Question about using OFL fonts for design

I’m learning to do book cover design using GIMP. Is it modifying OFL fonts when I change the spacing between letters or italicize?

I would say no but I’m not a legal expert.
I say this because those features (i.e. spacing & italicisation) can even be applied to boxes that stand in the place of characters that aren’t working. As such, it would seem unreasonable to restrict the use of any font so severely that such changes would not be allowed. Nonetheless, I can’t be completely sure sorry.

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No - you’re just using the font, not modifying the font itself.

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Thanks! What about embedding? I export the finished book covers from GIMP as JPGs. Do I need to worry about embedding the fonts?

No - in a JPEG the fonts are not embedded. In general the OFL does not expect you to do anything special if all you’re doing is creating graphic images. See the OFL-FAQ.

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Thanks! So I don’t need to embed? And commercial use (as in selling the books) is okay?

Please see the first three Frequently Asked Questions in the OFL-FAQ. There is no restriction on use of graphics created using OFL fonts.

JPEG images are bitmapped. Fonts do not get embedded into JPEGs. You cannot even choose to embed them. Fonts are rendered by the design program into images, so the fonts never end up in the images. So there is no restriction on what you do with the images.