Adobe Fonts

With Adobe Fonts it gets harder to use web fonts for client websites

Late 2018 Adobe announced that Typekit is now Adobe Fonts. This brought some great advantages to all Creative Cloud users, like no more limits with syncing desktop fonts, web font pageviews, and domains. The downside is, that using Adobe Fonts for client websites just got harder for it won’t be permitted to host them in the near future. And Typekit is no longer available as a stand-alone paid service. Here are some of my thoughts on this and what you can do.

I really liked Typekit. It offered an ever-expanding collection of mostly quality typefaces and transformed web typography for me. For eight years it was my go-to place for finding and hosting web fonts for client work. In the beginning, I served web fonts for my clients via my Typekit account, but with the years I switched all of them to their own paid Typekit plans because I always want them to be as independent of me as possible (especially when it comes to technical infrastructure). Unfortunately, with the shift to Adobe Fonts, this will no longer be possible.

No more web font hosting for client websites

With the recent developments Adobe will only allow you to use their web fonts on your own personal or company website and not for client websites:

The Terms of Use currently permits agency reselling, until December 31, 2019. After that time, your client would need their own Creative Cloud subscription to use for the web font hosting.

Font licensing FAQ,

The cheapest Typekit plan costed around € 50 per year, a Creative Cloud subscription could cost up to € 60 per month and that is clearly an unreasonable amount of money for a client if they only want Adobe to host web fonts and don’t need the applications.

Luckily there is a loophole

… but it feels kind of dubious. Now Adobe Fonts are included in all subscription plans of all products, even in the cheapest (which is  InCopy). So if a client would purchase a subscription for this individual product (for approximately 72 € a year), then they can use all the Adobe Fonts, for web hosting and even for desktop syncing.

And there is still a basic library that comes with a free Creative Cloud account (without any subscription). Adobe’s support wrote to me:

The basic library is a small, limited selection of fonts, formerly Typekit Free. If you sign into Adobe Fonts with an Adobe ID that has no subscription, you’ll see which fonts are included in the basic library.

So there are ways, but it still feels a little fishy and even unprofessional to recommend a client using their web fonts this way. Adobe clearly targets designers now – and yes, they made it much easier for us using their fonts as creatives – but harder to recommend hence use the web service for client work.

Existing Typekit plans will have to upgrade

When I wrote to the Typekit Support asking what will happen with the existing Typekit plans of my clients they replied:

All standalone Typekit plans have been retired, and everyone will need a Creative Cloud subscription that includes Adobe Fonts in order to keep using fonts on a website or in your desktop software in the future.

This means they might go for the lowest-cost option, the InCopy CC plan. But there might be another way.

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Go for alternatives

For me personally, this motivates me to license web fonts directly through the foundries or use alternatives. I would prefer hosting web fonts myself on my server and not through a CDN like Typekit. It gives me more control, you don’t need JavaScript and you can influence how the fonts load with font-display. And I’m not the only one who considers moving away from Adobe Fonts, Donny Tr??ng recently did.

And a lot of foundries provide you with a different licensing model. You license your font for a specific domain or a certain amount of pageviews and only pay once. This makes them more attractive to small clients, the entry barrier is lower. It’s a model mostly based on trust, they won’t add any JavaScript to verify if you really are within the licensed pageviews.

But still, for small projects, Typekit was the better choice, especially when it comes to foundries like Dalton Maag. If a client won’t use Adobe Fonts, self-hosting is the only option with fonts from Dalton Maag. And then one font style costs around € 50 for one domain name for one year (with no limits on the number of visitors or pageviews served). This makes sense for bigger projects that need a fixed budget, for smaller projects Dalton Maag’s web fonts just became no option. If my website would not use Adobe Fonts and self-host their beautiful Bressay, it would add up to 200 € per year for web fonts alone – this is the budget small clients might pay once, but not an annual basis for web fonts.

And there are other CDN services like FontStand or TypeNetwork. After all, I could still use the fonts via Adobe Fonts on my system to do the design and then I recommend my client to license them directly. But this just made it much more work to research prices before choosing a typeface. Before the shift it was so easy – I knew every typeface on Typekit I can use for client work.

Typekit was the place for web fonts – it made them accessible and affordable for many designers and customers. With Adobe Fonts it transformed into being a great tool for mostly designers but not necessarily a web font service anymore. And this makes me sad. Don’t get me wrong, I really appreciate the limitless desktop fonts I can use for my designs now, but I miss the focus on web fonts, at least for client work. What are your thoughts on this? I’m happy to read it in the comments below or hit me up on Twitter.


