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Shock closure for popular web font service

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

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

The rise of web fonts (opens in new tab) has transformed the way the web looks in the last decade. And pioneering service Fontdeck (opens in new tab), launched by Clearleft (opens in new tab) and OmniTI (opens in new tab) 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 (opens in new tab). 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

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."

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Tom May is an award-winning journalist and editor specialising in design, photography and technology. Author of the Amazon #1 bestseller Great TED Talks: Creativity (opens in new tab), published by Pavilion Books, Tom was previously editor of Professional Photography magazine, associate editor at Creative Bloq, and deputy editor at net magazine. Today, he is a regular contributor to Creative Bloq and its sister sites Digital Camera World, T3.com and Tech Radar. He also writes for Creative Boom and works on content marketing projects.