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The state of TV fonts

BA
Ballyboy Recently warned UTV Newsline
What did BBC News use from April 2008- July 2019?. was it nova?
JL
J. Lyric
What did BBC News use from April 2008- July 2019?. was it nova?

I don't think so...

All I remember them using was plain Gill Sans and Helvetica Neue mostly later on
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IT
IndigoTucker
In my former career as an archivist, we referred to a master book of copyright rules. One of the sections was on typefaces, with the notion that fonts couldn't be copyrighted as after all, they are simply characters of the alphabet. True, the TTF/OTF files are copyrightable, but if someone was to trace the glyphs into a new file, theres nothing that could be done.
RD
Roger Darthwell London London

Like everything else, somebody else has made the font and they can expect appropriate remuneration for it, as it is their work. Gill Sans is now technically out of copyright (like most copyright things, lasts for the lifetime of the creator + 70 years. Eric Gill died in 1940, so that expired at the end of 2010), but I believe it's ended up under some other legal arrangement in the meantime. You can't make a similar derivative of Gill Sans and call it Gill Sans, as its trademarked, but there are a few similar (ish) fonts out there.

Re: costings, ad revenue is on the way down in TV terms as of late and channels can save money by just having a font of their own made for them that they then owe and don't have to pay out on. Yes it might cost a bit of money up front to get it designed and made and implemented, but in the long run it should save money.

That similarish font to Gill Sans is called Gill Sans Nova, BTW Thank you so much for this detailed explanation!


No, Gill Sans Nova is an updated for modern uses version of Gill Sans (by calling it something slightly different it's a good way for the font foundry to get everyone to buy new licences, even though there's little changes for most users).

However, even though the Gill Sans letter shapes are no longer in copyright, the computer code to draw those shapes is still protected. There's actually a surprising amount of programming involved in full professional typefaces, with control over kerning, alternate letter shapes, ligatures, hinting and other data that has to be context aware. It's that work which takes the time and cost to perfect and makes the difference between a cheap and expensive typeface.

Gill Sans Nova looks like Gill Sans though...anyway thank you so much for this explanation!
DA
davidhorman Channel Channel Islands
I thought that since they are funded by ads, they would have no issues with font royalties......


Being funded by ads doesn't mean infinite money.
MD
mdtauk London London
Having a custom font is not just about licensing and costs. There are brand identity and technical reasons to use custom typography. It is becoming more and more common for organisations and businesses to want to brand all aspects of the communications and products.

Transport for London has been using a custom typeface since the 1930's, which has been digitised several times over the years - so its not a modern invention.
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DO
dosxuk Yorkshire Look North (Yorkshire)
Gill Sans Nova looks like Gill Sans though...anyway thank you so much for this explanation!

The base font is meant to look the same - it's an expansion of the original typeface family. From Monotype :-
Quote:
The Gill Sans® Nova typeface, by Monotype Studio designer George Ryan, expands the much-loved Gill Sans family from 18 to 43 fonts and features a coordinated range of roman and condensed designs. Several new display fonts are available, including a suite of six inline weights, shadowed outline fonts that were never digitized and Gill Sans Nova Deco that was previously withdrawn from the Monotype library.

The same thing happens with other typefaces - there was the rebrand from Helvetica to Helvetica Neue and Futura has been updated as Futura Now . The updates are supposed to look like the originals, but expand the options, either with more characters, features or styles.

Transport for London has been using a custom typeface since the 1930's, which has been digitised several times over the years - so its not a modern invention.

And then some upstart came along and copied a load of it into another font which became really popular, something Gill I think he was called?

Aren't TfL on like the third "digital" version of Johnston in 20 years anyway now? Each time it gets updated there's some marketing blurb about how it's the most accurate version of the original letters ever. So these typeface updates happen even amongst dedicated corporate fonts.
MD
mdtauk London London
In the 60's I believe the font was digitised for the first time and named New Johnston . It was refreshed in the 2000's to add missing characters like the # and @ symbols, and they restored some of the numerals to their original shapes. A new Bold and Thin weight was added.

Then 100 years after the original font was designed as block type, Monotype created the new Johnston100 version which added new weights, and is technically a more accurate reproduction of the original typeface design - without some of the changes/accommodations made to fit the photosetting and the early type formats.
PF
PFML84 UTV Newsline
I have only just realised now that the font Channel 5 have been using since their most recent rebrand is their custom font. I genuinely thought they were just using a very thin version of Arial Nova or something, it looks so generic and doesn't really have any stand out features to make you go "ah, that's the Channel 5 font".

They don't even use it on their website, they use mostly Nobel, which they are licensing from Adobe I'm sure, so why not save some money and use their own custom font for the website? They also use Quicksand which is an open source Google font, but use it so little you wonder why they even bothered.
Last edited by PFML84 on 3 December 2020 8:22am
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JL
J. Lyric
I have only just realised now that the font Channel 5 have been using since their most recent rebrand is their custom font. I genuinely thought they were just using a very thin version of Arial Nova or something, it looks so generic and doesn't really have any stand out features to make you go "ah, that's the Channel 5 font".

They don't even use it on their website, they use mostly Nobel, which they are licensing from Adobe I'm sure, so why not save some money and use their own custom font for the website? They also use Quicksand which is an open source Google font, but use it so little you wonder why they even bothered.

To summarize this whole thing here:

Basically - brand fonts should be memorable.
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MI
Michael
I mean, if you want TfL font, you just need to download Paddington.
NG
noggin Founding member
In my former career as an archivist, we referred to a master book of copyright rules. One of the sections was on typefaces, with the notion that fonts couldn't be copyrighted as after all, they are simply characters of the alphabet. True, the TTF/OTF files are copyrightable, but if someone was to trace the glyphs into a new file, theres nothing that could be done.



https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1988/48/part/I/chapter/III/crossheading/typefaces

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