Downloadable Web Fonts

Posted Wednesday, 19 August 2009 at 01:45 by Andrew Liu
Tagged: web design | stylesheets (css) | web and html standards
Read more blogs...

 

Despite it being in the CSS 2 specification from 1998, downloadable fonts specified with the

@font-face

at-rule never caught on. The main reason was that Microsoft and Netscape chose to support different font formats, neither of which was in wide use. I remember reading about it at the time and quickly abandoning it due to the problems with cross-browser support. As did most others, it seems.

 

However, that may be about to change. As reported in Downloadable Fonts, recent nightly builds of Apple WebKit (not the normal nightly build but a feature branch) support @font-face rules with TrueType fonts. The browser will download the font file you specify and use the typeface it contains just like any other.

 

A thorough description of the @font-face feature, with plenty of examples, is available in Håkon Wium Lie’s article CSS @ Ten: The Next Big Thing, published at "A List Apart" in August 2007.

 

When I first read the article I thought “Nice. But I want to see it in a browser before I get too excited.” Well, since WebKit now supports @font-face I decided to play around with it a little and it seems to work rather well.

 

The CSS that loads a custom font looks like this:

 

  1. @font-face {
  2. font-family:"MyCustomFont";
  3. src:url(MyCustomFont.ttf) format("truetype");
  4. }
  5.  

You can then use the name you specify in the font-family property in other CSS rules, like this:

 

  1. h1 {
  2. font-family:MyCustomFont;
  3. }
  4.  

The syntax is described in Font Descriptions and @font-face in the CSS 2 specification.

 

There’s both good and bad to downloadable fonts of course. As with all features that can be misused, this will undoubtedly be misused. There will be designers who are too excited about being able to use just about any font to remember that text is useless if nobody can read it.

 

On the other hand, good designers will be able to use this to render headings in beautiful and highly legible typefaces without causing any accessibility problems. And once all mainstream browsers support downloadable fonts we will no longer need to use hacks and workarounds like bitmap based image replacement or sIFR.

To summarise my feelings about this, as someone with a background in typography I can see how useful this can be, though I do worry that many will not be able to use this tool responsibly. Then again, that applies to most tools.


Source: 456 Berea St (2007)

Web News

Rent the Runway CEO: Gender discrimination is larger workplace issue than sexual harassment
Jennifer Hyman runs a fast growing startup and helps women become successful in their businesses through Project Entrepreneur accelerator programs
--- 21 Oct 2017 10:26 AM

Vision is the next big challenge for chips
Neural engines are already showing up in phones and chipmakers are racing to develop more powerful hardware to meet demand for vision processing in a growing list of applications.
--- 21 Oct 2017 05:45 AM

Get a $1,000 software and services bundle for $49
Packed with tools designed for business growth, Briefcase offers tremendous value. There's just one catch.
--- 21 Oct 2017 04:56 AM

Elephone S8 hands-on: A solid, no-nonsense phone for business use
The Elephone S8 is a tri-bezel-less phone with a huge screen and a gorgeous glass back that is great for consumers and business users.
--- 21 Oct 2017 04:34 AM

Google expands tech startup acceleration projects in LatAm
The company is turning its So Paulo venue into a hub to foster ventures across the region.
--- 21 Oct 2017 03:40 AM

Company Blog


Search Behaviour

Posted Tuesday, 19 October 2010 at 05:58 by Andrew Liu


As an SEO provider, you have one main goal. Get your clients website to show up in search results fo...

Read more...



sm bus drivers missing in Device Manager

Posted Sunday, 18 April 2010
Updated Sunday, 24 February 2013 at 06:39 by Andrew Liu


When installing a new Windows XPinstallation, I seemingly always miss some drivers. One that trouble...

Read more...



Multiple Domains for SEO performance?

Posted Friday, 05 March 2010 at 23:13 by Andrew Liu


Online businesses and websites that cover a broad range of topics or one large topic are sometimes b...

Read more...



Tag Clouds - SEO or not?

Posted Thursday, 04 March 2010 at 04:34 by Andrew Liu


A tag cloud or word cloud is a visual depiction of tags or words related to a site, typically used t...

Read more...



Mozilla Thunderbird and Gmail IMAP Attachments Bug

Posted Wednesday, 03 March 2010 at 20:15 by Andrew Liu


I've been using Gmail since its early inception, and Iwas one of the first to utilise Gmail's IMAPfe...

Read more...



Read more blogs...