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June 18, 2011
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A while back, a user named Purple Tinker released a font called Celestia Medium aiming to recreate the look of the font used for certain titling lines in My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. When I first saw the font mentioned on Equestria Daily back around March, I pointed out the real font that she was attempting to recreate, and the comment was summarily ignored. I've been busy with other things, but I've finally managed to sit down and put some thoughts together on this subject.

Specifically, Celestia Medium is a subset of Harold Lohner's Generation B. Generation B is a unique character set designed to evoke the style of hand-drawn titles from fifties and sixties television and movies. Harold cites specific examples such as The Parent Trap and Gilligan's Island. Harold goes into detail on the creative process he used to create the typeface on his website. Generation B is the font used in the official marketing and promotional material for Friendship is Magic. Anyone who opens up one of the press release or promotional PDFs in Acrobat and does a Document Properties or checks the textlines using Pitstop will see this in about five seconds.

You might ask "Dan, Harold made a font that is "inspired" by something, what's wrong with Purple Tinker's?"

The difference is that Celestia Medium is a literal trace (or possibly worse, a copy and paste of outlined glyphs) of Generation B, except without all of Harold's expert kerning, metrics, and multiple character sets. It's the ultimate definition of knockoff. If you compare the titling of "The Parent Trap" to Generation B, for instance, you'll notice that the letterforms are similar stylistically, but very different in terms of actual execution. Secondly, the titling in The Parent Trap was not an actual font, but rather hand-drawn titling done by a graphic artist. The vast majority of the character set didn't exist, and Harold had to create a lot of the font's style from scratch. Its inspirations and lettersets span multiple drawn titles, taking bits and pieces from each. While you could recreate The Parent Trap's title card using Generation B, you won't be able to do it just by typing - you'll have to go and modify the letterforms and change many other things to match it. With the multiple character sets, you can also create titling evoking other classic shows and movies using Generation B - its very versatile.

In the world of fonts, it is very difficult to make "true" rips without infringing on someone's art and copyright. However, if you modify the letterforms and metrics enough, they become new entities. This is why many similar, yet different fonts exist. A classic example is Arial versus Helvetica. Microsoft, not wanting to pay for using Linotype's Helvetica, decided to make what amounts to Helvetica with just enough changes to make it not identical. This resulted in the poor bastard brother, Arial. Unfortunately for Purple Tinker, the goal of Celestia Medium is to basically mimic Generation B as much as possible. This is even proven in her changelog where she explicitly calls out changes made to match Generation B.

While Purple Tinker hasn't illegally redistributed the GenerationB font binary, the knockoff version she has unleashed is inferior to the original in almost every way. It's missing the complete character set, the kerning and metrics are totally different, and the letterforms aren't perfect renditions in some cases. This isn't a case of homage, it's more like plagiarism. Now, Purple Tinker isn't selling or profiting off of this font, so I doubt she would face any serious legal repercussions - even though I think Harold would be well within his right to issue a takedown. However, from an artist's integrity point of view, she is doing a disservice to the community at large and depriving Harold of sales of the true font. My beef is not so much with Purple Tinker herself - after all, anyone with Illustrator and the proper font creation tool can make a knockoff. Had she not done it, somebody else probably would have.

If you're thinking about making artwork or designs relating to FiM and are thinking about using the Celestia Medium font, consider this. If you are trying to ape the look of FiM's graphic design, why not go all the way and use the real font? There's only two real reasons that I can think of where you would use Celestia Medium - one, ignorance, and two, cheapness. Ignorance is no excuse - I've searched long and hard for specific fonts when creating designs. As an artist, you should do your due diligence. For cheapness, Generation B is only $20 USD. If you want to use the real font, you should buy the real font. Don't use a knockoff.

