Hello TypeKit

Fonts on the web has always been a bit of a problem child. Quite possibility one of the biggest differences between Print and Web design is the control a designer has over the fonts that can be used. Particularly, there is a small set of fonts that are considered Web Safe. Web Safe means that these fonts are likely to be present on a wide range of computers. Font Tester has a nice list here of these fonts.

Although, you are free to use any fonts you want, the likelihood that they are present in a user’s computer sometimes isn’t very high. And so, Scalable Inman Flash Replacement (sIFR) was created. Unfortunately, sIFR came with it’s own problems. It affects page loading time (from the multiple requests required for the Flash, JavaScript and CSS files used by sIFR). And the growing popularity of browser ad blocker plugins may decorate Flash content with a “block” button which can obscure the text. Another alternative that came out is Cufón. Instead of using Flash, Cufón uses a combination of JavaScript, JSON and either HTML5′s Canvas element or Vector Markup Language (VML).

The Case for TypeKit

The obvious case for these types of systems is the control the designer has on the look and feel of the websites they produce. Instead of giving users different experiences, they can get closer to offering the same experience to a wider audience. Typekit also helps out designers in one highly overlooked area. The legal aspect of fonts on the web. Since Typekit works directly with Font Foundries, it takes away the legal battles a designer could face by using copyrighted fonts in a manner that they were not suited for such as web redistribution.

The Case Against TypeKit

TypeKit has 4 different plans available for signing up. These are very akin to any other web service provided online. A small free trial one and a couple bigger ones. If you do use the Free trial, you will be required to have a small colophon added to your website. It’s very small, but it would be nicer if you were allowed to select where to display it or how to display it. I have no problem with the colophon per say, but a bit of customization would be nice.

The pricing is also very nice right now considering they’re providing an early discount for yearly purchases. However, outside of font fanatics, I just don’t see this catching on with small businesses or maybe even big businesses. Either way you look at it, it’s an added cost for fonts when the majority seem ok with the Web Safe ones. Hopefully I’m wrong on this and small businesses understand the value that Typekit has to offer with the different font foundries out there for a better more customizable web.

Resources

Alternative

Typotheque is an alternative to TypeKit. Here’s Andy Clarke’s take on it:
Testing Typotheque @font-face embedding | For A Beautiful Web

 

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