More Fonts Are Being Retired from Creative Cloud


Heads up, folks. On June 15, 2020 a number of fonts will be retired from Adobe’s Creative Cloud. In total, about 50 families/700 fonts from the foundries Font Bureau and Carter & Cone will no longer be available to sync. You can find more details in this post on the Adobe Support Community site.

It’s not the first time Adobe Fonts have gone away. Back in March, House Industries fonts were retired after 3 years of being offered in Typekit/Adobe Fonts. Here’s the official FAQ from Adobe on font retirement.
For InDesign users, this is potentially a very big (and bad) deal if you used those fonts in your projects. While the files for Adobe Fonts you’ve synced do reside on your computer, you can’t legally package them when you archive a project. So if you use fonts that get retired you’ll need to acquire new licenses for them from the foundry or change the fonts used in your files. The first option can be very expensive. The second one can be a production nightmare with text reflowing and going overset, glyphs disappearing, etc. So even if the new version of a project only required minor edits, you’ll need to plan for fixing and proofing the whole thing…which can also be very expensive.

Templates May Be Affected

Note that font retirement also affects InDesign templates, both those on Adobe Stock and potentially ones offered here. Though to date, I’m not aware of any fonts we’ve used in our premium templates being retired. This is obviously less of a problem if you’re starting a new project where you can simply pick a different font to begin with. From now on, in our templates we will use only fonts from Adobe (not the other foundries on Creative Cloud) and sources that seem stable (like Font Squirrel), to avoid the retirement problem.
Please don’t get me wrong; I’m not writing this post to criticize Adobe. I understand things change in business relationships, so it doesn’t surprise me that agreements between Adobe and font foundries don’t last forever. That’s life. There’s nothing in a Creative Cloud license that guarantees perpetual access to anything, including fonts. You pay your money and you take your chances. But I do think this is a significant drawback of using certain Adobe Fonts, that needs to be brought to the attention of every InDesign user before the problem affects them, which is why I’m writing this as a heads up. Be mindful of the retirement risk when you use Adobe Fonts (at least those from other foundries).

Editor in Chief of CreativePro and InDesign Magazine. Instructor at LinkedIn Learning with courses on InDesign, Illustrator, GIMP, Inkscape, and Affinity Publisher.
  • You many not want to criticize Adobe, but I will. Adobe’s font service is failing to look after its clients—meaning you and I. Adobe could have negotiated contracts with these companies that provide more security for us. For instance, it could pay a bit more and sign a contract with a much longer term, or it could have one that licenses those who’ve downloaded a font and already used it in a project. That would minimize our hassle and expense. I also suspect that, if Adobe were paying them better, these font companies would not be deserting Adobe.
    This is all too like the patent dispute Adobe had years ago in which the company apparently refused to pay royalties to another company and turned around and told us, their customers, that we could be sued by that company for using software that we had, in good faith, purchased from Adobe. Fortunately, that other company seemed to have the decency to not sue us.
    It really does look like Adobe’s near-monopoly status has gone to the heads of the company’s executives. They’ve come to believe that we’ll passively submit to almost anything they choose to do. That’s been particularly true since the company shifted to this pay-or-die subscription model.

    • Pu Koh says:

      Sooo right. It’s not like they don’t have money to pay for these fonts. How do they think this is remotely acceptable?!
      I think it’s time to look into affinity

  • Jose Antonio Pulgarin Alvarez says:

    I have bought the entire Affinity suite. With the current 50% discount it’s a bargain, and leaving aside the amount of innovative things it has, and its shortcomings today, it’s an almost certain bet for the future. Let’s not forget that it is still in version 1.8. I’m recommending it to all my friends.

  • Steve Werner says:

    >I think it’s time to look into affinity
    So how many fonts does Affinity offer, and do they guarantee they’ll distribute them forever?
    I’m not really sure what this has to do with the topic.
    I’ve tried Affinity products, and they have will be useful for a certain group of users, but wouldn’t work well for the great majority of designers I work with.

