As any web designer will know the translation of fonts from beautiful Photoshop mock-ups to live websites has traditionally been a gruelling process of compatibility and licence hell. It has been made somewhat easier in recent years by services such as Google Web fonts, but designers looking for premium typography on the web have had few options to choose from. The highly regarded type foundry, Hoefler & Frere-Jones look to change that with the launch of web fonts service cloud.typography.
Cloud. typography is a premium service aimed at unifying digital and printed material allowing for “all your communications [to] speak in the same clear voice.” Hoefler & Frere-Jones have taken their type engineering expertise and redesigned many of their popular font families from the ground up for screens; ensuring that they will be crisp and clear at even the smallest sizes. Many will be pleased to hear that Gotham, Knockout, Ideal Sans and Hoefler all make the cut.
HF&J claim that they built their web fonts in the browser, rather than just for the browser specifically crafting 250 new fonts that look pixel perfect even at the smallest sizes on the web. ScreenSmart, this new collection of fonts will adapt themselves to pixel grids at different point sizes meaning that there are clear intervals between their weights, so that each style is distinguishable from its neighbors at even the smallest sizes. HF&J’s simple CSS solution will be distributed over Content Display Networks and because Cloud.typography only delivers the data that a browser needs, its webfonts are always optimized for file size as well as quality.
Fonts that aren’t available in ScreenSmart format are recommended for use at 16px or above so there should be plenty of choice for headlines and other non body elements and HF&J will undoubtedly add to the collection over time in order to compete with established competitors like Webtype and Typekit.
Prices start at $99 per year for sites with less than 250,000 page views a month, rising to up to $299 per year for larger sites so it is not cheap. Nevertheless, a subscription does include five free font families, free cloud use of already purchased fonts, unlimited domain access (restricted through pageviews instead) and access to 1GB of development bandwidth for testing and development purposes.
Expect to see a greater variety of stunning web fonts in the near future. Find out more about cloud.typography here.