The dawning of real fonts on the web?

Regular readers will know of my near fixation with embeddable/downloadable fonts on the web, as now supported in Safari, Firefox 3.5 and Opera 10, and long supported (in a somewhat incompatible way with these other browsers) in Internet Explorer.

But the technology has never taken off. Foundries and many type designers have been wary of the idea of simply putting their fonts online, to potentially be copied by anyone who wants them. The only game in town until this year has been the EOT format, which only IE supports, and which is the only font format IE supports. And EOT is frankly a pain and three quarters to work with.

So folks have been using all kinds of horrible hacks (yes, they are horrible hacks people) like FIR, SIFR, and now Cufon, to try and get the fonts they want in their designs, demonstrating the desire for some solution to the problem.

In a fit of frustration last year I wrote this post outlining a business model that could benefit designers and foundries – what we called in the 90’s “upside all round”. I learned soon after that a number of other folks had proposed similar ideas (it’s not rocket science!)

Well, Jeffrey Veen and his team at SmallBatch have gone and implemented the concept with a service due out in the next couple of months, called Typekit. I’m proud to say that my post and some subsequent involvement have had their part to play in the story.

The idea has been met with huge enthusiasm by many, as I was quite sure it would be.

Andy Clarke, a big favourite with Web Directions audiences, says simply “Typekit will change everything“. I certainly think its impact on web design will be profound.

I guess this will ensure that Mark Boulton’s presentation on Web Typography at Web Directions South will be a rather popular one in October!

I personally think this is an important day in the history of the web as a medium. Do others share the enthusiasm?

One response to “The dawning of real fonts on the web?”:

  1. Congrats on your part in it John… it’s nice to see some of your ideas shaping the future of the web.