• Steven Heller

The Interweb of Fine Faces

When recently, Jonathan Hoefler was telling me about Hoefler & Co’s latest latest font family, Surveyor — an interpretation of engraved map lettering that has been about 17 years in development — he also mentioned his new web font service Cloud.typography,  which draws content from the entire Hoefler & Co font library.

The beautiful complex interplay of type and technology that has arisen so quickly since the first bitmap fonts never ceases to amaze me and Hoefler has be one of the pioneers of the font evolution, so I couldn’t help but ask him . . .

What makes Cloud.typography different from other web font services?

Cloud.typography was built by designers. Since we design typefaces, and we design with them, we built the service that we as designers wanted to use. We needed to be able to use our fonts’ advanced features, like small caps and swashes, and to deliver them to all browsers — even ones that aren’t supposed to support sophisticated typography. And we wanted to ensure that our fonts would excel at text sizes, a special challenge that most webfonts don’t take on.

This is obviously the state of the art, can you rest on your laurels for a bit? We’ve always brought a lot of rigor and attention to detail to our typefaces, and we wanted to bring these same qualities to the web, as well. One of the biggest parts of the project was creating a new generation of fonts that are specifically designed for the web: these are our ScreenSmart fonts, which aren’t “fonts on the web,” they’re fonts for the web. Adapted from some of our hardest-working font families, ScreenSmart fonts are completely redesigned for the browser, and engineered to be legible at the small sizes where we do most of our reading.

The future is hard to predict. But you can predict whether or not another generation or iteration of Cloud will be necessary. Right? The service undergoes continuous development, which means we’re constantly able to deliver new features for our clients. (We keep a running list of enhancements on our blog.) And as typeface designers, our ability to add new features to Cloud.typography gives us opportunities to think about bringing entirely new kinds of fonts to the web. We love using typography to solve problems, and we’re thrilled to be able to solve problems online with Cloud.typography.

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