With regards to the Redux version, please check out my latest entry on this subject.
Add a Comment:
 
:iconcoldgoldlazarus:
ColdGoldLazarus Featured By Owner Sep 14, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
*If you are trying to ape the look of FiM's graphic design, why not go all the way and use the real font?*

Where can I find the real font, though? Or is it part of the Generation B thing?
Reply
:iconkefkafloyd:
kefkafloyd Featured By Owner Sep 14, 2013  Professional General Artist
The real font is Generation B, by Harold Lohner. www.fontbros.com/families/gene…
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:iconwww-arturq:
www-arturq Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2013
Man, man, man, MAN, MAAAAAANNNN!!! We're in the 21st Century, age of the battle between COPYRIGHT ABUSE and PIRACY!! I, as an average joe, think that $20 will NEVER-EVER-EVER become "only" for a font!! I searched EVERYWHERE for a pirated version of Generation B (yes it's much better than Celestia Medium or Celestia Medium Redux) but I can't manage to find it! Did my research stop? NO! I won't, in all of my history, pay 20 BUCKS for a GODDAMMIT FONT!! Seriously, think ahead about this stupidness of copyright, head to The Pirate Bay and download some good movies ;)
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:iconkefkafloyd:
kefkafloyd Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2013  Professional General Artist
Can't tell if you're joking or not, but if you are, bravo. I got a laugh. :V
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:iconwww-arturq:
www-arturq Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2013
not a joke.
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:iconkefkafloyd:
kefkafloyd Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2013  Professional General Artist
Guess Poe's Law is true then.
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:iconwww-arturq:
www-arturq Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2013
yes.
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:iconathelind:
Athelind Featured By Owner Aug 28, 2012
Oh, and you should be pleased that this is one of the first things that comes up on a search for "friendship is magic font".
Reply
:iconvinyl-beat:
Vinyl-Beat Featured By Owner Jun 9, 2014  Student Digital Artist
That's how I found this too.
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:iconathelind:
Athelind Featured By Owner Aug 28, 2012
Nicely said.
Reply
:iconlionx-dagger:
LionX-Dagger Featured By Owner Aug 12, 2012
sorry to bothers you but i talked with the artist who make Generation B. cause wanted to ask him if he would be so kind to share it with me since i don't have how to make money transfer to buy it.

and hi him self answer my e-mail telling me that theres fan-made version for free to try get it.
Reply
:iconrandina42:
Randina42 Featured By Owner May 20, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Sorry to bother you this late after you posted the comment, but the artist of the font told you to get the fan made version if you couldn't buy/afford the real one? Because that's all I need to clean my conscience. :)
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:iconlionx-dagger:
LionX-Dagger Featured By Owner May 20, 2013
well to be fail he did not told em to use it or anything he just told me there is a fan knock-off of it, if i don't want the real thing. :)
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:iconlionx-dagger:
LionX-Dagger Featured By Owner May 20, 2013
fair *
Reply
:iconlionx-dagger:
LionX-Dagger Featured By Owner May 20, 2013
pretty much I think he sold some right to "font bros" and they are main distributors of the font

tho it still means that you can't use celestia font in a commercial project since technician its kinda of a rip off ;)
Reply
:icondjsolstice98:
djsolstice98 Featured By Owner May 22, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Sorry..I'm not paying 20 bucks to write three words on a picture for my 3 year old. I understand your point, but you should understand mine too.
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:iconcalsberq:
calsberq Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2012
I can't call myself artist and I'm not interested in using this font, but that doesn't matter. The problem is with money ...
I'm 16 and I live in totally unknown to world place. My family isn't poor, but I get like $10-$20 for half a year (for my own usage). Why would I spend money on such a stupid thing like buying a font? Maybe it's hard to understand for someone with a job, but really ... I have a lot of more important things to buy. I had to buy stuff worth about $300 by my own, it was hard thing to do.
Now let's say someone like me wants to use this font.
Reply
:iconkefkafloyd:
kefkafloyd Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2012  Professional General Artist
There will always be knockoffs and people will use them. I feel for you, and I wouldn't exactly blame you, but "a stupid thing like a font" is somebody's livelihood. Buying that font helps put food on his plate.
Reply
:iconmrcazum:
MrCazum Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2012
>she
hahahahha
Reply
:icondanspy1994:
danspy1994 Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2012  Student Photographer
The only probelm I have, is after reading the licensing rules, you cannot use generation B in apps or other embedded files, there seem to be very strict rules about the licensing of this font which are quite harsh, I would like to use this font on shirts and make a small amount of money without spending loads of money on the additional license to do that.

Had I released a font, I would
a) Allow it to be used for free as long as credit was given where it was due (where'd you get that font? The original is here etc.)
b) Sell it with a license to use it for anything, logos, shirts, money making, anything.

If someone is paying me money for a license for something I made, then they should be able to do whatever they wish with it, they've paid me, I'm happy. I wouldn't get greedy with additional licenses.

