Home

Contact Us

General

Initiative B@bel

WSI Guidelines

Encoding

Principles

Unicode

Training

Tutorials

PUA

Conversion

Resources

Utilities

TECkit

Maps

Resources

Input

Principles

Utilities

Tutorials

Resources

Type Design

Principles

Design Tools

Formats

Resources

Font Downloads

Gentium

Doulos

IPA

Rendering

Principles

Technologies

OpenType

Graphite

Resources

Font FAQ

Links

Glossary


NRSI: Computers & Writing Systems

SIL HOME | SUPPORT | DONATE

You are here: Rendering > Resources > Font FAQ
Short URL: http://scripts.sil.org/FontFAQ_use

Using SIL Fonts in Documents and Publications – FAQ

Question: May I use SIL fonts in a document I plan to distribute in PDF format, or in a book I am publishing?

Answer: Please feel free to use SIL fonts in printed publications and PDF documents, including PDF documents posted on web pages. Such use is within the intended use of SIL fonts. No additional license or fee is required to use the fonts in a printed publication.

Many SIL fonts have been released under the SIL Open Font License. If you wanted to distribute SIL fonts not released under the Open Font License, you would need an OEM license.



Note: If you want to add a response to this article, you need to enable cookies in your browser, and then restart your browser.

Note: the opinions expressed in submitted contributions below do not necessarily reflect the opinions of our website.

 Reply
"Larry", Wed, Mar 3, 2010 17:59 (EST)

Font use in digital images

Would use of these fonts in digital images be within their intended use as well, and no license fees would have to be paid?

 Reply
martinpk, Fri, Mar 5, 2010 08:48 (EST) [modified by martinpk on Fri, Mar 5, 2010 08:51 (EST)]

Re: Font use in digital images

Yes, that's correct; this is within their intended use, and no fee is required.

 Reply
"Lee", Tue, Sep 13, 2011 08:30 (EDT)

Use of SIL fonts in phsical print-outs

Two questions:

1) Would use of SIL fonts in a physical print-out, that is creation of a 3 dimensional object, such as produced by Shapeways, be allowed, with no additional license or fee incurred? Please note that for a physical print-out to be made, the file provided to Shapeways would include a mesh which would be derived from the font. An example would be a medallion with text on it. The text mesh would be produced by typing some text in Inkscape, saving out as an SVG file, loading said SVG file into Blender, converting SVG text to mesh then extrude into 3d. This would then be saved as a mesh file, which is uploaded to Shapeways for print-out (in metal or plastic) and sale for profit to the public. Sorry for the lengthy explanation, but I thought it better to be explicit about the process and goals.

2)Since it is not possible to include a credit for the author of the font in the mesh file uploaded to Shapeways, would accreditation on a web site, or possibly the storefront of the seller at Shapeways surffice?

 Reply
martinpk, Tue, Sep 13, 2011 09:22 (EDT) [modified by martinpk on Wed, Sep 14, 2011 04:11 (EDT)]

Re: Use of SIL fonts in phsical print-outs

Hi Lee! Yes: this usage is covered by our licenses (and no fee is required), and we don't require a credit for font usage. If you want to send us an image of the design or product (see e-mail address at the foot of this page), we're always interested to see how our fonts are used. Hope your project goes well!

--Peter, NRSI.

 Reply
"Carlos", Wed, Jun 27, 2012 10:25 (EDT)

about comercial use

Hi! I think I have it clear, but just in case ...

I want to use the fonts for commercial use in logos, brochures, posters, etc.. I will not sell or distribute, or modify fonts.

I can do it without problems?

Thanks.

 Reply
martinpk, Thu, Jun 28, 2012 02:55 (EDT)

Re: about comercial use

Hi Carlos,

Yes, these are all permitted uses. Go ahead and use them in commercial publications. All the best!

--Peter, NRSI

 Reply
"Lisa", Thu, Sep 6, 2012 08:42 (EDT)

Use for Broadcast

These fonts are licensed for commercial use, non-profit use, web and apps, and print? Does the OFL license also apply to Broadcast television? If so, does this apply to international broadcast distribution?

Thanks.

 Reply
martinpk, Thu, Sep 6, 2012 08:54 (EDT)

Re: Use for Broadcast

Yes, the OFL license permits international broadcast usage too. We hope you find them useful!

