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Are You Committing A Type Crime?

The article Print Vs. Web Fonts has made me much more aware of what fonts I use for web pieces, whether it’s for a page on a website, mobile device or an eNewsletter. Print and web fonts for a specific typeface may look very similar but have some subtle differences that make a huge impact on a viewer’s readability.

These differences may include:

  • Taller X-height (distance between the baseline and middle line in a typeface)
  • Reduced Ascenders (portion of a letter that extends above the middle line) and/or Descenders
    (portion of a letter that extends below the middle line)
  • Wider Letter Forms
  • More Open Counters (counters are the enclosed or partially enclosed negative space (white space)
    of a letter, such as d, b or a)
  • Heavier Thin Strokes (lines that make up a letter) and Serifs (line attached to end of the stroke)
  • Reduced Stroke Contrast
  • Adjusted Curves/Angles (when needed, to help transitioning the previous changes made)
  • More Open Spacing (very important when using small font sizes)

But are these misguided usages of fonts a crime only because of legibility, or also because of legality? Many people don’t realize that a lot of fonts only have rights for usage in print materials. There is specific licensing when using fonts; this includes a licensing agreement for desktop fonts (used for print) and a licensing for web/digital fonts.

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