Still considering using Generation B for shirt designs, but not willing to pay additional fees for it :(
Reply
:iconkefkafloyd:
kefkafloyd Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2012  Professional General Artist
You can embed GenerationB for your applications, what you're seeing is the usual boilerplate in licensing agreements. Go read Adobe or Monotype's licensing agreements, you will see very similar things. Otherwise nobody would be able to use the font for anything.

The specific restrictions are only for the largest of large volume producers. Unless you're making over 250,000 T-shirts, you would not need an expanded license. You're also able to embed it into PDF files provided that they are used only for printing. You can't embed in flash or use a webfont without an expanded license, for example.

So I would not worry about these license restrictions, they are only targeted at very large corporations or massive commercial enterprises. I am not a lawyer™ but you should be fine based on my experience using Font Bros. products (not just Generation B) for other uses.
Reply
:icondanspy1994:
danspy1994 Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2012  Student Photographer
Thanks for the reassurance! :3 might buy it now, is there a place to buy it in GBP?
If not it'll cost me about 10 :(
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:iconkefkafloyd:
kefkafloyd Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2012  Professional General Artist
Font Bros. is a US operation and the only seller of GenB. As far as I know it'd be a USD > GBP conversion, and to be honest, you're getting quite the deal due to the exchange rate.
Reply
:icondanspy1994:
danspy1994 Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2012  Student Photographer
But I sacrifice paying less for stuff here by paying about 4,500 for car insurance, which is why I have to drive a s****y moped :(
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:iconkefkafloyd:
kefkafloyd Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2012  Professional General Artist
They always get your money somehow. :(
Reply
:icondanspy1994:
danspy1994 Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2012  Student Photographer
darn UK statistics for 17 year old males
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:icondanspy1994:
danspy1994 Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2012  Student Photographer
problem*
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:iconpinkiepieisepix:
PinkiePieisepix Featured By Owner Feb 25, 2012  Student General Artist
No mlp fim hearts in Generation B >:(
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:iconkefkafloyd:
kefkafloyd Featured By Owner Feb 25, 2012  Professional General Artist
What do you mean?

The logotype doesn't have any hearts and the toy boxes and other materials use straight Gen B.
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:iconpinkiepieisepix:
PinkiePieisepix Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2012  Student General Artist
i MEAN in the MLP:FiM logo theres a rainbow and little hearts.
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:iconkefkafloyd:
kefkafloyd Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2012  Professional General Artist
Yeah, but that was never Generation B to begin with, and those are custom drawn elements. So what's your point? Go draw some hearts. Gen B (and what Celestia Medium is aping) is specifically the Friendship is Magic logotype.
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:iconphr16384:
PHR16384 Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
New Google Search: "generation b" font free

:icontrollfaceplz:
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:iconkefkafloyd:
kefkafloyd Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2012  Professional General Artist
Yeah, and what's the top result? Not a place to download it for free, but rather this very journal.

Have a nice day.
Reply
:iconfurryfalconer:
FurryFalconer Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
If I bought it I'd just put it on Warez-BB and Pirate Bay. This is the internet, SOPA and Protect IP are jokes and lulz.

For too long, people have been governed by big businesses, also, whatever happened to try before you buy. I think they should release ALL fonts as a non-commerical license for trial, and then if you like it, you buy it.

Thats why Pirating is so popular, okay sure people want stuff for $0, but I pirate for the "Try before you buy", example: Modern Warfare 3, pirated it, didn't like it, deleted. End. Battlefield 3, pirated, loved, bought for Multiplayer and singleplayer updates
Reply
:iconcaptainbmx:
CaptainBMX Featured By Owner Feb 4, 2012
Hey man can I have A link to your pirate of this I cant seem to find it.
Reply
:iconkefkafloyd:
kefkafloyd Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2011  Professional General Artist
Generation B is not a product of big business, it's made by a freelance typographer. You directly support him by buying it. Pirating his work does not damage large corporations, it damages his ability to pay his bills.
Reply
:iconfurryfalconer:
FurryFalconer Featured By Owner Dec 9, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Then he/she should increase his potential sales by releasing a try-before-you-buy, I dunno, have like a few vowels missing like A and U (which aren't used in My Little Pony)... that way he can allow users to test the quality of it without being able to pirate it for $0
Reply
:iconcapri-chan:
Capri-chan Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2011
Well, if it makes you feel any better, she's no longer offering it.

