How exactly does web font licensing work?

I’m just about to get a client’s website live but I still need to obtain the web license for a font that we’re using for headers, landing pages, etc.

At you can purchase a web font license but it’s priced annually per 10k, 25k, 100k views and so on.

I’m confused about this part a bit. How do I know how many views the client’s new website will get? Is there a safe place to find that out based on their old site?

And what if I choose say, the 25k view license and we end up surpassing that? What happens?

Do you need to add any type of CSS or app to the client’s website or can I just merely upload the font file and make sure that my client has proof of their web font license?

Just an update.
I’m not going to bother with licensing a font for client’s web site. It seems like you have to embed something from the distributor on the website that lets them known how many views you get. Sounds a little invasive but maybe I misunderstood.

Anyways, it seems like too much of a hassle to worry about violating the license if get too many views, or over spending on a license for 100K+ views but finding out you’re averaging 3k views a month.

Google fonts it is!

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The code added to the head section of the website instructs the readers’ browsers to temporarily download the fonts from Monotype/MyFonts so their browsers can display them. The fonts are served directly from Monotype’s servers. A record is kept of how many times the fonts are downloaded to people’s browsers.

Google handles web fonts the same way. The main difference is that they don’t charge money. Google also gives website owners the option of hosting the fonts themselves instead of serving them from Google’s servers. Monotype also has this option, but it’s part of a plan intended for larger-traffic websites.

If it’s a new website, all you can do is guess, then adjust accordingly once there are two or three months of traffic. New websites typically don’t get much traffic unless there’s something special about the site driving traffic there.

I dislike licensing fonts based on how many times they’re accessed due to all the reporting/payment hassles that come with it. If you can find what you need on Google Fonts, you’ll skip the uncertainty, the hassle, and the costs. For what it’s worth, I get royalties from people who have licensed my web fonts through Monotype, so I probably shouldn’t complain about it.


Ah, okay. Thanks for explaining how that works (browsers temporarily downling the fonts/records kept, and the payment situation).

I don’t want to give the impression that I’m trying to knock the designers, as I’m happy that they’re getting paid for their work. Especially in an era where it’s so easy for people to pirate other people’s hard work.

I’m curious though: To have your fonts sold through Monotype, does a designer have to agree to the licensing deals (for ex. web fonts/views) or can they tell Monotype how they want their fonts sold? For example, say a designer of a font wants to sell through Monotype but doesn’t care about view counts, just an annual charge of say $26 a year for unlimited views?

I was a little bummed about not being able to use the client’s logo font for the rest of the site’s branding but I think it ultimately worked out for the best. I think a simpler header font is more legible for each section and stands out better against the background images. And as always, restrictions end up being a blessing in disguise, more often than not, as they tend to force more creativity.

Over the past several years, Monotype bought many of the old font foundries and distributors. In doing so, it inherited the various ways these companies handled their relationships with independent font designers.

Recently, Monotype has tried to standardize and consolidate all the licensing and designer agreements. Designers can set prices for fonts, choose how to bundle them and, to an extent, set some of the terms for use.

I can’t remember the details of the latest agreement I signed with them, but they supplied a few incentives to entice me and other font designers to agree to their new standard licensing and distribution agreement, which includes the pricing structure for web fonts. So far, it’s worked out for me, but other font designers complain about it.