  • Jewelia Cameroon says:

    Something doesn’t seem quite right; but then, I’m new around these parts. If you made documents using the fonts while they were licensed, then it seems to me you should be able to embed the fonts to save your work.
    They font foundries (and creators) license their typefaces as their intellectual property. But the users documents are also intellectual property.
    Seems to me, Adobe works with type foundries to provide a few fonts of certain typefaces as a marketing scheme. (So I’m not sure Adobe pays other foundries anything in the first place). I can understand the foundry changing their mind such that their typefaces or sample fonts are not given away on Adobe anymore. But, I can’t see how they can do this in a way that reneges past licensed usage. Maybe they have that written into their stoney contracts but I can’t see how such would be legitimate (legal).
    Anyway, what I would do if I had to replace fonts, since I can’t afford an intellectual property lawyer to sue a foundry either, is to look up or calculate the x-height of the typeface in question using
    http://jkorpela.fi/x-height.html
    and look for typeface candidates having similar x-heights. The typeface normal/regular/book fonts can vary in size otherwise. Thus, i would plug these candidates into this Golden Ration Typography Calculator. That is plug in Font, Font Size and Content Width. Not for the Golden Ration calculations but because it also calculates “Approx. CPL” )Characters per Line. Fonts of similar x-height and CPL should minimize the problems of changing fonts cited above. It’s a hypothesis.

  • Roger Black says:

    Thank you, Mike Rankin for this post.
    If a designer wants to continue using Font Bureau and Carter & Cone fonts like Benton Sans and Miller in Adobe documents, there is a special offer at Type Network. Send e-mail to fontbureau@typenetwork.com and/or carterandcone@typenetwork.com. And with special cases, such as non-profit and school projects—for print and digital—we can do better.
    The Font Bureau made every effort over many months to get a fair deal from Adobe. The key issue is the definition of “single-user” license. When we started talking to Typekit, they charged for levels of page views, so that developers to came to the foundries for big web sites.
    As Adobe took over, the license was to bundle the fonts for their apps, then for MacOS and Windows, and now for iOS. Okay. But meanwhile Adobe was offering enterprise subscriptions at discount. We found that big companies assumed that if their designers are all on Creative Cloud, they could use the fonts for anything—including unlimited page views.
    There is nothing on the Adobe Fonts site that explains what single-user really means. (Just try a site search or a Google search.) The result was that Font Bureau was losing big clients, and not getting direct sales from companies that wanted to use the fonts. Adobe has never referred a single customer to Font Bureau for non-single-user licenses.
    This is just business, and we offered terms. But Adobe rejected them.
    Please note: Most Type Network foundries are still available in Creative Cloud, including fonts from Font Bureau alumni like Tobias Frere-Jones (Interstate), Richard Lipton (Canto), and David Jonathan Ross (Forma).
    Some Type Network foundries have seen good results from joining Adobe Fonts—particularly for families with unique and personal style, style may not be what the big companies want. (Yet.)
    Meanwhile, I’m hoping that Adobe will clear up the confusion about single vs. multiple-user or enterprise licenses. That would be good for all of us.
    _____________________________________________________________
    Note to Jewelia Cameroon: You can, of course, embed fonts in a PDF, and that way they are permanent. As long as there are PDF viewers.

  • Ruben Solér says:

    I learned this lesson the hard way when MyFonts retired their subscription service. I had hopes there wouldn’t be any retirement issues with Adobe Fonts, but I guess that was a bit too optimistic. Whenever possible I will only use Adobe Fonts for upcoming projects as well, although that is an incredibly lame restriction to work with. It is what it is though. Thanks for the warning, Mike!