Also, you say it's "only" twenty dollars. I can't afford to spend that much on a font I'm going to use once.

If I were actually doing a bunch of projects involving the ponies, or even a really big one, it would be worth it, and I'd consider buying it.

But I'm putting together a small powerpoint presentation for a class. I just wanted one sentence written in that font for the title slide. I'd have to type it out, screencap it, and put the image in so that the font wouldn't be lost on other computers, but I can work with that.

It's not your fault, and I understand your point. You are right. It's just kind of annoying right now, and this is a convenient place to complain.
Reply
:iconkefkafloyd:
kefkafloyd Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2011  Professional General Artist
A reasonable, non-whargarble response? I am shocked! Well, not that shocked.

"Well, if it makes you feel any better, she's no longer offering it."

I knew this, she responded pretty quickly, actually, and in a very reasonable way. No bad feelings or anything.

"Also, you say it's "only" twenty dollars. I can't afford to spend that much on a font I'm going to use once.

If I were actually doing a bunch of projects involving the ponies, or even a really big one, it would be worth it, and I'd consider buying it."

The beautiful thing about Generation B is that it's not just for ponies. It was created before the show was on the air, and has lots of creative uses with its multiple character sets. You could use it to do pony style, or you could use it for other things. Don't think of it as buying it just for ponies, but rather putting another creative tool in your box.

If you still don't want to pay for it, Celestia Medium Redux exists, but is IMO worse than the original Celestia Medium, as it looks like the characters were left in the oven to melt. It's your choice.
Reply
:iconmlpmaconmixx:
mlpMaconMixx Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
When I first heard about this issue months ago, I blew it off. I knew that Celestia Medium was based off the font in the show, which was probably based off of a commercial font somewhere out there. But that happens all the time, and isn't illegal nor, in my opinion, immoral. Clearly, that's how GenB itself was made. All it takes is one look at [link] to confirm that.

It wasn't until I just now read the comments here and found this [link] that I realized what really happened here. It's not an extrapolation of the lettering in the show... it's a copy of virtually the entire typeset. I will say, I like the G better in Celestia Medium. But other than that, I would say that virtually every letter in GenB is more attractive.

It's a real shame, too. Rather than branching off and building a font inspired by MLP and, potentially fitting the style of the show better than GenB itself does, Celestia Medium is just a GenB clone. I'm afraid that, even if someone now went back and tried to do it right, we would all be so used to Celestia Medium/Generation B that the new MLP-inspired font would never be accepted. Too bad.
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:iconkefkafloyd:
kefkafloyd Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2011  Professional General Artist
I think a brand new from-scratch show inspired font would actually be quite popular, if someone was up to the challenge. For instance, a Carousel Boutique or Canterlot font.

On your earlier points, they were basically all addressed in the post. The main difference is that many of the characters in GenB were created out of whole cloth since the original hand titling almost never made characters they were never going to use outside the titles. Those weren't fonts - they were lettering.
Reply
:iconbertraccoonplz:
bertraccoonplz Featured By Owner Oct 18, 2011
What we need is a free torrent download of the font. I can't really use credit card to by it. And i'm saving my paypal money. So if there's a free torrent with the font in it, I'll bite.
Reply
:iconkefkafloyd:
kefkafloyd Featured By Owner Oct 19, 2011  Professional General Artist
That is even worse, because that is piracy. Either buy the font properly, or don't use it.
Reply
:iconballoonpup:
balloonpup Featured By Owner Oct 18, 2011  Hobbyist Photographer
Thanks for the information! I've just purchased the font, and am quite happy with it!
Reply
:iconmoongazeponies:
MoongazePonies Featured By Owner Aug 1, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Okay, finally got around to purchasing the font. :D
Reply
:iconsamantha-wright:
Samantha-Wright Featured By Owner Jul 30, 2011  Hobbyist Interface Designer
I'm afraid you're somewhat wrong in this post: font designs aren't legally protected in the United States, and you can't be sued for imitating another design. This fact has been essential to encouraging small, incremental innovations in typography, as font designers have never had to be afraid of one design resembling another too closely.

Monotype didn't have to ask Linotype for permission when they created Arial as a knockoff of Helvetica, nor did Compugraphic when they created Triumvirate, which is visually indistinguishable from the genuine article.

