The true cost of H&FJ’s web font platform
Chris Bowler from the Campaign Monitor team has written an interesting comparison between Typekit and Hoefler and Frere-Jones’ new cloud.typography web font service. If you’ve been sizing up clouds.typography, or didn’t know that H&FJ has (finally) launched their much anticipated web font platform, go read his post.
One thing that Chris didn’t touch on, but I think is relevant to the comparison, is that H&FJ’s annual subscription fees don’t actually give you access to their full range of fonts, just five font families:
Join Cloud.typography and get your first five webfont packages FREE
If you want access to more than five families then any additional fonts need to be purchased separately – currently H&FJ’s popular Gotham family costs $149 for a web font license, or $299 for a web and desktop license.
If you’re using cloud.typography to serve fonts for a single site this limitation shouldn’t be an issue – if you’re using more than five type families on one site then you’re probably doing it wrong! Five type families may be sufficient for multiple projects too, if they use the same typefaces, but if you plan to use your account to service several sites it might soon become necessary to purchase additional fonts.
Currently I use my Typekit account to deliver fonts to about ten websites, which between them utilise far more that 5 type families. I had hoped that cloud.typography might be similarly flexible, so that I could use a single account to serve an unlimited number of fonts to multiple client sites. As it stands I only see cloud.typography as a viable option if my clients are willing to shell out the $99/year for their own account.
Of course $99/year is hardly a deal breaker for a website with a decent budget, but it’s something worth considering when comparing H&FJ’s platform with other web font services.