Pondering a question about the ethical use of Typekit I decided to present it in the form of a case study and see what you think. And this case study could apply to any of the webfont delivery services.

Let’s say I am starting a restaurant named “Good Food” and I want to create a website for it. In fact, a website will be the only branding element for the restaurant; there will be no business cards, signage or anything.

There’s a specific typeface that I want to use for the restaurant logo and I happen to discover that this typeface — Corner Store by Veer — is available on Typekit. This works great because I have a Typekit account and do not need to purchase Corner Store.* There are two different scenarios described below by which I build my website.

Scenario A

Good FoodI create the logo for the site as normal text — using the Corner Store font via Typekit and styling it with CSS. For most of my visitors they see this script typeface as the logo and it looks great. However, since there isn’t a similar fallback system font I decide that I want provide an image of the logo instead of stylized text. Not to mention on Window’s machines the type doesn’t render as well as an image of the logo would. So I go to the website in Safari on my Mac, take a screen shot, crop the logo in Photoshop, upload it to my server and link to that image in place of the text.

I still link to the Corner Store typeface in my kit† because I use it for the menu on the site. And with the menu I’m less concerned if a small number of my visitors see the menu items set in Georgia instead of Corner Store.

Scenario B

Good FoodIn this scenario it’s the same situation as the first scenario except that instead of using Corner Store for the logo I decide that I want to use Hooligan. But I only want to use this font for the logo. So I add Hooligan to my kit, style it the way I would like with CSS and repeat the image creation process described in Scenario A. Now the logo on my website is an image set in Hooligan but I am not using Hooligan anywhere else on my site; I still use Corner Store for the menu. Since I’m not using the actual font file for Hooligan and to reduce the page load time I remove it from my kit.

Hooligan is no longer in my kit for the Good Food website but my logo is set in Hooligan. And I didn’t buy the typeface for desktop use because I don’t need it since my restaurant’s branding and identity exists only on the internet.

Right or wrong?

My question is simple: considering Scenario A & B are the actions by the website owner ethical in either scenario?

  • * Let it be known that I have no problem buying typefaces. It’s one of my favorite experiences actually, but this is just a made-up scenario.
  • † A kit is what Typekit calls your collection of fonts for a particular website.