Peter

 Reply
"Lisa", Thu, Sep 6, 2012 08:58 (EDT)

Use for Broadcast

Thanks for your quick response.

-Lisa

 Reply
"TM", Tue, Oct 2, 2012 16:24 (EDT)

Fonts us on web server

We produce printed items that our customer designs on our website. The customer creates their design using their own text and selects from a list of fonts. Our server renders a preview of their design along with their text in their chosen font(s) and then the customer places the order. We then use the design created by the customer and print his product. Can we use these fonts for this purpose with no additional license?

 Reply
martinpk, Wed, Oct 3, 2012 04:49 (EDT)

Re: Fonts us on web server

Yes, you can use our fonts in that context without any additional license. Enjoy! --Peter

 Reply
"Matt Mayfield", Tue, Oct 16, 2012 13:41 (EDT)

Crediting the font in a document

When using a font such as Gentium in a book, what's the correct/preferred way to attribute it?

Something like...?

Gentium font used under the SIL Open Font License

 Reply
stephanie_smith, Wed, Nov 28, 2012 11:00 (EST) [modified by stephanie_smith on Wed, Nov 28, 2012 11:18 (EST)]

Re: Crediting the font in a document

You are not obligated to attribute an OFL font when you use it in a book or other document, but if you would like to, the wording suggested in the question would be fine. You may also want to include the short URL given at the top of each font's home page, to help others locate the font easily.

All the best!

Stephanie

 Reply
"Phil R", Sun, Sep 1, 2013 15:02 (EDT)

Clohting Line

I want to use a SIL font for my clothing line and my logo. Is this permitted??

 Reply
stephanie_smith, Tue, Sep 3, 2013 04:34 (EDT)

Re: Clohting Line

Yes, you are welcome to use fonts licensed under the SIL OFL for this purpose.

All the best,

-Stephanie

 Reply
"K13uckley", Thu, Jan 9, 2014 09:38 (EST)

Comerical comapany

I was wondering if you would be able to tell me if i could use a SIL font in particular 'Grand Hotel' on a big commercial Global company?

 Reply
stephanie_smith, Tue, Jan 14, 2014 04:27 (EST)

Re: Comerical comapany

Hi,
Fonts released under the SIL OFL are licensed for commercial use.
Please refer to our licensing FAQs at http://scripts.sil.org/OFL-FAQ_web for a full explanation of the terms of the license, or contact us as if you have questions about particular aspects of your intended use.
Stephanie

 Reply
"Dare", Fri, Jun 6, 2014 09:47 (EDT)

Using for vectors

Can I use the SIL OFL fonts (SIL Open Font License v1.10) in vector artworks that are sold for commercial use. Fonts are not embedded in .eps files, but outlines of some used letters are part of the file. Does used outlines in a vector file are treated as part of the font software?

Attribution isn’t possible. Can I use these fonts for this purpose with no additional license or fee?

 Reply
stephanie_smith, Wed, Jun 11, 2014 03:54 (EDT)

Re: Using for vectors

Hi,

You are welcome to use vector outlines of SIL OFL licensed fonts for commercial purposes. No attribution is neccessary.

Please refer to the FAQs page at http://scripts.sil.org/OFL-FAQ_web for more information.

Best wishes,

Stephanie

 Reply
"John Davis", Tue, Nov 18, 2014 09:36 (EST)

microstock usage

I'm selling my photos in istock and some other mictostock sites. Can i use SIL licensed fonts in 3d render images or my photos?

 Reply
martinpk, Mon, Nov 24, 2014 03:28 (EST)

Re: microstock usage

Hi,

Yes, you are welcome to use SIL OFL licensed fonts for commercial purposes. No attribution is necessary.

Please refer to the FAQs page at http://scripts.sil.org/OFL-FAQ_web for more information.

Best wishes,

Peter

 Reply
"Hong", Wed, Jan 28, 2015 00:17 (EST)

Use for Logo design for my client

Hi,

Would like to ask that recently I'm designing a logo for my client and he want to use the Coustard and Dancing Script font for his logo and this two font are under Licensed as SIL Open Font License - OFL (Free for Commercial Use)

Actually I am confused by SIL Open Font License.

