Elliot Jay Stocks is a designer, speaker, and author. He is the Creative Director of Adobe Typekit, the founder of typography magazine 8 Faces, one half of Viewport Industries, and an electronic musician.

More reasons to get excited about Typekit

Posted on 20 August 2009 30 comments

Article illustration for More reasons to get excited about Typekit

‘The font-as-service’, the article I wrote for I Love Typography a couple of weeks ago, seemed to go down relatively well (it got comments from such type legends as Jonathan Hoefler and Erik Spiekermann, no less!), but I think I accidentally gave the impression that I was anti-Typekit.

Not so.

Typekit, like Fontdeck and the other font delivery services emerging online, is a very exciting development and I think my criticisms may have been given a little too much emphasis, so my apologies for that. Importantly, one of my major peeves — the way that Typekit handles the font stack — is actually now changing thanks to the API, so thanks to Jason and Jeffrey for clarifying that in the comments.

However, as well as setting the record straight about my feelings towards Typekit, the real reason I’m returning to the subject so quickly is because today has seen the first indication of its pricing structure, thanks to a screengrab doing the rounds on Twitter. At $49.99 a year for the ‘Portfolio’ plan, I’m pretty happy with the price and will be glad to pay that once my free beta testing period is over.

One question I do have, though, is about the number of sites I’m then able to use it on. Don’t get me wrong: I think $49.99 a year for five sites is extremely good value. But what happens when I want to add a sixth site? Do I have to jump up to the ‘Corporate’ plan and pay $49.99 a month? I’m assuming not, but would anyone from Typekit like to clarify that point?

(I’m guessing the answer is on typekit.com/plans — the URL given on Get Satisfaction — but at the time of writing it no longer appears to be active.)

30 comments

  1. Laura

    Laura

    20 August 2009 @ 06:51PM #

    I am a little concerned about Year 2, and whether the yearly discount is a permanent feature or not. That’s a pretty big difference – $50 a year vs. $200+ a year. Would make it trickier to include the cost in a quote to a client.

  2. Chris Wallace

    Chris Wallace

    20 August 2009 @ 06:53PM #

    Yeah, another question is whether you should be the one paying for licenses on websites you’ve done for clients or if they pay that cost. I mean, I may be completely happy to set them up with a typekit license because I’m stoked about a design I’ve done for them, but what happens after a year? I don’t want to keep paying for them to have that license. How do I transfer it to them so they control it.

    This is a common problem with hosting. Rather than host a client site, I’d rather just score some affiliate revenue by referring them to a trusted provider. Thoughts?

  3. devolute

    devolute

    20 August 2009 @ 06:54PM #

    That pricing structure screen-shot is pretty exciting, especially considering the lack of competition at this stage. I think now it all depends on the foundries and how much we can get for our 49.99 a year in terms of what’s in the library.

  4. Peredo

    Peredo

    20 August 2009 @ 06:55PM #

    best regards to you, I hope you’re ok, I just try to say that your job is one of my main sources, I read your interview at net+ tuts and it was great,
    thank you for share your knowledge with us

  5. ArleyM

    ArleyM

    20 August 2009 @ 06:56PM #

    The site limitations are troubling. I’d really like to see an unlimited option somewhere. I also would prefer a one-time feel as opposed to yearly, even though it’s harder to write-off.

    Less-fuss, less-muss!

    Also, some font organization, but that’s for another post.

  6. Julian Schrader

    Julian Schrader

    20 August 2009 @ 06:59PM #

    I just got my invite yesterday and thought about using Typekit for a current project when I tried it this morning.

    So far, I came to saying “No”. Like Laura & Chris, I first need a way to be able to make the client pay his own font-fee.

    With the current setup, I can use Typekit on my own sites, but not for client work (unless they have their own Typekit account).

  7. Guðmundur Bjarni Sigurðsson

    Guðmundur Bjarni Sigurðsson

    20 August 2009 @ 07:03PM #

    This is all looking pretty good. But the 50$ a month is too much for most people.

    Of course we can always work around this and use free fonts on www.dafont.com, just find the ones are royalty free. Find a hack for IE and your good to go.

  8. Greg

    Greg

    20 August 2009 @ 07:19PM #

    Typekit has me very excited to start using fresh fonts for my new projects. One aspect I’d love to see addressed is the issue of client-usage.

    There should be some method to easily harness the power of Typekit for client sites, without the need for clients to have their own Typekit account. Whether this means “upgrading” or changing from the Portfolio ($49.99/year) plan to a new Designer or Clients plan, I believe most users would do so.

    I’m loving the current features & eagerly await being able to directly edit and “touch” the CSS for font stacks. I can handle the JS handling the CSS for the time being, but it feels very unnatural.

    Thanks for the article(s) Elliot.

