By Andrew Nusca
Posting in Design
Ever wanted to read a magazine online? It's a frustrating experience, isn't it: the big, bold typefaces of glossies and other printed publications just aren't there. The makers of Typekit are intent on changing that, and it will change the way the Web looks forever.
Ever wanted to read a magazine online?
It's a frustrating experience, isn't it. The many qualities that makes a magazine a magazine -- beautiful, full-bleed photography, dynamic, visually-interesting layouts and the big, bold typefaces -- just aren't there.
On the Web, a magazine is just...words. Old news, really.
The makers of Typekit are intent on changing that.
Browser competition (and thus innovation) has been heating up for some time, and one of the latest advancements is their ability to recognize a CSS rule known as @font-face. That may read too geeky for you, but it effectively means that Web developers can now embed downloadable fonts in their pages.
In other words: no more Arial, Times New Roman, Georgia or Verdana -- the fonts that make the Web look so inescapably...boring.
(And yes, this blog ipost is written in Helvetica, in case you were wondering.)
If you happen to have Firefox 3.5 or Safari 4 installed on your computer, check out this site and notice the new typefaces on the page.
Or check out the screenshot to the right.
If you clicked through to the site, you'll notice none of the text is embedded in an image or Flash object. It's all real text, meaning it's selectable (copy, paste) and SEO-friendly. Pretty neat, huh?
You may think such advancements are minor or trivial (ooh great, pretty fonts, so what?), but they have such incredible potential to change the way we experience the Web. Reading the news at NYTimes.com (or your local paper) may have the same feel as the printed version, while magazine websites such as the one for Vanity Fair might actually reflect the years of design refinement of the printed magazine.
And since hardware to read information is growing ever more ubiquitous -- from mobile Web on the smartphone to the Internet-connected Amazon Kindle -- it might mean those devices will get much closer to actually representing what's on the screen as it should be.
The problem is that it might get you in legal hot water. Slate's Farhad Manjoo explains:
But there's a hitch with @font-face: Your browser has to download new fonts to your hard drive before it can display them. Companies that sell fonts—known as foundries—are understandably wary about that process; they worry that letting their typefaces out on the Web could Napster-ize their industry. So while it's now technically possible to display any font you like on your page, you could be in legal hot water if you actually do so.
So what role does Typekit have in all this?
The startup aims to solve the legal conundrum and facilitate the @font-face development by making deals with dozens of foundries and offering them up for free or for a subscription fee, depending on the size of your site. They'll enforce the agreement with a bit of code to add to your Web page so that you won't get in legal hot water when someone comes across your site and notices the premium font you're using.
Typekit's licensing hurdle is just strong enough to prevent "casual misuse," as it says on Typekit's site. The benefit for creative property owners such as foundries, besides the security aspect, is that Typekit will serve as a one-stop shop for customers, now enabled to display typefaces on their sites, to use them legally.
And the Web will never look the same.
Aug 19, 2009
the website, i don't know how to push the website, is Typekeit helps the website rank front in seach such as google? www.sangongvalve.com, can anyone give some opinion of it? is SEO works well, somebody say SEO is not important, should not be too impartant. Visitor's satificatory is more important, but often how to balance it will be a problem. I think most web manager face same problem.
Web designers have been able to do this for years. Look up Open Type Tools and Microsoft Weft. My web site has used this technique for many years. It started when I wanted to use my simple logo as a character to display it in places that supported TrueType text, but not graphics. I used a font editor with a public domain font to substitute my logo for a character I would otherwise never use. Then I used WEFT to create a web compatible version of that font. (I also reduced the number of characters in the online version to substantially reduce the file size.) Visitors to my web site do download the font, but it is held in the browser cache like any other web element, not installed on the client PC. Yes, a browser can be told to override such fonts, so it isn't fool proof, but few people do this.
I prefer "boring" verdana to your Helvetica as I find it easier to read, There are too many wierd (sorry, innovative) typefaces is use that slow down my browsing, which means I just ditch those pages and sites.
Yes, web designers will have more typographic options in the future. But today it is still rather difficult because of both technical and font licensing issues. Services like Typekit, Kernest and Typotheque address promise to address these issues. Fortunately there are two new web font formats (EOT Lite and WebOTF) being considered by font developers and web browser makers. These new web font formats are appealing to web designers for many reasons, especially more savvy web designers who want don't want to use hosted font services.