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.

4 thoughts on “The true cost of H&FJ’s web font platform

  1. H&FJ says:

    Hi Jonathan,

    Thanks for taking the time to write this up. Just a quick note: you don’t have to limit your use of Cloud.typography to a single website, since every subscription lets you build up to ten projects, each of which can serve an unlimited number of domains. There’s more information here:

  2. Jonathan says:

    @H&FJ I’m aware that there is no limit on the domains that can be served, but perhaps that wasn’t clear in my post. I’ve edited my post to hopefully make that point clearer.

    My concern is not with the number of projects or domains included with clouds.typography plans (which seems quite reasonable), but with the fact that subscriptions don’t give access to the full H&FJ library, which I think is a limitation that’s been overlooked in some reviews of the service.

  3. Duane says:

    Nice article but the cost per pageview is a flawed model. With reports posting bot traffic from 50%-60% then high traffic websites are going to end up paying for a higher tier package with no benefit. There is no way for them to accurately filter it out and nothing I found on their website indicates they are even trying.

  4. Alex Colley says:

    Thanks for the article! I am considering signing up myself for these fonts but it could get pricey!

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