  9. Erwin Heiser

    Erwin Heiser

    20 August 2009 @ 07:21PM #

    Most small-to-medium sized companies I normally work for are not going to shell out 49$/month just to use a certain font on their website. Simply not.

  10. Steven L Braun

    Steven L Braun

    20 August 2009 @ 07:26PM #

    Sounds like the new RIAA. One site will cost $10/year (basically). Multiply that by the number of sites that need this improvement and we’re talking REAL money!

  11. Brian Warren

    Brian Warren

    20 August 2009 @ 07:33PM #

    Yes I too am super excited. I gladly tossed in my $50 for the first year, mostly just so I could have access to all the fonts.

    Like Laura above, I’m a little nervous about year 2. That’s a pretty big jump.

  12. Chris Korhonen

    Chris Korhonen

    20 August 2009 @ 08:09PM #

    I’m quite excited about it, and was about to hand over $49.99 for the portfolio package until I noticed that for year 2 and beyond it would go up to $17/month. For me that just feels like too much, I’d rather pay up-front rather than monthly and as someone above already pointed out, makes it harder to budget for when quoting to clients.

    I would absolutely love a $49.99/year package which gave me the same usage limits as the portfolio package, but perhaps with a smaller font library and the ability to pay for additional fonts on an as-needed basis?

    The other thing that put me off, and eventually had me signing up for the free account was that there were no previews of the available fonts – somewhat annoying.

    I hope the folk at Typekit are taking notes!

  13. John

    John

    21 August 2009 @ 12:39AM #

    Wow!

  14. Brendan Falkowski

    Brendan Falkowski

    21 August 2009 @ 12:47AM #

    The Year Two assumptions seem premature; a discounted annual sum could become available long-term even if the introductory offer expires. The Sixth Site question on Portfolio plans is one I’d like answered. The ad-hoc pricing model works for McDonalds: I’d like an octo-cheeseburger with bacon. Just $0.60 for each extra “meat” slab.

  15. Sam Wieck

    Sam Wieck

    21 August 2009 @ 01:12AM #

    When I first saw the screenshot I thought that the prices seemed super reasonable. It didn’t dawn on me that the $17/month was incumbent after the first year.

    However I think it’s important to remember that at the moment most of what we’re talking about is still speculative to a degree. I imagine that their pricing coming year 2 will probably be affected by the popularity of the service, customer feedback et cetera. Speculating about next year’s pricing seems like a sideline ‘issue’ with TypeKit.

    When I say issues I don’t mean problems. I mean questions that have been raised already: adding a sixth site, best way to charge clients and so on. Those are questions that I’m sure will come to be answered when TypeKit are ready to answer them. The people behind aren’t mugs – from all reports – and I’m sure there’s more information to be imparted in good time.

  16. Chris Korhonen

    Chris Korhonen

    21 August 2009 @ 02:59AM #

    I’m just going by what it says on the purchase page:

    “After the first year, your plan will revert to our standard rates”

    I really want to use typekit, but don’t want to deal with the uncertainty of how much it will cost going forward, and what are the implications to my site if its too expensive.

  17. Ian P. Hines

    Ian P. Hines

    21 August 2009 @ 07:19AM #

    I just got my invite about 20 minutes ago, and I’ve been pretty impressed. Not only is the site pretty straightforward, but the pricing structure seems pretty reasonable.

    I won’t be utilizing TypeKit myself, but that’s primarily because I don’t feel the need for the additional fonts: I’m quite happy using Helvetica Neue in my current design. But more generally speaking, this is some very exciting stuff.

  18. Raphael

    Raphael

    22 August 2009 @ 01:17PM #

    I dont’k know the sans-serif font you’re using for the paragraphs in this page (I assume it is served via TypeKit), but it looks orrible and barely legible in Windows (also with cleartype active). Standard (and free) web fonts (Verdana, Georgia and Co.) can be ubiquitous, but at least they are beautiful on screen, also in Windows (the most popular operating system in the world).

  19. Ben

    Ben

    23 August 2009 @ 08:49AM #

    I’m all for some serious development of fonts on the web – after all, they are an important aspect of design OFFline, and they have been since at least the invention of the printing press.

    But..

    But.. I am extremely wary of the very idea of such rabid protection of the fonts themselves. DRM? Give me a break, shouldn’t the font foundries take a lesson from the music industry and avoid that like the plague?

    But.. I am extremely wary of the very idea of such rabid protection of the fonts themselves. DRM? Give me a break, shouldn’t the font foundries take a lesson from the music industry and avoid that like the plague?In the original article, it was said that protection of the fonts was a major reason @font-face hasn’t been fully implemented. But Firefox and Safari use it; and as usual Microsoft is the real hold-out. Microsoft may well be the king of annoying DRM, validation, and all other annoying side-effects of digital copyright protection.

