Font license & customer requests

In printing and production, when a customer requests a specific font that is free for personal use, is it the customer’s responsibility to contact the font creator for permission to use? Or is it our responsibility as the company that will be laying out the artwork? We will be printing this through a vendor, but it’s not part of the customer’s branding.

Is this a commercial job? If so, yes, someone will need to contact the font creator to make arrangements. Whether that’s you or your client is up to you and your client. If it were me, I’d bring it up with the client since the agreement (whatever it turns out to be) probably needs to be between the font creator and the client. You, of course, could act as the middleman if your clients wants you to, but depending on your contract with the client, that might entail an additional fee.

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Would you call it a handling fee, or markup, or…?

You need to notify your client that the font will have to be credited or paid for, depending on the terms of the license. You can offer to do this as part of your service to them, but you should tell your client that there will be an additional fee (even if the font use is free with a credit of some kind to the creator, you should charge for the service).

If your clients are like some of mine, their reply may start with the phrase ‘Can’t you just . . .’

Anything that takes time to research includes a fee.
Especially if it involves trying to contact someone for terms that are not immediately available, such as a typeface that says “free for personal use” but offers no recourse for professional use.
Typefaces that are available for pro use with credit by-line are a no-go from the start.

Personally, I’d seek a typeface with a clear pro license rather than waste time trying to find someone hiding under an alias. Same holds true for stock photos/art.

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