Frutiger 55 was the winner of the crude typo-battle I hosted in my mind this week (I felt really sorry for poor Gill Sans, one of my top-5 of all time). I want to use it for a Web App that is hosted in different client's servers (client buys the app, the app is hosted in their server, although it can be accessed from different regions), and I'm a bit confused about which license is the correct one.

According to Linotype, Frutiger 55 is NZ$ 53.00 for a standard License (maximum of 5 computers at one single geographical location, or a single LAN). Last time I checked, it didn't have a Web version, but it now links to fonts.com, and they say it can be self-hosted and used in an unlimited number of sites.

Which font/License would be the one I need in this case? Since users are not going to have the font installed in their computers, is a web license the right way to go? Or should it be a license per server? This is Linotype's list of desktop licenses, maybe it's the Webserver License? Thanks!

Edit: I'm quite sure it's NOT a Web Server License because the font will be "read only"

Edit: I found some more info on licensing fonts for apps but it only applies to MyFonts.com.

  • Don't feel sorry for Gill Sans. If you're not typesetting signs for the London Underground, ditch it without blinking. It's one of the worst choices for body copy ever. Jun 19, 2012 at 9:59
  • @LaurenIpsum it's only for the titles, and it renders quite well with font-face, which was quite a surprise. But Frutiger renders even better :)
    – Yisela
    Jun 19, 2012 at 20:47
  • @LaurenIpsum: Johnston, not Gill for the LU.
    – e100
    Jul 2, 2012 at 14:55
  • @e100: Yes, that's correct. But Gill is based on Johnston, and I don't believe there is a Johnston font. Jul 2, 2012 at 15:57
  • @LaurenIpsum: fonts.com/font/itc/itc-johnston; p22.com/products/underground.html. Of course, there are other reasons not to use Gill's work (I am aware that Eric Gill worked on the Johnston face also).
    – e100
    Jul 2, 2012 at 16:33

1 Answer 1


After some thoughtful research, I arrived to the discovery that every foundry has its own Licenses, and most of the times, specific ones like those for Apps are not in their FAQs. Probably because they are still deciding on them.

Sites like MyFonts.com, FontBureau and FontFont have Licenses that keep up with these new uses, and I think that's the way it should be for all of them. But it's not the case, so the only way to go is to ask the foundry directly. It's a shame that beautiful classic fonts are in a sort of Licensing limbo for web and apps. Not to mention that foundries are charging fortunes for fonts that have been around for centuries and should, according to common sense and good hearts, be free by now.

I'll update when I have the fonts.com email answer.

  • 1
    +1 for "only way to go is to ask the foundry directly". That's how it's always been, alas.
    – DA01
    Jun 19, 2012 at 4:29
  • 1
    @DA01 I don't know why I thought I would find an association or something like the World Wide Web Consortium that defined "common rules" for typography. Guess it's a different thing, being Licenses. But it would be nice to have an agreement on how to mention the author's name somewhere in the code, for example...
    – Yisela
    Jun 19, 2012 at 4:35
  • 1
    Fonts are like music. It's an industry with many players both at the creation side as well as the distribution side.
    – DA01
    Jun 19, 2012 at 4:38

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