    But.. I am extremely wary of the very idea of such rabid protection of the fonts themselves. DRM? Give me a break, shouldn’t the font foundries take a lesson from the music industry and avoid that like the plague?In the original article, it was said that protection of the fonts was a major reason @font-face hasn’t been fully implemented. But Firefox and Safari use it; and as usual Microsoft is the real hold-out. Microsoft may well be the king of annoying DRM, validation, and all other annoying side-effects of digital copyright protection.I think the solution is for font foundries to let go of the idea of getting average Joe to pay out the wazoo for fonts. Average Joe is getting them for free, anyway – “illegally” or otherwise. I use free fonts with open licensing for my web projects, and I’m happy to use established “common” fonts in the stack until @font-face works across all the browsers.

    But.. I am extremely wary of the very idea of such rabid protection of the fonts themselves. DRM? Give me a break, shouldn’t the font foundries take a lesson from the music industry and avoid that like the plague?In the original article, it was said that protection of the fonts was a major reason @font-face hasn’t been fully implemented. But Firefox and Safari use it; and as usual Microsoft is the real hold-out. Microsoft may well be the king of annoying DRM, validation, and all other annoying side-effects of digital copyright protection.I think the solution is for font foundries to let go of the idea of getting average Joe to pay out the wazoo for fonts. Average Joe is getting them for free, anyway – “illegally” or otherwise. I use free fonts with open licensing for my web projects, and I’m happy to use established “common” fonts in the stack until @font-face works across all the browsers.Do I think fonts are wonderful and that their makers deserve to be compensated? Absolutely; but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have to figure out how to work in the “real” world – online and off. Holding back development of fonts on the web for reasons of copyright security seems doomed to failure – it didn’t work for music, it won’t work for this.

    But.. I am extremely wary of the very idea of such rabid protection of the fonts themselves. DRM? Give me a break, shouldn’t the font foundries take a lesson from the music industry and avoid that like the plague?In the original article, it was said that protection of the fonts was a major reason @font-face hasn’t been fully implemented. But Firefox and Safari use it; and as usual Microsoft is the real hold-out. Microsoft may well be the king of annoying DRM, validation, and all other annoying side-effects of digital copyright protection.I think the solution is for font foundries to let go of the idea of getting average Joe to pay out the wazoo for fonts. Average Joe is getting them for free, anyway – “illegally” or otherwise. I use free fonts with open licensing for my web projects, and I’m happy to use established “common” fonts in the stack until @font-face works across all the browsers.Do I think fonts are wonderful and that their makers deserve to be compensated? Absolutely; but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have to figure out how to work in the “real” world – online and off. Holding back development of fonts on the web for reasons of copyright security seems doomed to failure – it didn’t work for music, it won’t work for this.I’m hoping that these online solutions end up servings as a handy means, and not as a workaround for an artificial problem.

  20. Encyclopædic type | More On Design

    Encyclopædic type | More On Design

    31 August 2009 @ 03:04AM #

    […] hero’ branded a vandal Blanka: Müller-Brockmann Focus on FontStructors – Paul D. Hunt More reasons to get excited about Typekit Automatic page numbering Typekit pricing T Magazine Typemytype.com font creation tools — via IKEA […]

  21. Encyclopædic type - WEMAKECHANGES

    Encyclopædic type - WEMAKECHANGES

    02 September 2009 @ 12:06AM #

    […] hero’ branded a vandal Blanka: Müller-Brockmann Focus on FontStructors – Paul D. Hunt More reasons to get excited about Typekit Automatic page numbering Typekit pricing T Magazine Typemytype.com font creation tools — via IKEA […]

  22. Elliot Jay Stocks

    Elliot Jay Stocks

    04 September 2009 @ 10:11PM #

    That is very exciting Elliot. I can’t wait.

  23. Ehab

    Ehab

    05 September 2009 @ 02:11PM #

    Its a little too expensive for young people like me. I got my invite along with you and tried out a couple of the free fonts.

    I’d still stick with font-face, cufon and EOT (for IE x( )

  24. Steve Yakoban

    Steve Yakoban

    13 September 2009 @ 12:43AM #

    It’s a great concept, but the pricing is going to limit it to a more commercial market and keep it from web sites for small companies or individuals.

  25. Garry

    Garry

    09 October 2009 @ 05:23PM #

    Interesting and informative.A must read for all new starters and professionals.This is actual work and output order.

  26. Loy15

    Loy15

    11 October 2009 @ 04:30AM #

    We are happy to resend any missing acknowledgement file when requested to do so. ,

  27. Encyclopædic type | meshdairy

    Encyclopædic type | meshdairy

    29 October 2009 @ 11:19AM #

    […] hero’ branded a vandal Blanka: Müller-Brockmann Focus on FontStructors – Paul D. Hunt More reasons to get excited about Typekit Automatic page numbering Typekit pricing T Magazine Typemytype.com font creation tools — via IKEA […]

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