  • Roger Black says:

    Thank you, Mike Rankin for this post.
    If you want to continue using Font Bureau and Carter & Cone fonts like Benton Sans and Miller in Adobe documents, there is a special offer at Type Network. Send e-mail to fontbureau@typenetwork.com or carterandcone@typenetwork.com. And with special cases, such as non-profit and school projects—for print and digital—we can help you out.
    The Font Bureau made every effort over many months to get a fair deal from Adobe. The key issue is the definition of “single-user” license. When we started talking to Typekit, they charged for levels of page views, so that developers to came to the foundries for big web sites.
    As Adobe took over, the license was to bundle the fonts for their apps, then for MacOS and Windows, and now for iOS. Okay. But meanwhile Adobe was offering enterprise subscriptions at discount. We found that big companies assumed that if their designers are all on Creative Cloud, they could use the fonts for anything—including unlimited page views.
    There is nothing on the Adobe Fonts site that explains what single-user really means. (Try a site search or a Google search.) The result was that Font Bureau was losing some big clients, and not getting direct sales from companies that wanted to use the fonts. Adobe has not a referred a single customer to Font Bureau for non-single-user licenses.
    Okay. This is just business, Adobe has its priorities, and we have ours. We offered terms. But Adobe rejected them.
    Please note: Most fonts from Type Network foundries are still available in Creative Cloud, including many from Font Bureau alumni like Tobias Frere-Jones (Interstate), Richard Lipton (Canto), and David Jonathan Ross (Forma).
    Several Type Network foundries have seen good results from joining Adobe Fonts—particularly for families with unique and personal style, style may not be what the big companies want. Yet.
    Meanwhile, I’m hoping that Adobe will clear up the confusion about single vs. multiple-user or enterprise licenses. That would be good for all of us.
    _ _ _
    Note to Jewelia Cameroon: You can, of course, embed fonts in a PDF, and that way they are permanent. As long as there are PDF viewers.

  • Brett Stone says:

    Is the “Adobe Support Community” even an official Adobe post, or just a forum hosed by Adobe?
    While I also understand that business relationships change over time, I don’t know that Adobe understands that its greatest fans and customers can also choose to change our relationship to Adobe.
    Adobe needs to be working a bit harder to keep me; I already went through this several years ago when in conversation with an exec at Quark I was told that creating layouts manually was a quaint way of making content.’ I get the desire to automate where possible, but even users who are very good at automating need access to the tools.
    Adobe Fonts will continue to hold value for short-term, one-off design and production. Customers who publish long-term will need to either accept the risk of possible change or bite bullet and pay for font licensing.

  • David Richter says:

    Everyday I find a new reason to leave Adobe behind. I already bought the Affinity suite – just gotta find time/motivation to figure out all the ins & outs and I’m done. I can’t wait to get off Adobe’s digital leash.

  • Steve Werner says:

    More power to you, David, if Affinity works for you. But this is a discussion of font availability on Creative Cloud, not an Adobe vs. Affinity debate. I’d like this useful discussion to stay on topic so people can get useful information. Thanks!

  • Ariel W says:

    No need to criticize Adobe. Business is business. But I stopped using subscription services for fonts a long time ago (both SkyFonts (non-Adobe) and Typekit), for the reason stated in this article and because too often the server was down or they were otherwise unavailable. Better to stick to fonts that live on your own computer and do not require online activation!

  • Ken Mcguire says:

    The complication is that clients will rebuke additional expenses for fonts they have used in their marketing materials. I suspect a few clients will insist agencies split the cost of fonts for continuity; while others will request finding open source options. Sadly for Font Bureau and Carter & Cone, the latter will probably be most common.

  • Susan Godel says:

    Business is business, but of course if feels like bait and switch. And I wonder how much trust to put in your advice, Mike, “From now on, in our templates we will use only fonts from Adobe (not the other foundries on Creative Cloud) and sources that seem stable (like Font Squirrel), to avoid the retirement problem.” I agree with you 99%, and yet, isn’t it possible that Adobe could choose to retire its own fonts? Or even sell them? Seems absurd at first, but think about how the buying and selling of other types of intellectual property or media has changed in the last 5 years.
    Another thought is how sad it is that the value of fonts was forever diminished when desktop publishing first arrived. The fact that fonts had no protection from piracy all those years made us all think that paying to own a font is something of a last resort. That has brought us to this point.

