Libre Font Culture

🦉 The design community and the tech community traditionally have very different cultures. Designer culture often involves the work of a single artist-designer that usually prefers to protect their artwork, while software developers generally cannot operate in such a solitary fashion: their work, even if it is copyrighted, is often based on the work of others and more subject to fragmented authorship.

Since fonts are software, Google Fonts works at the intersection of the two communities and, for many reasons, has embraced the Libre software culture to promote the creation, development, and distribution of typefaces. This culture encourages participation and learning while facilitating sharing and collaboration through the openness of the work and a more flexible licensing schema.

It is helpful for type designers to understand the typical operation of a software project. This page aims to help type designers involved in starting or participating in Libre Font projects to know how libre software projects operate.

Table of contents

Four Freedoms

As part of the Open Source initiative, Libre Fonts Movement is rooted in the four freedoms of Free Software. The concept of freedom refers to more than just open availability and monetary cost but is at the core of the movement. This is the reason we use the term libre, rather than “free,” to avoid the unwanted associations with “free” as in “gratis.”

The Four Freedoms are intended to establish and preserve the aim of giving the users the power over tools such as software or, in this case, fonts, and they also help contextualize some of the requirements.

Challenges and Opportunities

According to Wikipedia, “Open Source is a decentralized software-development model that encourages open collaboration” to share and learn among peers. This often implies profound changes to how a designer typically works in terms of possibilities and challenges.

Some of the main opportunities

Developing fonts in an open-source manner allows you to:

Some of the most common challenges



What does this mean for you?

These are some links where you could find more detailed information about this Culture:

Further reading:
start Tools, dependencies and knowledge required
learn Hosting projects on Github
must→ Upstream repository structure