Adobe, the software giant for the design and digital world has acquired Typekit, the website typeface enabler. Announced at Adobe’s Annual MAX conference late 2011 by CTO Kevin Lynch, the new acquisition was explained as part of the company’s “Creative Cloud” strategy.
Launched in September 2009 by Small Batch, Inc. Typekit was founded by Jeffrey Veen, Bryan Mason, Greg Veen, and Ryan Carver in San Francisco. The company had been designing and developing web apps as a team for some time; in 2006, they built Measure Map, the blogging statistics tool later acquired by Google. Whilst at Google, they led the redesigned Analytics, the powerful web traffic measurement tool used worldwide. Additional projects included a collaboration with Twitter on user experience, and Wikirank, a trend analysis tool for Wikipedia. On launching Typekit, CEO Jeffrey Veen said ““Typography is the last missing piece of great web design.”“We’re working closely with type designers to create a new market for their work.”” (via Typekit).
Now to be part of Adobe’s latest strategy, Adobe® Creative Cloud, the team are “thrilled”. There honestly is no better place for us to continue building our platform. But perhaps even more significantly, this represents a huge step forward in bringing fonts to the web.” (via Typekit). The landscape and capabilities of web design have changed greatly since Typekit launched in 2009; “Few sites used web fonts when we got started; today, new sites seldom launch without them. Typekit now serves nearly three billion fonts per month on over one million different sites, including some of the most recognized brands on the web.”
Adobe is enthusiastic about the collaboration too. Lea Hickman, Vice President said typography is a “fundamental design element and something that designers want to be more creative with on websites”, and 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.”(via Netmagazine). Typekit will remain a standalone product, and will become a critical part of Adobe’s Creative Cloud, the newest evolution of Adobe products offering a web based, “cloud” approach to accessing documents and applications. The team will also continue working together under the Adobe buyout, and say they are “excited to start working on even easier ways to integrate web fonts into (sic) workflow.”
Netmagazine surveyed some key design industry figures about their opinion on the acquisition, which has occurred as another giant, Google, has bought out several smaller organizations to consolidate resources. Erik Spiekermann thinks the move is beneficial for the industry, saying “With a heavyweight like Adobe behind it, web-font standards like EOF and WOFF cannot be ignored any more,” (via Netmagazine) “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.”
Typekit are optimistic that “This news doesn’t mean we’ve crossed the finish line. Actually, we’ve really only just completed the first lap. The race to improve the web will only get faster. I hope you’re enjoying the ride”.