Hoefler & Co.

Hoefler & Co.
Industry Graphic design
Genre Typeface design
Predecessors Hoefler & Frere-Jones, Hoefler Type Foundry
Founded 1989/1997/2004/2014 (currently subject of legal dispute)
Founder Jonathan Hoefler, Tobias Frere-Jones (currently subject of legal dispute)
Headquarters New York City, United States
Number of locations
Key people
Jonathan Hoefler, Tobias Frere-Jones (formerly)
Products Archer, Gotham, Hoefler Text, Requiem, Surveyor, Whitney
Website www.typography.com

Hoefler & Co. (H&Co) is a type foundry in New York City run by type designer Jonathan Hoefler, which achieved its greatest fame while working with Tobias Frere-Jones under the name Hoefler & Frere-Jones from 1999 to 2014.[1] H&Co develops fonts for both the retail market and for individual clients. Clients include The New York Times, The Guardian, The Sun, The Times, and Esquire.[2]

The company was founded in 1989, and created original typefaces on commission for Rolling Stone, Sports Illustrated, Harper's Bazaar and The New York Times. H&Co remains heavily involved in editorial design, with recent commissions from Martha Stewart Living, The Wall Street Journal, Esquire, Wired and Condé Nast Portfolio as well as corporate typefaces created for Tiffany & Co., Nike, Inc., and Hewlett Packard. It has worked with a number of prominent institutions in New York City, including the headquarters of the United Nations, the Guggenheim Museum, the Whitney Museum, Lever House, Radio City Music Hall, and The New York Jets. Because of its connection to New York City history, its Gotham typeface was selected in 2004 for the cornerstone of One World Trade Center, to be built on the World Trade Center site.


The company's family Hoefler Text, showing its large range of features.

The company specialised in developing extremely complex, comprehensive fonts for use in newspapers and magazines requiring a wide range of styles: its Gotham typeface for GQ extends to 74 for print alone, and its Surveyor family to 100.[3][4][5] Its designs often took inspiration from the past and under-known aspects of typeface design, such as Soviet house numbers, metal lettering on bus terminals, engraved maps and old petrol pumps, but generally avoided direct historical revivals.[6] Bloomberg Businessweek commented that Hoefler and Frere-Jones bonded over a dislike of "so-called grunge typography, which trafficked in angst and messiness. Neither Frere-Jones nor Hoefler took to that trend, preferring a cleaner style based on historic typefaces."[7]

The company's work was profiled in The New York Times, Time, Esquire, Wallpaper, and Wired, as well as the design publications Baseline, Cap & Design, CreativePro, Communication Arts, Desktop, Eye, Design, Graphis Inc., I.D., Idea, IdN, Metropolis, Page, Print, Publish,and +81. H&Co's work is part of the permanent collections of both the Smithsonian Institution and the Victoria & Albert Museum, and has been recognized by the American Institute of Graphic Arts and the National Design Awards.


Jonathan Hoefler was the recipient of the 2002 Prix Charles Peignot for outstanding contributions to typeface design. In 2006, Tobias Frere-Jones received the prestigious Gerrit Noordzij Prize, an award given by the Royal Academy of Art (The Hague) to honor innovations in type design. In 2009, they became the first typeface designers to be recognized by the National Design Awards.[8] Both Hoefler and Frere-Jones are regular speakers at international conferences. The company's biography until its split stated, "Hoefler's work has been exhibited internationally, and is included in the permanent collection of the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum (Smithsonian Institution) in New York. In 2002, The Association Typographique Internationale (ATypI) presented Hoefler with its most prestigious award, the Prix Charles Peignot for outstanding contributions to type design. Hoefler and Frere-Jones' collaboration has earned them profiles in The New York Times, Time, and Esquire."[9]

Conflict between Hoefler and Frere-Jones

On January 16, 2014, designer Tobias Frere-Jones filed a lawsuit in the courts of New York state against Jonathan Hoefler.[10] The lawsuit alleges that Frere-Jones was entitled to own half of the type foundry, based on an oral agreement made in 1999. According to the alleged agreement, Frere-Jones transferred ownership of his fonts to the company for 10 USD and the company was renamed Hoefler & Frere-Jones. Frere-Jones contends that the foundry was intended to be run as an equal partnership. The New York Times commented, "Most outsiders, and even former employees, assumed that the two were, in fact, 50-50 partners,"[11] while Businessweek noted "Several designers I spoke with said they were under the impression that Hoefler was almost exclusively focused on managing the business in recent years, leaving design to Frere-Jones."[7] In a blog post the next day, the company's general counsel issued a statement on the foundry's website, saying "[the] allegations are not the facts, and they profoundly misrepresent Tobias’s relationship with both the company and Jonathan." This release announced the rebranding of H&FJ as Hoefler & Co., and described Frere-Jones as a 'longtime employee'.

The lawsuit was settled on 28 September 2014, shortly before the discovery phase of the trial was scheduled to begin.[12][13] The terms of the settlement were not disclosed.[12]



  1. Dunlap, David. "2 Type Designers, Joining Forces and Faces". New York Times. Retrieved 28 September 2014.
  2. "Tobias Frere-Jones - Design History Research". wordpress.com.
  3. "Gotham". H&FJ.
  4. "Gotham Rounded". H&FJ. Retrieved 28 September 2014.
  5. "Surveyor". H&FJ. Retrieved 28 September 2014.
  6. "Numbers". H&FJ. Retrieved 28 September 2014.
  7. 1 2 Brustein, Joshua. "Font War: Inside the Design World's $20 Million Divorce". Businessweek. Bloomberg. Retrieved 28 September 2014.
  8. "National Design Awards". Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum.
  9. "404: Not Found - Hoefler & Co.". typography.com.
  10. "INDEX NO. 650139/2014 TOBIAS FRERE-JONES, Plaintiff, against JONATHAN HOEFLER". New York Supreme Court. Jan 16, 2014. Retrieved 19 November 2014.
  11. Cohen, Noam. "Typography Partners Part Ways in Money Fight". New York Times. Retrieved 28 September 2014.
  12. 1 2 "The world's biggest typeface lawsuit just settled". Sep 29, 2014. Retrieved Feb 10, 2015.
  13. "Font Feud Finished: Hoefler & Frere-Jones Part Ways". Oct 2, 2014. Retrieved Feb 10, 2015.
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