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NRSI: Computers & Writing Systems

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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.


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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

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