Wednesday, October 04, 2006

What is this web page?

I recently delivered a talk to the aTypi, an allliance of typographic designers (Sept 28, 2006). In my talk, I discussed ideas of universality, commonality, and globalism as they relate to the history and current practice of typography. I ended my talk with a discussion of "free fonts," pointing out that most are of poor quality and many are a violation of intellectual property rights. I also talked about the small "free fonts" movement that is aligned with the open source and copyleft movements. While preparing my talk, I set up a web page as well as this blog to get feedback from designers in the type community about the idea of free fonts and whether they could have any redeeming value. Since giving the talk, many people have aired their views on this blog. Thanks for your responses; it has been a fascinating conversation.

As of January 18, 2007, this blog is no longer accepting comments, but I am keeping it up as a record of the conversation.


Anonymous clive said...

Hey, what a great revision:

"What if a few digital type foundries on earth gave away one good typeface as a gift to humanity?"

I can edit that a little better:

"What if a few digital type foundries on earth were already giving away one good typeface as a gift to humanity?"

Hmm, I think that's happening, already. Seems your manifesto really struck a chord and spurred those greedy, lazy type designers into action.

5:43 AM  
Blogger bakert said...

I think this would really take off if one or other of the major browsers implemented support for @font-face. Then the requirement for good, free fonts would explode.

A worthy call to arms. Let's hope some professionals respond positively.

7:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it is a wonderful idea. I have purchased a big amount of fonts, and always felt I was paying way too much for them.

This idea would be good for print design right away, but with the web, we would still need to deal with browsers and the operative systems including these fonts.

But I am all for it!!!

9:35 AM  
Blogger Lupton said...

Let me reiterate, again, that I have never implied that ALL fonts should be free. It is appropriate that we pay for most of our fonts, just as we pay for our food, clothing, and other things of value created by skillful, hard-working people. However, some creative people in many different fields today are interested in producing some content and tools to be used freely within a braod public realm. As Clive points out above, many designers are already giving some of their work away. We may see more being done in the future in the interest of specific social and/or artistic situations.

10:10 AM  
Anonymous Femke said...

Thanks a lot for bringing attention to the topic! I'm glad you are calling attention to the relation between typography and the (global) public domain, and think your Free Font Manifesto brings up many interesting questions.

Maybe you are interested in the interviews we published on our weblog Open Source Publishing / Design Tools for Designers with Pedro Amado (Typeforge) on using open source software in design education and with Brussels' designer Harrisson on typography and open source:
This weblog has other posts by designers discussing free software tools, ideas and methods too.

I also liked your idea about an 'open universal' and look forward to find more responses and further thoughts here soon.

6:53 AM  
Blogger Ellen said...

Thanks, Femke, for your comment and the great link. It's helpful to look at typography within the broader context of publishing.

10:57 AM  
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