Inkscape is among the best vector image editing software available online. Better yet, it’s free. Still, being open-source, it’s not uncommon to have concerns over whether or not your projects can be used for commercial reasons. So, can you use Inkscape for commercial use?
Yes, Inkscape can be used for commercial purposes, however, there are a few things you should keep in mind. You can’t use someone else’s design as a part of yours without express permission, and you’ll also want to make sure any fonts you use are properly licensed.
If you’re looking to create professional projects in Inkscape that can be used for commercial purposes, but you’re not sure of the legality around it, this is for you. In our guide below, we will break down everything from whether Inkscape itself can be used for commercial reasons to its fonts and how they can intersect with copyright. So with that, let’s dive right into it!
We mentioned that projects created in Inkscape can be used for commercial purposes. But what about the program itself? Can it be distributed to a team and used for commercial reasons?
Inkscape itself is allowed to be used for commercial purposes as long the following requirements are met:
- Modifications must be made publicly available: If any modifications are made to the program they must also be made publicly available in accordance with the open-source nature of the program.
- License must be included with its distribution: When distributing Inkscape to a team, you must also provide everyone with the license as well. You have to do this regardless of whether or not modifications were made.
As long as you have made your modifications publicly available (if you made any) and you include the license, Inkscape itself is free to use in a commercial setting. In the next section we will dive into more detail on what the license is for Inkscape and the broad strokes of what all it entails.
To better understand how Inkscape can be used commercially, it would be beneficial to take a look at their licensing agreement.
Inkscape uses a GNU General Public License. This license is what allows Inkscape to be free to the public and free to share.
Now that we’ve looked at individual projects as well as the program itself, it’s time to turn our attention to the fonts you use within it. So, are all fonts on Inkscape available for commercial use or do you need special licensing to use some of them?
Though many of them are, not all of the fonts on Inkscape will necessarily be available for commercial use without special licensing due to copyright. That is because Inkscape simply takes advantage of the fonts you already have installed on your computer or those you add later.
If some fonts on your computer may be fine to use for commercial purposes while others are not, you’re probably wondering how to distinguish them. How exactly do you tell if a font is okay for commercial use? Especially if you downloaded it a while ago and may not be able to remember where you got it.
The tips below will help you to check any font on your computer for copyright so you can know whether or not it is okay for commercial use:
- Check the font site you got the font from: This one only works if you remember which sites you got which fonts from. If you’re like a lot of us, you probably have a reliable site you go to more often than others. On the site it should tell you if the font is copyrighted or licensed.
- Google the font name: Sometimes, the fastest way to find out if a font is copyrighted is to just punch it into Google and see what comes up. Make sure you check the font on a reputable website like Dafont, however, as there are less than reputable sites hawking fake font names. If nothing comes up, try our next step.
- Take a look at the font zip folder: The final method doesn’t require the internet or even knowing where the font came from. With this you simply need to find the zip folder the font came in when you downloaded it. Then check for a document within that says the font name followed by “license txt.” This should have any information on copyright.
At the end of the day, you should be able to figure out whether a font is protected or open-source in a relatively short time. Whether it’s through a simple Google search or checking out the text files within the zip folder for the font, it should only take minutes.
Just because Inkscape can be used for professional, commercial use doesn’t necessarily mean that it is. So let’s take a look at the pros to see if they really use it.
Professionals use Inkscape all the time. Not just because it cuts down on production costs but also because it is one of the best vector image editing software out there.
The bottom line is, you absolutely can use Inkscape for commercial use. That includes not only projects you make within Inkscape but with the program itself. That’s because the GNU General Public License allows for the program to be freely shared (though you do have to provide the license if you share it) and for the contents created within it to belong to their creators.
There are some important caveats here, however. You can’t use someone else’s design as a part of yours without getting permission from them. Further, because Inkscape just uses the fonts you have downloaded onto your computer, you will need to make sure they are copyright free as well. With a little due diligence you can get your commercial project underway in no time!