Shock closure for popular web font service

Fontdeck is closing. Here's why, and what you need to know about the web fonts currently on your site.

One of the big players in web fonts is shutting up shop

The rise of web fonts has transformed the way the web looks in the last decade. And pioneering service Fontdeck, launched by Clearleft and OmniTI in 2010, has been one of the key players in the FAAS (fonts-as-a-service) revolution.

So it's shocking news that this morning Fontdeck announced it is closing its doors.

The web design world has reacted with sadness to see the passing of what has generally been recognised as a high-quality, customer-focused service:

You don't have to panic quite yet if you're a Fontdeck user – the company will continue to serve fonts until 1 December 2016, they explain in this blog post. But they will no longer accepting any new accounts, project upgrades, or font purchases from 1 December 2015.

If your currently use FontDeck fonts, they recommend that you either license and self-host the fonts yourself or use another web font service within the next 12 months. All of FontDeck's foundry partners are now making their web fonts available for self-hosting, or through other services such as Typekit.

Most usefully, Fontdeck have put together a migration chart showing where you can get webfont licenses for each of its foundry partners.

But why?

Richard Rutter

As to why Fontdeck is closing, CEO Richard Rutter explains: "Since webfonts became a commercial viability in 2009 the landscape has changed. Professional web designers – which we count ourselves among – now demand and need more. More speed, more tailoring of fonts, case-by-case subsetting, specifying OpenType features, hinting only where necessary, WOFF2, flexible pricing options, and more besides. As a webfont service we felt it was incumbent upon us to be providing all this to our paying customers, and as web designers we felt this was the kind of service we should be receiving. This is where our decision to retire Fontdeck lay.

"Fontdeck could tick along as it was, but without significant investment we wouldn’t be able to improve the infrastructure or the features of our service. Fontdeck would eventually stagnate as our well funded competition gradually improved their services. That’s not something we wanted to happen. As neither OmniTI nor Clearleft have the resources to take Fontdeck to the next level, we had no desire to traipse around the Valley with a begging bowl; instead we took the decision to retire Fontdeck rather than let it wither on the vine."

Liked this? Read these!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom May is a freelance writer and editor specialising in design and technology. He was previously associate editor at Creative Bloq and deputy editor at net magazine, the world’s best-selling magazine for web designers. Over two decades in journalism he’s worked for a wide range of mainstream titles including The Sun, Radio Times, NME, Heat, Company and Bella. Follow him on Twitter @tom_may.