Can designers use fonts with “freeware license” in logo or other design?
Typically come with a EULA / license agreement - it will state it in the license what it can and can’t be used for. If in doubt, contact the creators.
Fonts are software - and as such you never own them, you license the usage of them, even if free.
Most freeware is not free for commercial use. Definitely check the EULA. And good luck finding the creators. I had a project submitted to me for print once where the designer had not gotten permission to use the fonts in a commercial use and as a co-contractor on project development, I had to buy them. I budget 30 minutes to get fonts I don’t have. After 45minutes and several stone walls later (creator website 404’d in multiple URLs) I had to toss it back to the designer. They ended up reworking it with a different typeface.
Sometimes freeware costs a heck of a lot more than you pay for it.
Not to mention, after over 20 years in this business, 10-15% of freeware fonts fail in rip. Even if submitted via PDF. Outlining sometimes work but if the cause of the rip failure is a bad outline, well, at least you might see it before I get it. We’ve had several where all the alternate glyphs dropped out. Another that deleted the letter x wherever it was used. And a few that print all wonky, like they were poorly live traced.
Definitely seen where the font was free for personal use, not commercial and it wasn’t allowed to be embedded in the PDF. You had to buy the commercial license for the allowance of embedding the font in the PDF.
I’m starting to see font licensing that says you can’t make an object-in-space using the outline. I think it’s meant to stop 3D printing of things, but it also is written in a manner that does not allow me to cut it on a CNC to make a sign or a dimensional wall decor thing.