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The ugly side of making beautiful fonts

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How Tobias and Jonathan's Excellent Adventure turned sour

Hoefler & Co.

Tobias Frere-Jones and Jonathan Hoefler are two of the world's most renowned typeface designers. Until recently, they were also friends and close collaborators. Earlier this year, however, their longstanding relationship ruptured with the filing of a lawsuit by Frere-Jones, demanding that he be compensated for his share of the Hoefler & Frere-Jones partnership. Having been promised an equal share of the company, the designer alleges, he was conned out of it by Hoefler who instead designated him as an employee in company documents. Hoefler has since filed a counterclaim against his once-collaborator, who he had initially invited to join him with the charming idea of setting up a company called Tobias and Jonathan's Excellent Adventure. In a summary of the history between the two men, Businessweek sets out the development of their joint work and the way they've helped drive the growing importance of lettering in all aspects of life.