That being said, it's still inferior, and if the author of Celestia Medium knew about the original font at the time, probably immoral. But fonts are an almost-unique exception to copyright protection.

Read more here: [link]
Reply
:iconkefkafloyd:
kefkafloyd Featured By Owner Jul 30, 2011  Professional General Artist
Greetings,

You missed a few things in that post, as your concerns are addressed in the text of the post (and the later post I made this week). Sometimes it's easy to miss, as I can be a bit verbose. :) Even then, my argument wasn't so much about copyright itself. I apologize for the incoming wall-o-text.

When it comes to Arial and Helvetica, here's more than just the United States at play here. Arial was made for a variety of reasons, and one was required to evade protections in some European and other countries where font style protection is more strict than in the United States, given that Windows would be distributed in Europe. That doesn't mean it wasn't still relevant in the US, though. The main issue in the US is the redistribution of font binaries and copying of computer created outline fonts. Since outline fonts are software, they can be copyrighted (even if their true expressions are not). Microsoft would not be able to redistribute a version of Helvetica based on Adobe's PostScript helvetica (or a TrueType version) without running afoul of Adobe's copyrights and patents with regards to PostScript outline fonts and other software. Of course Monotype didn't ask Linotype when they made Arial to evade royalties, that's beside the point. Hence why my only point in terms of illegality is with relation to redistributing the binary (which did not happen). In addition to being an artist, I also work in the RIP industry, and sometimes I tend to think of fonts more as the software they are and special things that come along in that field.

There's also relevancy to the actual outline letterforms contained TrueType and PostScript typefaces, given that this article you linked me was written before Adobe's lawsuit against Southern Software, which is relevant for those of us who make and use outline fonts. The simialrities between GenB and Celestia Medium are staggering. [link] When you make a font, you're not just creating a shape - it really is computer code used to describe how those fonts look. This is more technical than artistic, though, and probably beyond the scope of this specific argument. However, if PT had copied the actual glyphs and metrics from GenB, it would have run afoul of these even with minor changes. However, she did not do that, since she traced it. Tracings could still be an issue in terms of placement of curves, but nobody's really tested that. Had Microsoft made a Helvetica exactly like Adobe's postscript version but in TrueType, they would have probably run into a similar court battle.

I also didn't say anything about suing, more that he would definitely have been within his rights to tell her to quit it and rely on her integrity as an artist. Fortunately, that wasn't necessary, and Purple Tinker realized what she did when clued in to it.

I also addressed the point that fonts become new entities once they have enough changes made to them (e.g. Arial). Celestia medium is a gray area, as it was mostly traced. It has enough differences to be considered unique upon further study, but certainly not enough differences in relation to the Redux version which grossly modified the letterforms. In either case, the differences make it look uglier (as does Arial's differences). This is separate to the outline font discussion and again back to the fact that, yes, in the USA, there's no copyright protection for the artistic form of a typeface. It would probably fly in countries where there are stricter protections.

After all those words, the real point is that both Celestia Mediums are aesthetically lower quality knockoff versions that are markedly inferior in appearance to the original in every way (as is Arial) and are currently being used to mimic something without quite understanding it (as well as avoid buying the real deal).

Have a good one!
Reply
:iconpochi-chii:
Pochi-Chii Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2011
"There's only two real reasons that I can think of where you would use Celestia Medium - one, ignorance, and two, cheapness. "

It's called being poor. Which was one of the biggest reasons I tried to turn to the Celestia Medium font.

I'd rather use a "knockoff" than spend 20$ on a font I'm only going to use once or twice. Especially when I can barely afford what I need as is.
Reply
:iconkefkafloyd:
kefkafloyd Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2011  Professional General Artist
$20 is small in the grand scheme of things. Two movie tickets, a DVD, two CDs. It'd be one thing if GenB cost $200 for a license, but it doesn't. Using a knockoff instead of paying money for any reason is still being cheap. If you're broke, you're broke, and I can't help you there, but I urge you to consider doing the right thing for your designs and acquire the original when you are financially able to do so.
Reply
:iconpochi-chii:
Pochi-Chii Featured By Owner Jul 30, 2011
Nah, I just used the knockoff.

In the grand scheme of things, 20$ is still 20$.
It may not be much to you, but for a lot of people, that's a pretty decent sum of cash.
Reply
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