Am I able to use this font as apart of a logo?

Do I and my client need to pay for the license fee?

Thanks.

 Reply
martinpk, Fri, Jan 30, 2015 06:19 (EST) [modified by martinpk on Fri, Jan 30, 2015 06:20 (EST)]

Re: Use for Logo design for my client

Hi Hong,

You're welcome to use OFL-licensed fonts for logos, and there is no fee to pay.

This question is addressed in the OFL FAQ: see http://scripts.sil.org/cms/scripts/page.php?site_id=nrsi&id=OFL-FAQ_web#c26665c2

All the best with your project,
Peter

 Reply
"Jake", Sat, Feb 7, 2015 10:54 (EST)

SIL Open Font License, 1.1

Hi there,

I wish to use a font that is licensed under SIL Open Font License, 1.1 in my mobile application which distributed in the app store (iTunes, Google Play etc). However, in the FAQ 1.1-update4, Question: 1.1.2, it states that it is not required to mention the font name, artist, etc in my work. But in Question: 1.20, it says if you bundle a font in the mobile app, you will need to include the copyright statement, the license notice and the license text. I'm just wondering does using the font (under SIL Open Font License, 1.1) in my mobile application (as text and graphics) consider as "bundle", should I include the font artist information in my mobile app? As it's rather confusing in both Question: 1.1.2 and 1.2.0. Hopefully someone could explain it to me. Thank you. :)

 Reply
spalingern, Mon, Feb 9, 2015 08:06 (EST)

Re: SIL Open Font License, 1.1

Hi Jake,

Thanks for getting in touch with us about using an open font under the OFL in your app for mobile platforms.

There are a few aspects to keep in mind:

This may seem obvious but, if you are simply using graphics with text elements rendered from the outlines of the font that you have prepared earlier, then you are not bundling the font file itself into your app, you are simply using the font in the usual way and bundling the resulting graphical assets. You are very welcome to do this and you do not need any acknowledgement or propagation of authorship information. You remain the author and copyright holder of these derived graphical assets. Authors using the OFL for their font explicitly allow you to do that.

If you just bundle the original font (the font software) without modifying it then yes, you are also very welcome to do this; the OFL is explicitly designed to allow that even for restricted closed source software that you sell. You are not required to include the full release package of the font in your software (including OFL.txt, font source, documentation and so on), you can just put the font file you need in your source tree, but you should keep any copyright and licensing notices inside the font file itself intact.

To reformulate what section 1.20 of the FAQ is saying: you can bundle an OFL font but you can't strip away any authorship information and go out of your way to hide where it is coming from and that it is released under an open license. While not a strict requirement, an acknowledgement of the name of the font, its author(s) and the corresponding copyright and license with clickable links to their original webpages is usually appreciated in the About box of your software (or where you put other acknowledgement information such as other third-party libraries or assets you have used, or the changelog). It's easily done and doesn't take much space. This is quite common with many mobile apps nowadays.

Note that the font itself will remain under the OFL, but the app as a whole can be licensed however you wish.

You need to be aware that users who get your app are legally entitled to extract the font, reuse and redistribute it further under the terms of the OFL, even if your app is closed source.

However, if you modify the font to adapt it to the specific needs of your app (like adding extra styles or weights, removing character for size constraints, adding new characters for wider language support, or converting to different formats) then you are making a derivative version for which you need to pick your own font name (carefully respecting any Reserved Font Names declared by the previous authors). This is to make a clear distinction between your derivative version and the original version of the font and prevent any confusion for users. You cannot remove any existing copyright notices but only add your own afterwards to cover your modifications. You may also wish to contact the author(s) of the font directly and ask for help or expertise to make the modifications you need.

I hope this is clearer.

Wishing you success with your app.

Let us know if you have more questions.

Nicolas

 Reply
"Martina", Sun, Mar 22, 2015 19:38 (EDT)

Re: SIL Open Font License, 1.1

Are you sure about this, I do not have to include the license (.txt) file in the game/app itself?

 Reply
spalingern, Mon, Mar 23, 2015 07:06 (EDT)

Re: SIL Open Font License, 1.1

yes, I am pretty sure :-)

In short: you are allowed to just bundle the original font file you want inside your closed-source for-profit app, without all the other files of the release (like .txt files or documentation). An acknowledgement with name and link to the font website in your About box is good form and a nice gesture to the generous typeface designer but not legally required. The authorship information stays inside the font metadata in case someone later on extracts it. If you make a derivative version you need to pick your own name.

