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> 2005 > My Font Affair with Paul Cezanne

Paul Cezanne Typeface by P22

My Font Affair with Artist Paul Cézanne

The P22 Cezanne font

By Chris Dunmire

I have a confession to make. For more than four years I have been in love with Paul Cézanne. Well, not actually the French artist himself, but the font (typeface) styled after the famous master's handwriting. In my creative world, there was no other typeface that I coveted more than the Cézanne font from P22 (a font foundry).

(Yeah, more parenthesis here, but I'm going to drop that little accent mark over the "e" now, because I'm not pronouncing it correctly when I type it.)

Today I finally acquired said font when I ordered P22's Artist Signature Pack. Here's its description:

17 handwriting and dingbat fonts inspired by famous artists including Leonardo da Vinci, Edward Hopper, Vincent van Gogh and of course our ever popular Cezanne font.

Truth be told, the only reason I didn't have the Cezanne font already is because I've never purchased fonts directly from a foundry (my existing font collection came with my design packages). Can you believe it? Was I really that cheap to shell out $20 bucks for my infatuation? Well today I put my foot down and plunked down some dough.

A Legal Lesson In Font Acquisition

I am not a lawyer (IANAL), but if you don't know jack about this font / typeface business, here's a quick lesson. Some fonts cost money. And some fonts are free. It's important to know which is which if you want to stay on the legal side of things. And if you're in business, you'd better.

Some Web sites have busloads of fonts they say are free to download and use. Some are, but buyer beware. Legit fonts usually come with some kind of text file stating the terms of the licensing agreement. Be sure you read and understand it. If you don't get one, who knows what you just put on your machine (including possible adware or spyware).

Some notable type designers even give away their fonts on their Web sites as freeware or shareware (one of my favorites is Larabie Fonts).

But some fonts you will never, ever, find as free legal downloads online. P22's Cezanne (and probably all of their other fonts) is one of these. (I did spot another arty font named "Cezanne" on a free font download Web site, but it wasn't the same font as P22's. In fact, it was a whole different design and not the one we're all fond of!) I'd bet my Cezanne Sketch font right now that P22's legal team keeps a watchful eye out for thieves, and that's why you'll never find it in the search engines, unless it's been put on a file sharing site, which illegally distributes files without rightly compensating the owner. Think illegal music downloads. Fonts as intellectual property are no different.

Good design fonts cost money for a variety of reasons. People who use these often unique fonts in their line of work should be paying a licensing fee for them (just like they do with software and photos). And guess what? If I want to use my new artist font on some future commercial product package design like my Creativity Patch, I will have to pay an additional licensing fee to P22. So keep that in mind, package designers!

Where Did My Love for Fonts Originate?

My love for typefaces began around 1994. I remember sitting in front of a community computer at work fooling around with the Windows 3.1 interface (I was not yet computer-savvy).

Somewhere between dabbling with the Paint program and testing my typing skills in Word, I came across the top-navigation font menu. It was there that I realized how to change the style of the font that appeared before me. Arial. Times New Roman. Brush Script. Wow, cool!

It wasn't until I went through a bona-fide graphic design program in college that I began to learn all about fonts and typefaces in a well-taught typography class. The history of type, type families, type specimens, computer fonts, postscript, TrueType, Mac fonts, Windows fonts, and of course, licensing and copyright laws were all part of the package. Ask me about slab serifs someday.

My love for art and graphic design naturally includes a deep infatuation with type and the foundries they originate from. I first seen the artistic swashy Cezanne handwriting font being used on Robin William's former TypeTalk column on the Eyewire Web site. I spent a long time on a font-identifier site trying to figure out what its name was. When I found my answer I quickly learned that it originated from the P22 font foundry and I could buy it for $19.99. I've waited so long for this.

Isn't is just...

Today I'm totally in font heaven. You know, if you're ever wondering what kind of things your graphic designer pal desires, some unusual typefaces might make a fontastic gift. Get them a gift certificate from P22. •

Paul Cezanne Typeface by P22

Update: Cezanne Font Revisited

In 2005 wrote about my love affair with the P22 Paul Cezanne font / typeface. In 2006 I received a courteous and enlightening response to my write-up straight from Richard at the P22 font foundry clarifying a few of the points I brought up — including the licensing fee information on commercial product packaging.

Richard responded:

"Much thanks for your article on the Cezanne font. I just discovered it. The font really has struck a chord with many people. Just a couple caveats...

1) We don't have a legal team, but we do take piracy seriously and far too much of our time is spent asking people to please not give our fonts away. We do appreciate your frank essay.

2) The licensing would not be extra for your Creativity Patch (can I order a gross?) design. The only time there is an extra charge is in the case of something like rubber stamps where each letter of the alphabet is used to make more designs (in effect the font is made in a different format... stickers, stamps, magnets, stencils)."

Good information to know! I always appreciate top-notch customer service and thank Richard for clarifying these points for me. Perhaps now I shall go ahead and market my creativity patches to the world (not really, <smile>). By the way, more information about licensing can be found on P22's licensing policy page. If you have further questions after that, you can contact P22. Did I tell you that they have good customer service?

I adore the fonts P22 offers and enjoy using their free online font preview Typecaster. This try-before-you-buy tool is useful if you'd like to see what any one of their fonts looks like on the words you wish to apply them to. You select the font name, type in a line of text (in a variety of sizes), and see if it works for your project. Cool!

I'm sure this won't be the last time I write about P22 Fonts. The artist/designer in me occasionally wanders over there for diversion and inspiration. There's plenty of it. •

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