What Is A Webfont License and Why Do I Need One?

There are hundreds of thousands of fonts available on the internet. Seriously. Some are free and can be used anywhere and everywhere. But some have been very carefully handcrafted by designers (these are usually the prettiest ones) and have to be purchased either directly from the creator or through a third party site the creator uses, such as Creative Market.

What is a webfont license?

Essentially, a webfont license gives you permission to use the font on your website. In most cases, the webfont license is under $50.

What if I don’t want to pay for a license?

There are literally thousands of free fonts out there that don’t require licenses to use! Showit allows you to use ANY Google font directly within the app – and there are some great choices! We provide a list of free alternatives with ALL of our purchases that require a license.

Can’t I just find it free on google?

We know people do this – but we 10000% do not support it. As a creative, a business, and just as a decent human. How would you feel if someone took your images and used them without permission? Even if you manage to find the font you want for free in the depths of the internet, you are still outright stealing someone’s intellectual property. I’m guessing that if you’ve stumbled across this blog post, you are probably also a creative – this is just in such bad taste. Not to mention….the creator of the font can take legal action against you.

Another thing to note – a lot of these “free font” websites try to trick you into downloading file encryption/archiving programs and who knows what else. It’s usually malware. You’ll see the words “download font here” in large letters, but when you click to download it, you’ll get damaging junk sent straight to your hard drive.

What happens if I use a font without a license?

I’m not a lawyer, but I’ll give you the simple answer – action can be taken against you. There are ways for the creator of the font to search and find what fonts are being used. Yes, you can get caught.

What’s the difference between a desktop license and a web license?

A webfont license is very different from a desktop license. A webfont license gives you permission to embed the font on a website. A desktop license is for use in programs on your actual computer – such as Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Indesign, Photoshop, Canva, etc. This is what you would purchase if you wanted to use that font in your branding materials – logo, business cards, etc. In some cases, you may want both licenses. There are often bundle discounts available if you are purchasing more than one license.

Why not use free fonts all the time?

We try to use free fonts in our templates whenever possible! Sometimes free fonts are just not up to par with some of the paid ones. If there’s a certain look we’re going for (for example, a handwritten script style font), sometimes the only option is to use a font that requires a license. Anytime we DO use a licensed font – we’ll provide you with all necessary info to purchase the license (we choose ones that are usually $30 or less) AND we give you a list of free alternatives (Font Squirrel is THE BEST place to find free fonts!)

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