  1. Hi Oliver! I agree with your thoughts here. While I’m a fairly new freelance designer so I never used Typekit for clients, I’m now dealing with the problem with how to license Adobe Fonts for client websites. Curious to see how you’re working around it these days – do you just avoid using Adobe Fonts for clients and getting them directly from the foundries or other websites like you said?

    1. Hi Teresa, thanks for your comment! Basically, I now try to avoid using Adobe Fonts for hosting and forward my client projects to the foundries directly or to other merchants like MyFonts or Fontstand. It made the process of choosing a suitable font much more work, but that’s, unfortunately, the way it is …

  2. I agree with you Oliver.

    I had already started to use Fontstand before, to rent fonts, but now I’m going in that direction even more. Mainly fonts from new type foundries, of course. They now offer 3 free trial hours, and you can rent the fonts for just one month if you need to do so. The client can split the rental in 12, at a 1/10 of the font’s price. After 12 months they give you a perpetual license, you can download the desktop font too and you can keep on using the web version. Really handy for clients, even those who don’t want to pay too much for fonts, since they don’t fully understand the importance of typography: they can split the cost in 12, even if — of course — you pay a little more in the end (1/10 of the total cost x 12 months). But you don’t have to pay the full fee in just one payment. Plus, a lot of fonts on FontStand come with both desktop and web version included.

    I still don’t understand why Adobe decided to stop supporting their web fonts as a stand-alone product. It’s a pity, as you say there’s now so much more work to do if we want to propose good typefaces to our clients.

    1. Thanks for your thoughts, Maurizio! I totally agree and it motivates me to try out Fontstand for one of my next projects!

  3. Hi Oliver, recenty I needed Futura for one of my clients ecommerce website. I checked Adobe’s licence and I was dissapointed. So I started googling and I’ve found font rental service: They have many ParaType fonts, but you can find other foundries as well. Rental is just cheaper than Fontstand(which I really like). The drawback is, in my opinion, that they serve fonts as base64 encoded in css file.
    I’m not affiliate with them. Just a user.
    Have nice day.

  4. Font licensing has become such a laborious thing to manage. I thought things were going to get simpler with Typekit, but this development has just added to the complexity. And it’s another really cynical move by Adobe to funnel people into their pricey Creative Cloud loop. Fontspring is a reliable place for buying easier-to-manage licenses but it still works out expensive for high volume apps. There’s an ever growing trend in finding an open source alternative to a desktop licensed font, and Google Fonts are cornering the market. So, Adobe are actually working against the creative industries by making this move. Because at the end of the day, the simplest solution for designers is to use Google Fonts: free fonts which bypass typographers pockets.

  5. Great article! I’m considering moving away from Adobe for other products as well, but Typekit alone was worth it to just stay with their cloud.
    Your InCopy hack will make it much easier now. Paying €6/month to have access to all of Adobe Fonts is actually a great bargain.

  6. I don’t really get it. If I design a wordpress site for a client, I can’t use adobe fonts in it?

    This is weird since in the font page, under usage, it specifically list websites, with a small check mark next to it. Adobe also gives you an explanation how to add the font to your site.

    So is this all for my website specifically? This is kind of weird, since 99% of every designer’s projects are for clients. This basically makes Adobe Fonts unusable for web design.

    Am I missing something?

    1. Upnorth Design Studio, you can use Adobe webfonts as long as you have a CC licence. Typekit stand-alone subscription isn’t available any more and webfonts are included in CC plans/software. Only a few clients use Adobe software, so… no CC plans/software, no Adobe webfonts. Since I suppose you use your subscription while designing a website but then you need a proper license for your client when you’re in production stage.

      There’s a kind of hack, anyway. As Oliver pointed out, clients can subscribe to InCopy (€ 6/month) that includes access to Adobe webfonts. I know that InCopy is no use for a lot of clients, but it lets them use webfonts for a small amount of money 🙂

      Anyway, it’s a pity that Typekit is no more a stand-alone product. And let’s hope that Adobe won’t change the InCopy license.

  7. Having to work around this font licensing issue shows what happens because of Mergers & Acquisitions. You’re screwed! It’s all about money. Adobe is a strange company where they have some wonderful products, and then they screw them up with their own craziness/incompetence via updates that mess up your work environment. That seems to be fixed lately(finally!). But the company never loses sight of getting the most revenue possible from every situation.
    All they want is your dollars/euros.
    Consequently, any work-around you can devise should be used to keep your clients from having to pay the newest thieves on the block.


  8. For now the next cheapest workaround is the Adobe CC Photography plan. It’s US$9.99/month and includes PhotoShop, LightRoom and now the Fonts. This plan is actually useful. After that it’s Acrobat Pro for $14.99/month which is useful to many businesses.

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