Adobe Acquires Typekit Web-Font Service

Adobe has acquired web-font service Typekit. Typekit helped pioneer the use of fancy fonts on the web thanks to its easy-to-use service which takes care of licensing, font loading and cross-browser support. Today all a designer needs to do to add typefaces in their page is drop in a couple lines of Typekit code.

Typekit currently serves over 250,000 sites, including The New York Times and WordPress.com, as well as Webmonkey and Wired.

Writing on the Typekit blog, CEO Jeffrey Veen assured Typekit users that little will change, at least for now. “Typekit will remain a standalone product,” writes Veen, “our team will stay together, and we’re excited to start working on even easier ways to integrate web fonts into your workflow.”

Typekit and Adobe are hardly strangers. The companies previously partnered to bring many of Adobe’s more popular fonts to the web — Adobe Garamond, News Gothic, Myriad, Minion and others are all available through Typekit. It seems likely, now that Typekit is part of Adobe, that the service will add more of the Adobe fontface library in the future.

Potential new fonts won’t, however, do much to assuage the fears of those worried about the future of Typekit under the Adobe umbrella. If the comments on the Typekit blog are any indicator, Typekit users are evenly split — about half of Typekit’s audience seems optimistic about the change and half, well, less so. A common sentiment for the latter group comes from a commenter named Jason who writes, “I am happy to see the Typekit team get a reward for an amazing service, but terrified to see Adobe ruin what they created so lovingly.”

Indeed Adobe has a mixed track record with companies it has acquired, as anyone who relied on Macromedia FreeHand or Director can tell you. Hopefully Typekit will fare better, especially since, small though the company may be, it’s a big part of the reason web fonts have become so popular.

When Typekit first launched in 2009 hardly anyone was using web fonts. Browser support was spotty at best and very few type foundries offered web licenses. Fast forward to today and the landscape has changed remarkably. Now every recent browser release supports CSS 3′s @font-face and Typekit has hundreds of fonts from most of the major type foundries.

Obviously much of that change is due to a combination of effort from browser makers, standards bodies and type foundries, but Typekit played no small part as well, helping to create a demand for high-quality fonts on the web, and then delivering those fonts in a way anyone can use.

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