Is this clearer?

 Reply
"Martina", Mon, Mar 23, 2015 11:33 (EDT)

Re: SIL Open Font License, 1.1

Thank you, thank you very much :) I know this is the wrong place to ask but I have not find a solution yet.. is it the same for the Apache license? O_o

 Reply
spalingern, Mon, Mar 23, 2015 13:06 (EDT)

Re: SIL Open Font License, 1.1

You should really contact the Apache Software Foundation to get a definitive answer :-)

 Reply
"Michelle ", Wed, Mar 18, 2015 15:46 (EDT)

Modifying fonts for a logo

Hello,

I've just one question about your SIL OFL License. I'm using it in a client logo, but have modified (rounded corners) to fit with the look and feel of the brand. Is that allowed?

 Reply
martinpk, Thu, Mar 19, 2015 05:50 (EDT)

Re: Modifying fonts for a logo

Hi Michelle! Yes, that's fine. All the best with the project!

 Reply
spalingern, Mon, Mar 23, 2015 07:08 (EDT)

Re: Modifying fonts for a logo

Yes, it's only if you modify the font itself (and redistribute it to your client) that you have to pick your own different name.

 Reply
"D", Tue, Apr 28, 2015 10:25 (EDT)

Modifying Font for Logo and Commercial Purposes

Hi there,

Is it okay if a SIL OFL font is modified somewhat and used for a logo for a commercial business or artist? This would be supplied as a vector graphic (using the outlines) to the artist or business if need be. Additionally, this modified logo would be used for branding and merchandise (which would be sold, such as t-shirts and mugs).

Thank you for your time.

 Reply
martinpk, Thu, May 14, 2015 10:03 (EDT)

Re: Modifying Font for Logo and Commercial Purposes

Hi, sorry for overlooking this. Yes, that's entirely within OFL licensing. All the best with your work!

 Reply
"David", Sun, Jun 14, 2015 18:38 (EDT)

Converting to woff

Hi. Would it be OK converting from .otf to .woff?

I mean... would that be considered a modification. Or can I just convert it and use the .woff in my commercial web application? I'm not going to modify the font itself. Thank you.

 Reply
martinpk, Mon, Jun 15, 2015 04:44 (EDT)

Re: Converting to woff

Hi David,

First, check whether we provide a WOFF version of the font you're interested in using: http://scripts.sil.org/SILFontList

If not, the OFL FAQ section 2.2 addresses conversion of OFL fonts to WOFF format: http://scripts.sil.org/cms/scripts/page.php?item_id=OFL-FAQ_web#1db14da7

Hope this helps!

Peter

 Reply
"David", Mon, Jun 15, 2015 05:32 (EDT)

Re: Converting to woff

Thank you for your quick answer. I couldn't find my font in your link. I got it from here: http://www.fontsquirrel.com/fonts/elsie?filter%5Bclassifications%5D%5B0%5D=serif&filter%5Btags%5D%5B0%5D=serif%2C+modern

What option would be in your opinion easier:

* To convert it to .woff meeting the 2 requirements of the question 2.2?

* To use a web converter, and then change the name to the font?

Both seem a bit tricky to me and in both cases I would have to research how to do it.

Many thanks in advance.

 Reply
martinpk, Mon, Jun 15, 2015 05:46 (EDT)

Re: Converting to woff

The Webfont Kit tab for that font has a link to their webfont generator, along with an instruction to change the font name. That seems like the simplest approach.

Peter

 Reply
"David", Wed, Jun 24, 2015 12:30 (EDT)

Re: Converting to woff

Sorry about the next newbie question.

But what is exactly to change the name?

Changing the name in the CSS and the font files would be enough? Or is it necessary to change the name in files metadata and things like that?

If the latter, could you please point me to any program that can assist me with that?

Many thanks.

 Reply
spalingern, Thu, Jun 25, 2015 10:54 (EDT)

Re: Converting to woff

For Modified Version you are required to change the name inside the font file itself (the names in the metadata fields of the font).

