Font war: inside the design world’s $20 million divorce

Bloomberg BusinessWeek:

For 15 years, Frere-Jones and Hoefler seemed charmed. They made typefaces that rendered the stock charts in the Wall Street Journal readable and helped Martha Stewart sell cookbooks.

In January, Frere-Jones filed a lawsuit against Hoefler, saying that their company was not actually a partnership, but a long con in which Hoefler had tricked him into signing over the rights to all of his work, cheating Frere-Jones out of his half of the business.

Sad, fascinating story. Watch the two men in happier times in the short film, “Font Men”.



  • Moeskido

    This hurts. While Frere-Jones’ story sounds very familiar—and very likely—I want to know all the facts before I express a strong opinion about what happened between the two.

    • matthewmaurice

      This is a frickin’ real-time soap opera for type geeks. I’m sure a lot more of those facts will come out once this goes to trial, if it does. If Hoefler is as business savvy as it appears he is, he’ll settle. As it stands now, even if everything was legal, he’s clearly been less than transparent and informative with his, ostensible, business “partner.” That should give, at least some, pause to anyone considering entering a business relationship with this guy. Stealing a business, even if you do it legally, isn’t much good when no one will do business with you afterward.

      • Moeskido

        I want to hear more facts before I feel totally comfortable despising Hoefler for allegedly stringing Frere-Jones along. That said, the few things I’ve read don’t look very good.

  • matthewmaurice

    I know one thing, Frere-Jones will be reading contracts and legal agreements a lot more closely in the future.

  • matthewmaurice

    Oh, irony of an ad for Fonts by Hoefler & Co. appearing on THIS page!