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Monotype unveils ‘Spotify for fonts’

Monotype unveils ‘Spotify for fonts’

New Master subscription for desktop and web, and SkyFonts/Google hook-up

Typeface provider Monotype has unveiled a new Master subscription at Fonts.com, which is designed to provide greater flexibility and choice to creative professionals.

Typeface provider Monotype has unveiled a new Master subscription at Fonts.com, which is designed to provide greater flexibility and choice to creative professionals.

The new plan includes unlimited access to over 7,000 desktop fonts (delivered automatically on up to five workstations via SkyFonts), access to more than 20,000 web fonts (with 2.5 million page views per month over unlimited sites), and browser-based design tool Typecast.

Making it easy

Chris Roberts, vice president and general manager of Monotype’s ecommerce group, told .net the idea was “to open up and make it easy for designers to work with our inventory, and to remove all the friction typically involved in dealing with print and digital. You can subscribe to one plan and get unmetered access to the inventory.”

According to Roberts, the philosophy is to deliver more value: “We’re not trying to compete on price. We know our customers are high-end designers whose time is really valuable, and the last thing they want to be doing is messing about installing fonts and figuring out licenses. What they want is for us to provide them with tools and capabilities that make their lives simpler.”

Spotify for fonts

The biggest change, noted Roberts, is introducing the desktop component to web font subscriptions at the Master level: “This provides unlimited downloading from over 7,000 designs, which includes all the Monotype, Linotype, and ITC fonts designers have come to know and love. And as we introduce new designs, they’ll go into the plan, too. It’s like Spotify for fonts—you pay your subscription, and there are no more transactions after that. You download whatever you need, whenever you need to.”

On the page-views limit, Roberts maintained 2.5 million per month was “for the vast majority of sites out there more than they’re ever going to need”, and he noted individual sites weren’t counted, so fonts could be in theory used over an unlimited number. Should anyone need an “astronomical amount of page views,” Monotype would work with them directly to accommodate that.

On Typecast’s inclusion, Typecast director Paul McKeever suggested to .net the tool would add further value to the plan: “It’s not just about having access to great fonts, but it’s also about putting them to use, experimenting with them and getting the right type choices for your project.” With modern web design, McKeever said type has “become an even more important ingredient in the process, often carrying a brand, and so we need to think about our choices more carefully”. Rather than being a mere component of page layout, McKeever argued type was now often the primary way of creating a “great, readable, attractive experience”, and therefore that “removing obstacles and enabling people to freely experiment with type and see fonts in context is extremely important”.

The wider picture

Although Monotype’s Master plan is aimed at professionals, it also announced a tie-up with Google., offering versions of Google Web Fonts designed for print. These will be downloaded through SkyFonts technology, providing consumers with more access to a wide variety of fonts, for little hassle.

“SkyFonts essentially allows one-click installation and synchronisation of desktop fonts on up to five workstations. When Google saw SkyFonts, they came to us and said they’d like to use it to allow people who use Google Web Fonts to install them for desktop use,” said Roberts. “If you’re technical, installing fonts isn’t hard, but for most users, the idea of one-click seamless integration and a constant steady stream of updates from font designers is of interest. So we’re very excited Google likes the technology enough to endorse it and we're hopeful lots more people will be excited about using SkyFonts.”

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