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Type on the Web

Bobby Arispe | April 19, 2011

The internet has long been the land of Arial, Verdana, and Times. Typography on the web has been a boring and lonely place. Designers had to stumble through a handful of cross-platform system fonts and hack their way to well set type on their website designs. There have been work-arounds; flash-based websites have allowed for specific fonts to be designed into site, but with the advances in HTML 5 and everyone’s goal of better SEO, the full flash website is slowly fading. Static graphics were created that allowed for parts of a website to include integrated branding, i.e., a client's specific typeface, but with more images comes longer load times and the copy inside images is not searchable and easily editable.

 

2011 is shaping up to be the year of the Web Font. Beautiful, well set typography is now attainable through the use of a new crop of web-font services. The web-font revolution is quickly gaining popularity in website design and has the potential of being the new standard in website typography. But why are designers, advertisers, and marketers getting so excited about integrating new and specific typefaces into their websites? Constant branding across print and the web, beautiful and easy to read sites that stand out and the websites retain their SEO and html copy standards are the answers we are seeing.

 

The first typeface/web integration was introduced back in 1998 with the CSS rule, @font-face. This rule allows designers to reference fonts that are not installed on the end users machine. It was not widely used until the latest versions of Firefox and Safari began to implement web-font integration. Online subscription services such as Typekit, Fontspring, Fontdeck, WebType and many more have rapidly changed the way we can design websites and create more cohesive campaigns across all media formats. And now with Google jumping onboard with Google Fonts the internet is about to become a much more diverse typographic space. These web-font services host typeface libraries on their servers. Users pay (or free in a few cases) for usage of specific typefaces on their websites. The web-font services have worked with the various type foundries and type designers in their collection to offer the fonts legally and across platforms. In the design of the site specific typefaces (ones that are available through the services) are chosen and integrated into the layout. In the development of the site a simple line of code is added. The website basically calls up the web-font service to use those specific typefaces in the display. The result is html copy that is easily editable and searchable, and being displayed in a typeface of the designer/client's choosing.

 

This new world of typeface options on the web is complex and constantly changing. There are new services popping up that are offering different features, new and expanded typeface libraries, and a wide range of pricing. Creative Link can work with you or your client to create a website experience that uses this new technology to reinforce your brand message. Web-fonts are just one more tool in our arsenal to create your unique brand experience.

 

typekit

typekit homepage

Webtype

Webtype home page

Fontdeck

Font Deck Homepage

Fontspring

Fontspring Homepage

Fonts Live

TypeFront

Fonts.com

Google Fonts

Kernest

Typotheque

WebINK

 

References and Resources

 

Review of Popular Web Font Embedding Services

Web Typography: Font Embedding Services

10 Tools for Better Web Fonts

WhatFont? Bookmarklet