To make these changes you need a font editor like Glyphs or FontForge (there are command-line utilities but it's probably easier with a graphical editor).

Glyphs is proprietary, OSX-only but provides a trial version. FontForge is cross-platform libre software (open source) and can be downloaded at no charge: http://fontforge.org

Go to Element -> Font Info... -> TTF Names then right-click on the relevant entries to modify them.

See http://designwithfontforge.com/en-US/The_Final_Output_Generating_Font_Files.html for a screenshot.

BTW, beware of fontsquirrel optimizing away features that you actually want. Depending on the font it can be a good idea to see if the original author can help you with making a derivative webfont version.

 Reply
"David", Fri, Jun 26, 2015 07:03 (EDT)

Re: Converting to woff

Many thanks for your help

 Reply
"idan", Sat, Aug 15, 2015 16:28 (EDT)

Using a font that is licensed under the SIL Open Font License (OFL) in my app

As I said I want to use a font that is licensed under the SIL Open Font License (OFL) in my app. I undertand that no fee is required. I have to put credit in my app? Im 17 years old and I dont know mach about this thing and I do not want to get sued. Can I use the font (without changing it) with no problems?

 Reply
martinpk, Mon, Aug 17, 2015 04:46 (EDT)

Re: Using a font that is licensed under the SIL Open Font License (OFL) in my app

Hi idan,

That's right: no fee is required. A credit in your app (with a link to the font web page) is good practice (as you probably do with your other open source components). Here's some more info: http://scripts.sil.org/cms/scripts/page.php?site_id=nrsi&id=OFL-FAQ_web#2a57c6bb

All the best with your app project!

Peter

 Reply
"idan ", Tue, Aug 18, 2015 09:40 (EDT)

Re: Using a font that is licensed under the SIL Open Font License (OFL) in my app

I did not anderstand your answer. I do not know what "bundle" is. I just know that I wont to use the font if my app for writing the high score. Do I have to put credit and copyright in my app or not?

 Reply
martinpk, Tue, Aug 18, 2015 09:58 (EDT)

Re: Using a font that is licensed under the SIL Open Font License (OFL) in my app

Hi idan,

According to the FAQ 1.20, if you include an OFL font in your application, "at a minimum you must include the copyright statement, the license notice and the license text." These would be files somewhere in your app package.

It would also be good, but not a requirement to mention "this information in your About box or Changelog, with a link to where the font package is from." So, credit is good but optional.

Hope this helps,

Peter

 Reply
martinpk, Mon, Aug 17, 2015 04:49 (EDT)

Re: Using a font that is licensed under the SIL Open Font License (OFL) in my app

Also, search this page for a question along the same lines from "Jake" and read Nico's reply.

 Reply
"idan", Tue, Aug 18, 2015 09:57 (EDT)

Re: Using a font that is licensed under the SIL Open Font License (OFL) in my app

"An acknowledgement with name and link to the font website in your About box is good form and a nice gesture to the generous typeface designer but not legally required".

So I do not have to put anything in my app, if im not changing nothing in the font?

"The authorship information stays inside the font metadata in case someone later on extracts it."

What is metadata?

 Reply
martinpk, Tue, Aug 18, 2015 10:02 (EDT)

Re: Using a font that is licensed under the SIL Open Font License (OFL) in my app

As mentioned in FAQ 1.20, you do need to put the copyright statement, the license notice and the license text files in your app, even if you don't change the font. "Bundle" in this case refers to including the font in your app.

It would be good to give credit to the designer, since you benefit from the designer's work, just as you would credit any other components you are using in your app. But it isn't a requirement.

 Reply
"karie", Sat, Aug 15, 2015 19:24 (EDT)

A general question about OFL fonts

If i download a font and it has an OFL license I can use it for commercial projects like printing entire books which I intend to sell without violating any laws, correct?

 Reply
martinpk, Mon, Aug 17, 2015 04:38 (EDT)

Re: A general question about OFL fonts

Hi Karie,

Yes, that's well within the OFL license terms. All the best with your book project!

Peter

Note: If you want to add a response to this article, you need to enable cookies in your browser, and then restart your browser.



© 2003-2015 SIL International, all rights reserved, unless otherwise noted elsewhere on this page.
Provided by SIL's Non-Roman Script Initiative. Contact us here.