Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Free (as in GNU) Fonts

One of the things you tend not to think about when you read a book is that the font you're looking at? The actual shape of the letters? That's someone's art. And yes, oftentimes, they're copyrighted, and somewhere, someone has paid a license fee for that font. Sure, there are lots of free fonts out there, and a great many of them are wonderful for headlines, titles, etc.

Consider Hancock Park Laser, which was used on the cover of Looking Glass, and Beware that Flying Pen Press art director Laura Givens and I chose for the cover of Irreconcilable Differences. Nice fonts, truly. But you wouldn't want to read the novel set in them.

The interior font of a book has to look good, read easily, not strain your eyes, not readily reshape into other letters, and so forth. It really is a big deal. So it's always interesting to find good, readable fonts for large volumes of text. So I'm pleased to discover that there is a GNU font project out there, and that their fonts are /very/ readable.

See the GNU FreeFont project page. Note that the GNU FreeFont license GPL has an exception in it that allows you to use or embed the free font into your projects without GPL licensing your projects themselves. This is important, as otherwise the GPL license is, as I understand it, fairly toxic for work held under a traditional copyright.

Then you can download the fonts here.

Kudos to the Free UCS Outline Fonts project for these nice fonts. :)


btw: GPL is the GNU General Public License under which a great deal of open source software is licensed. You can read all about it here.

No comments:

Blog Archive