Monotype Imaging Holdings Inc., a leading provider of typefaces, technology and expertise for creative applications and consumer devices, has acquired Design By Front Limited, developers of the Typecast application, a browser-based tool for designing Web pages with Web fonts.
Monotype acquired all outstanding shares of the privately-held, 14-person firm based in Belfast, Northern Ireland, for up to $5.1 million in cash. Monotype paid $2.6 million in cash upon closing, with an additional $100,000 accrued pending final adjustments, with the remainder to be paid contingent on attainment of certain performance criteria through 2014.
The acquisition is expected to enhance Monotype's product offering, add complementary skill sets to the company's creative expertise, and strengthen Monotype's growth businesses, particularly in Web font services.
"Typecast fits neatly into our strategy of adding IP that complements our solutions and provides meaningful value to customers," said Doug Shaw, president and chief executive officer of Monotype. "The Web has become a critical publishing platform, where brands need to represent themselves with clarity and consistency across connected devices. As a typographic design tool, we believe Typecast has the potential to take Web fonts to a whole new level of productivity and creative expression. We're excited to welcome the Typecast team and to add this innovative technology to our solutions portfolio."
"Good typography is essential for Web design. That's the fundamental idea behind Typecast," said Paul McKeever, managing director and co-founder of Design By Front. "We created Typecast simply to make it easier to work with Web fonts, and to give Web designers precise typographic control to make the Web a more beautiful, readable place. We look forward to bringing to the Web design community a powerful application that's actually easy and fun to use."
Employees of the newly acquired company will continue to work from their current locations, with the Belfast office serving as the main development hub for Typecast.
Currently in public beta, Typecast enables Web designers to combine, compare and style Web fonts quickly without performing screen captures in third-party applications or through hand coding. Users can visually style text directly within the browser, which offers more scope for creative experimentation, better typographic control as well as a simplified workflow, thanks to Typecast's ability to generate production-ready HTML and CSS code behind the scenes, as designers work.
Web designers are also free to make various adjustments such as font size, line spacing and coloring, in addition to employing OpenType features including ligatures, small caps, fractions, lining and old style figures, and swash characters. Designers can try fonts with all pieces of content, not just small snippets. Side-by-side comparison and testing allow users to see at a glance what's working and what's not. Styles can be adjusted across entire projects with just a few clicks.
Typecast will be offered alongside Monotype's Web font solution, combining high-quality Web fonts with Typecast's easy-to-use typographic design capabilities. Monotype'sFonts.com Web Fonts features thousands of typefaces, including timeless designs such as the Trade Gothic, Avenir and ITC Avant Garde Gothic families, in addition to cutting-edge selections and hand-tuned fonts. Typecast customers, however, can continue using any Web font solution that Typecast supports, including the Fonts.com Web Fonts, Typekit, Fontdeck and Google Web Fonts offerings.
Typecast represents the latest innovation in Monotype's portfolio of products aimed at enhancing productivity and creative expression for today's graphics professionals. Last month, Monotype announced its SkyFonts service, now in private beta, which expands creative freedom through cloud-based, rental access to fully functional desktop fonts. Customers are able to try thousands of fonts for free within any desktop application and then rent selected fonts for as long as they're needed.