Until recently, the web was a boring place when it came to type. Designers were limited to a few “safe” fonts that viewers were sure to have on their computers. Arial and Times were everywhere.
If you wanted to deviate from these fonts, you needed to embed text in images, which introduced a whole new set of tradeoffs since images can’t be read by search engines or translated into other languages.
Those days are over.
Now, your web designer has the choice of hundreds of web safe fonts for your website, thanks to online font services. These services “host” the fonts. The designer chooses the desired fonts and embeds a snippet of code. Hosted fonts will appear correctly in the great majority of modern web browsers.
Two of the more popular sites for hosted fonts are Google Fonts and Typekit.
Google Fonts offers hundreds of fonts and is completely free. The choice is somewhat limited but offers some very attractive options. Google Fonts are more than adequate for many websites.
Typekit goes beyond Google Fonts in offering classic, premium fonts such as Futura, Optima and Cocon. It is a complete, professional solution and is the best choice when strict branding is required. It requires a yearly fee.
Chances are your web designer is using one or both of these font services. Inquire if you’re interested.
At Strand, we’ve been really excited about the potential for web fonts to change the look of the web. Beautiful typography makes the web much more pleasant to browse!