At MAX 2011, Adobe announced it acquired Typekit, the hugely popular web fonts service. A press release states that "Typekit fonts will be offered as a standalone service and over time as part of Adobe Creative Cloud".
Lea Hickman, vice president, product management, Adobe, enthused about the deal, saying that typography is a "fundamental design element and something that designers want to be more creative with on websites", adding that the Typekit team has "delivered an outstanding service, empowering designers to present the power of the printed word in new ways — online and on devices."
Typekit CEO Jeffrey Veen said that joining Adobe "will accelerate our vision of reinventing the look and feel of [the web] through creative and beautiful fonts".
We asked prominent figures in web design and typography what they thought about the deal and how it will affect Typekit, Adobe, and web design as a whole.
Designer and illustrator Elliot Jay Stocks admitted that he's always apprehensive on hearing about small, innovative startups being acquired by huge, multinational corporations, but he nonetheless hopes Adobe's acquisition of Typekit will turn out to be a win-win situation.
"Adobe stands to benefit massively from a service that's garnered the respect of the web design and typography communities, and Typekit will have the resources and backing of a large company to keep improving its service," he said.
Stocks argued that both 'wins' will benefit customers, especially when Typekit is integrated into Adobe's core products, although he warned that Adobe would do well to allow Typekit to retain much of its independence: "Having a relatively small, extremely passionate team has, I'm sure, been a major factor in Typekit's success."
Self-described 'typomaniac' Erik Spiekermann also thinks this is a smart move and beneficial for the industry.
"With a heavyweight like Adobe behind it, web-font standards like EOF and WOFF cannot be ignored any more,” he said. “Adobe also has a lot of experience with rendering type. One of the main obstacles to the use of web fonts is still the fact that they render differently across platforms and browsers. What looks great on a Mac may look crappy on a PC, making the choice of fonts, their size and other parameters unpredictable. Hinting can help, and Adobe has tools that may automate some of the tedious work required to hint existing fonts for screen display."
Spiekermann added that the deal additionally means Adobe is now a distributor for other foundries' type, the ones that Typekit have under contract: "Quite ironic, as so far Adobe fonts are being distributed by companies like Monotype, Linotype, FontShop et al who also have their own foundries!"
Media designer Roger Black also believes the deal will be great for customers: "The new Adobe cloud service will provide a more pervasive way to use fonts, as well as more fonts. The move indicates that Adobe is beginning to understand the stuck-in-print challenge, both for customers and itself." However, he urges a little caution regarding the rest of the deal: "It's not clear how the foundries will react to getting their web fonts sucked into Adobe. Some like their independence, and Adobe is a competitor."