I was a freelance graphic designer for 4 years. I learned a lot in that time including the importance of originality and copyright respect. In the past year of being on Etsy, I have continuously seen people ignoring others rights to property and ideas. It spurs me to be ever so diligent in my creation process; integrity is important to me.

So, when creating my logo and choosing a font for my shop name, I chose a font that was perfect, but not available for commercial use. Honestly, I don’t know why I bother downloading the private use fonts. But I did and I ran into a conundrum. I had already designed everything around that font and was set on using it. Knowing my websites weren’t going to get any attention any time soon, I released it to make sure it’s what I wanted while waiting for an email back from the developer. I don’t recommend this. I was impatient, but more than willing the remove the graphics using the font asap if asked. But really, you should always ask for permission to use private use fonts and graphics before release. ALWAYS.

I value my integrity, to the point of even telling on myself. I hoped to share this with others, so that they may learn from my mistake. I came out the victor in this – they asked for a reasonable donation. But you may run into someone who doesn’t want to allow commercial use, EVER! And that’s okay. There are thousands of fonts out there and a lot of them look alike. With some research and perseverance you may just find something better that is free for commercial use. In this case I didn’t have to, but I was ready to JIC.

  • Always ask for permission to use a private use font or graphic before release.
  • If you don’t know the use policies on a font, google the name of the font. There should be release documentation on the site that hosts it.
  • When in doubt, acknowledge the creator on all sites and documents using the font. (you should do this for all free independent developer fonts anyhow, it’s just polite)
  • When looking for fonts or graphics, only download the ones that are free for commercial use. Graphics can be organized in a file called “Personal Use Only Graphics” if you find one’s you may want to use for a card for your mother, a scrap book page, a personal blog, etc.
  • Fonts are installed on your computer and you cannot know which are “private use only” just from a programs drop down menu. There is no way to organize fonts according to copyright. So, it’s best to just ignore the kick ass fonts you find that are for private use or plan to email for permission every time.

That’s all I can think of for now. I hope this helped. Happy designing.