A modern classic.
Steeped in the virtues of classical typography, Hoefler Text is a comprehensive family of typefaces from the dawn of the digital age.
When Jonathan Hoefler founded the company in 1989, digital typography was in its infancy. Few of the great type foundries had embraced electronic publishing in any significant way, and those that had were just beginning to tentatively remaster their most famous fonts for use on personal computers. Manufacturing their most important faces first, at a time when their production processes were at their weakest, meant that some of the world’s greatest typefaces were quickly becoming some of the world’s worst fonts. It’s no wonder that mossbacked traditionalists were so skeptical of the computer.
While the market for digital type was untested, the possibilities of the medium were apparent. For those font users willing to submit to annoying workarounds (remember the “expert set?”), digital type offered the potential for fonts to be not merely as good as traditional ones, but demonstrably better than anything that had gone before. Hoefler Text, designed in 1991, was an opening salvo in the fight for fine typography.
Following on the heels of the Adobe Originals program, which had just begun to introduce designers to such far-out concepts as “old-style figures” and “small caps,” Hoefler Text resuscitated a number of other traditions that had once been central to fine printing: extended ligature sets, the engraved capitals of the early twentieth century, and the arabesques of the renaissance. Hoefler Text even invented a few traditions of its own, such as case-specific punctuation and italic small caps, and worked to expand the reach of digital typography beyond the United States by including a wealth of foreign symbols and accents.
Hoefler Text’s steadfast agenda sparked the interest of developers at Apple, where a fledgling technology called “TrueType GX” was being created with the goal of making fine typography not only available to everyone, but effortless to use. Apple commissioned us to further expand the fonts, and licensed Hoefler Text for inclusion in System 7, the Macintosh operating system. While GX never emerged as a viable font format for designers, it did fulfill its original promise of turning Hoefler Text’s “advanced features” into a new baseline for digital typography. In the years since, small caps and old-style figures have become standard issue with the best text faces from all of the world’s great type foundries.