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I'm working with a client who has requested I send them the font file I'm using. The fonts are Athelas Regular, Italic, Bold, and Italic Bold.

The files were included (I think) with Photoshop. I assume that means I can use them in my own work, but not distribute the file itself?

The person I'm working for is sending it in to a very picky newsletter with very specific guidelines, and one of them is that they need the font and photo files separate of the .pdf sent in "in case they need to redo the ad completely"

This is what they sent me: "We just ask that the font be included in the package that’s submitted with the ad in case the printer doesn’t have the same font and needs to recreate the ad for any reason. Fonts also sometimes appear differently on different computer screens. The font files can usually be found in the control panel on a PC; I think they’re in a similar location on a Mac."

The budget for the entire project is less than the font licenses. So: Is it legal / morally ok for me to include the font files to them?

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The client can request the fonts all they want, but in most cases you do not have the legal right to give provide them. Essentially every commercial font license is going limit the use of the font to you, and forbid passing it of to someone else.

Printers will request the fonts all the time, and most people provide them. The letter of the agree says you cannot do it though.

In your case, it's a photoshop file, and you're supplying a PSD. Just send the PSD as is. The printer will not need the font unless they want to alter the text layers themselves.

  • Depends some font licenses, for example this explicitly allows you to send a copy to your chimerical printer. Read your licenses carefully. For example adobe does this (see 14.7.3 of their license). But it only applies to printing not editing the file and i must admit that their language is very opaque. – joojaa Dec 7 '16 at 7:59
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The solution is simply to convert the fonts to curves.

Sometime ago was a common practice to include fonts in a package, because it reduced file sizes, but now days some megabytes more does not matter, and people are more aware of licencing fonts.

Other case is to embed the fonts inside the pdf. If the font permit it you simply can do that. If the font does not you simply convert them to curves.

Do not send the fonts to the client. He might be tempted to start using them in the company.

You can also send them some free alternative, for example from google fonts.

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    Unfortunately, they've specifically asked me to include the font files separately from the psd. Do I just have to say I can't do that, but that they can buy their own font license if they want? – Erty Seidohl Nov 29 '16 at 18:32
  • Yeap. You probably can facilitate them with some links so they do not think you are being elusive. – Rafael Nov 29 '16 at 18:33
  • There is a chance he will find some "free font" site and download them ignoring the licence type. But that is his responsability. – Rafael Nov 29 '16 at 18:42
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It's a complicated question, with multiple facets.

If it's okay to use the font for the client's project, it's okay to send it to the printer. The printshop only needs it to print the client's project.

However, as the designer, you would normally send the needed files directly to the printer - not to the client to send to the printer.

Does the client have the right to use it?

If it's in your Photoshop, it's on your system. How did it get there?

And why would the printer need to completely redesign the ad? If you created a print-worthy ad and the client signed off, a pdf should work well. And/or as Rafael said, create the type to outlines.

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