All Fonts Come From One Company

In 1440, when Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press in order to mass-produce Bibles, his books came with another innovation: the first font. For the next several centuries, countless foundries sprung up to mimic the characters forged on Gutenberg’s metal plates, experimenting with typefaces and new fonts such as Times New Roman. Monotype arrived at the end of the 19th century, giving us popular typefaces like Gill Sans and Perpetua. Along came Linotype in 2006, giving us fonts such as Helvetica and Avenir. While boutique foundries exist and work for big companies, Monotype owns all major fonts, including Arial, Helvetica, Gotham, and Times New Roman. Its main competitors are Adobe Fonts and Google Fonts, which give away their fonts for free. Whether you pay for a font or acquire it for free, each font comes with a license explaining how you may use it. Some agreements will restrict the number of computers you can install a font on, while other agreements will restrict the ways in which you can use a font. Generally, copyright law in the U.S. does not protect typefaces. This means the copyright law protects only the font software, not the artistic design of the typeface. Should you use free fonts? While many free fonts are outstanding and are used frequently, some don’t have upper and lower case letters or are missing symbols. Others might not have enough variations of fonts, like bold, italic, heavy, light, etc. Now for the bad news: Like everything else, AI is coming for fonts as well. Monotype plans on using AI to improve how users discover new fonts on its platform, though it remains to be seen exactly how.