  • Phil says:

    Adobe needs criticizing heavily for this! They’re an $11 billion company, and they’re saying ‘screw you’ to both foundries and customers with this.

  • Gennifer Levey says:

    This is why I never have and never will use Adobe fonts through Creative Cloud. After 27 years working in this field, I have plenty of fonts and can buy one or two a year, if needed.

    • I worked with a publisher a while back that required all its compositors to use selections from the Adobe Font Folio 11 fonts, so I purchased the set and since have purchased other non-Adobe fonts as I need/want them. Subscription service for applications is one thing (debatable elsewhere), but for fonts, purchasing is better than subscribing.

    • Nina Messina says:

      That is the way I have operated for the last 30 years or so. I have always purchased the fonts that I needed. Now if we could just go back to purchasing the design software this nightmare would be over.

  • Peter Altschuler says:

    Adobe is the industry’s 800 pound gorilla and, after implementing its “no choice” subscription model that eliminated the sale of standalone editions, it smells just as bad as that simian beast. The company does what it does because it can. It does it because its bottom line is more important than its users’. It does it because it believes it’s invincible. It’s not.
    Even when I used Adobe’s main products, I never bought into its ancillary offerings. They were the equivalent of self-flagellation, especially when so many existing alternatives were (and remain) better options. Fonts was always one of those traps, and I consciously decided to avoid it. I wasn’t clarivoyant, anticipating a situation like this. I was simply unwilling to be enslaved by a firm that put customers last.
    Adobe is entrenched. There is no doubt about that. But in these desperate times, desperate measures may find fewer subscribers deciding that the core tools — Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, and Acrobat — are worth paying for when a single month’s subscription fee will buy an entire suite of standalone software.

  • Jean-Michel Missri says:

    I am leaving Adobe as well. Affinity Publisher and the whole Affinity suite are really great apps for a very low price. And now that Publisher perfectly imports idml files, I am transferring all my publishing work to Affinity.

  • Jean-Michel Missri says:

    Indesign secrets team, are you planning an AffinityPublisher Secrets website?

    • Mike Rankin says:

      There will definitely be Affinity tutorials and other content on our sister site, CreativePro.com in the near future.

    • Mike Rankin says:

      Also, in the meantime you could check out this video I did for the Affinity Lockdown 2020 series on YouTube. It’s 40 mins on the topic of moving content from InDesign to Publisher https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vhXC2gpex6w

      • Steve Werner says:

        I highly recommend Mike’s YouTube video. Most useful new information for me was the addition of their new product, IDMarkz, which exports from an InDesign IDML file to Affinity (among other destinations), carrying over much more information than a PDF can contain. Brings in master pages, layers, styles, etc. Well done!

  • Steve Werner says:

    Couldn’t edit my last comment: should say, “the addition of Markzware’s new product, IDMarkz,…”

  • Cheryl Boltz says:

    So what’s left? Comic Sans?

  • Peter says:

    This is why I _never_ used fonts from CS or any subscription plan. I only use fonts that I own or the client owns. Period.
    Can I just say what everyone knows, that these subscription plans for anything are HORRIBLE.

  • Nancy Melone says:

    I am a small operation. I design a non-profit magazine. I look for every opportunity to keep costs down for my organizations and this seemed like a good way to do that. In the past, I always used fonts in magazines that were owned by me or the organization…BUT I saw and fell in love with Escrow in its various forms. I took a chance, and now I am paying for it as it was recently removed. I am in the process of selecting new fonts for the non-profit magazine and will transition to those in the next issue — the cost of purchasing Escrow, etc. is way out of my and the organization’s budgets. I will probably still use some Adobe fonts for small, one-time projects (posters, flyers) as long as I use Adobe CC, but I learned my lesson on using it on serial projects such as a magazine. Just not worth the risk and extra work.

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