Open Source fonts

A friend told me about Ellen Lupton’s design books and website.   I immediately requested 6 of her books through the public library. I’m especially excited to read Thinking with Type: A Critical Guide for Designers, Writers, Editors, & Students and D.I.Y.: Design It Yourself.

The free font manifesto on Lupton’s site caught my eye.   There are some handsome fonts with names like Linux Libertine, Freefont, and Ubuntu.   The manifesto sets out that a free font is has been licensed to be free and can be altered to form a new font (sound familiar?) and has been made available beyond a group of friends or buyers of a software package or operating system.   There is a short discussion on if all fonts should be free.   The manifesto points out that typeface design in a profession and business and that if all fonts were free these people would be out of a job.   The manifesto continues:

Most typefaces created in the free font movement are designed to serve relatively small or underserved linguistic communities. They have an explicit social purpose, and they are intended to offer the world not a luxurious outpouring of typographic variation but rather the basics for maintaining literacy and communication within a society.  

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