Hoefler & Frere-Jones (1970 – )

Obama and GothamGothamRetinaLandmarkVarious faces make up H&FJ's Numbers collection.Idlewild

Hoefler & Frere-Jones, or H&FJ, is a type foundry based in New York, NY. The collaborative effort of Jonathan Heofler and Tobias Frere-Jones, the existing foundry was born out of the Hoefler Type Foundry in 2004.

Both founders were born in New York in August 1970. In the earlier stages of life they both found type engaging. Hoefler drew a comparison between his affinity for codes, ciphers, and visual systems with typography in his adolescense. Primarily self-taught, he founded the Hoefler Type Foundry in 1989 and designed typefaces such as Hoefler Text, which is featured in Apple operating systems.

In Frere-Jones’ childhood, he recognized that a typeface can grant text a distinct feel from observing product labels. He went on to study graphic design at the Rhode Island School of Design. From 1992-97, Frere-Jones worked with Font Bureau, Inc. in Boston. During that time, he found himself constantly competing with Hoefler. A line of communication was established and the two type designers would advise each other. Finally, in 1999 they decided to form a partnership.

While often studying historical examples of type and type design methods to influence their work, H&FJ primarily work in the digital realm. Their focus is to create typefaces with the utmost clarity that evoke contemporary visual culture.

“With different types of content out in the world and the need to speak in different ways I think there will always be a need for new typefaces.” -Jonathan Hoefler

H&FJ compile visual examples to help cultivate their typefaces. Retina was designed to be used for stock listings in The Wall Street Journal and optimized for smaller sizes. It references 3,800 newspaper examples. One of their most successful faces, Gotham, was inspired by type found in Manhattan building signage archived by thousands of photographs. Gotham was designed for GQ Magazine in 2000 and was implemented in the 2008 Barack Obama Campaign and the Freedom Tower amongst a multitude of other examples.

Hoefler & Frere-Jones have worked with Nike, Wired, GQ Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, Gucci, Visa, Yahoo! and others on custom typography. The foundry continues to design and license typefaces, which can be viewed and purchased at Typography.com. They have recently launched cloud.typography, a web fonts service with optimized versions of their faces.


Riechers, Angela. “Jonathan Hoefler and Tobias Frere-Jones.” AIGA.

“Video: Jonathan Hoefler and Tobias Frere-Jones.” AIGA.

“About Us.” H&FJ.

“The type to form Obama’s character.” The Age.