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I am planning to use the font Segoe UI (Included with Vista/Windows 7 and Office products) in my new businesses logo and website. I've tried my hardest to find out if/who to license this font from and was hoping anyone more experienced could give me some advice.

I've found this page on Microsoft's site that has links to license the font but it doesn't look the same font (its called Segoe UI mono on the linked site).

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7 Answers 7

The MS page you references quite clearly says that Ascender Corporation licenses these fonts on behalf of various vendors (Agfa Monotype, in this case). The MS link is confusing, because it links to Segoe UI Mono, not Segoe UI. Search the Ascender site using the handy search box in the upper right corner.

In the list of fonts shipped with Win7 you'll find Segoe UI v5.01 with a "License" link. Click that, and fill in the online form. Or just click the same link on the Mono page. It's the same web form either way.

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No the link I provided was to "Segoe UI". Clicking the "purcahse & download" link = "Unfortunately Microsoft has not made the font you selected available for download at this time." and clicking the "license Segoe UI font" results in the mono version page. Cheers for the sarcasm, I obviously (roll eyes) didn't try the search box. Which results in only mono fonts being listed. –  Phil Aug 6 '11 at 9:43
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Phil, I'm not known for sarcasm. It might surprise you how many people would not see a search box. I used it and found the non-mono Segoe fonts immediately. –  Alan Gilbertson Aug 7 '11 at 1:17
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I am not a lawyer (I just play one on TV)...but if you don't ascertain the licensing of a font, or any piece of content, then don't use it.

That being said, typically operating system fonts are only allowed for use by developers in creating their own apps, in screenshots for external documentation, and similar OS-related uses.

In addition, an operating system font is optimized for use on screen in software and not for print use.

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Many of the system fonts are quite well designed...for both print and on-screen use. Typically, system fonts are licensed to you by ways of purchasing a license to the OS. –  DA01 Aug 17 '11 at 20:13
    
"allowed for use by developers in creating their own apps". Not the case if you need to embed the font in your app. To do this, you need a special license to do so. However, you can take screenshots, create logos, etc to your heart's content. –  thomasrutter Oct 12 '12 at 0:40
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I'd have said that an OS font is usable even in commercial uses - well provided you don't distribute it or embed it in software. I know nonetheless that if you get a font on Doze you can't install it on your Mac, you'd need to license it to install it on a Mac.

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Your first point is correct - a font license cannot restrict what artwork you create with the font (and whether you sell that artwork or not), it can only cover the font itself, including obtaining/redistribution/copying/modification of the font. This means, however, you can't embed the font on a web site without a specific license to do so. –  thomasrutter Oct 12 '12 at 0:36
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I contacted the Microsoft website, and I was told that Segoe UI is not available for use on non-Windows operating systems. I'm still looking for a Mac-friendly proportional typeface close enough for mockups.

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Since you have a Mac, why not use Myriad? It's almost the same font. –  thomasrutter Oct 12 '12 at 0:39
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Sorry, I've just done a Google search and it appears as though even though Apple use Myriad extensively for marketing and logos, it doesn't appear to be included as a font on the Mac. But it is, however, bundled with Photoshop and other Adobe products so you probably have it. –  thomasrutter Oct 12 '12 at 0:46
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Why not use a site such as MyFonts.com. Here you can purchase legal license for your need, and get a good quality font together with a web-font version you can use on your site.

They have optical searches too so you can probably find a font similar to Segoe.

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Segoe UI is not for sale, and only available pre-packaged with certain Microsoft products. Therefore, if you don't have it already, buying a copy of Windows 7 would be a legitimate way of obtaining Segoe UI for use on the computer you install it on.

Once you have a legitimate copy of the font in your possession, feel free to use it to create whatever graphics or designs you like, including your logo. (Fonts are licensed like software, so a font license does not specify what you can do with artwork produced using the font, just as Photoshop's license doesn't specify what you can do with artwork produced using Photoshop; as long as you legally are entitled to have the font installed on your computer, you can produce any artwork you like with it).

However, embedding the font (such as by including it on a website with @font-face) would require an additional license because it would involve making and distributing a copy of the font (and providing the font file to other people's computers) which most certainly is restricted and subject to the license of the font. And you won't be able to buy such a license because Segoe UI is not available for this.

Therefore, for online or any other embedded use (such as in a PDF document, when embedding the font), I'm afraid you'll have to look for a substitute font instead.

You could if you wanted to, specify "Segoe UI" as the first choice in your CSS stack, as many people will have the font pre-installed by virtue of it being included in Windows.

For fallback, you could license any font that bears a similarity to Segoe UI (which in turn bears similarity to both Frutiger and Myriad). Or you could go for a free alternative. The font M+ 2p is a free font that's an alternative to Frutiger and/or Segoe (sample here).

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I know this is an old question but still quite interesting too see that Microsoft decided not to either opensource their fonts or make them available for purchase. Unfortunately, even now it is not possible to legally use any of the Segoe UI or Segoe WP family fonts in your own materials (commercially or otherwise), it is also impossible to take the ones installed with the Windows OS and make a web fonts out of them (I tried with FontSquirrel and they are on the block list) and even if you succeeded in doing that you'd be violating the license.

So there's currently no way to use them legally in your stationery or consistently use them on web.

Other than that, I don't find those fonts anything special except for Segoe UI Light which truly is a gorgeous font, which I wanted to use a lot but as said, failed in doing so.

That's why I came up with a list of free/opensource alternatives and I publish it here for future reference and use by others.

Segoe UI Light alternatives

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Direct link to download or are they on google fonts or something? –  Phil Jun 7 '13 at 15:57
    
most of them can be found with a simple Google search, actually yes most of them are on Google Web Fonts except for Mission Gothic –  mare Jun 7 '13 at 16:13
    
This answer conflicts with the answer of thomasrutter. Can you back up your statement why I would not be allowed to use Segoe UI Light on my stationary, or, say, company word template? –  Zalumon Aug 5 '13 at 18:35
    
thomasrutter is right about the stationery, you can use it as you like but it's different if you'll use it online. Since often you will want to use the font you have in stationery also online, it would make sense to pick a font which allows you to use it online (which with Segoe you cannot). Also, to be able to use it in Word templates, every computer using the template will have to have the font installed. If you want to send your stationery to someone, you will have to attach the fonts too but again with Segoe you lack the permission to do so. Unless he's using Windows/Office too. –  mare Aug 8 '13 at 17:39
    
in short, I'd never pick a font for my stationery which has such a restrictive licensing terms because you're bound to run into issues with licensing in the future –  mare Aug 8 '13 at 17:42
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