized because the license was more expensive because of the size of the agency? How about the reverse, where a tiny design studio has a huge international client? Was the foundry then getting the short end of the stick because the value extracted from the typeface was much greater than the license purchased by the small studio?

So how does it work now?

Licensing based on the client’s total amount of employees allows these discrepancies to disappear. The total employee amount is also the simplest way of estimating a company’s size and value. This means that every employee counts, not just the designers.

Every employee counts towards that number, not only the ones using the typeface.

Your client has 3 welders, 6 mechanics, 2 delivery drivers, 1 janitor, 3 logistics specialists, 2 secretaries, 1 accountant, 2 engineers and 2 directors? That’s 22 employees. Good for them! Their license has to reflect that amount.

Simply put, the end client is now always the licensee. If you are a design studio or advertising agency, you recommend the typeface to your client who then proceeds to the purchase of the appropriate license, either directly with us or through you (with the proper approbations of course). The client is now the licensee and has to be stated as such on the license.

How can my studio work on a project for the client if we don’t have a license then?

Here is where it becomes much simpler than before. The licensee can allow subcontractors to use the fonts on their behalf! This means that the licensee can hire many different studios to work on their projects and only require a single license! Of course, subcontractors are only allowed to work on the clients projects with this license.

*1—The designer recommends the typeface to the client. *2—The client purchases the appropriate license from the foundry. *3—The foundry delivers the font files and the license to the client. *4—The client allows the designers to use the font files as subcontractors.

If another one of your clients wants to use the same typeface for their project, They will of course need a license of their own.

That’s all good, but I heard something about Webfonts licensing? You know, for the internet?

That is also the beauty of our new licensing model. It includes Desktop uses, web uses and app uses all in a single license. No need to track views per month, downloads or anything. Just a single license to rule them all. I told you it wasn’t complicated!

Read the license.

Of course, this is just a simplification of our licensing terms. The real ones, the binding ones, are all stated in our EULA. You will have to agree to it if you want to purchase a license. Might as well read it! We tried to keep it as “human readable” as possible and it isn’t much longer than this vulgarization anyway.


If you still have any questions about our licensing model, drop us a line at hello@coppersandbrasses.com and we’ll be happy to help you.