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New Fonts of Creativity

Ineke Caycedo
VP, Brand Development

If you’ve looked closely at the web universe lately, you’ll have noticed that more and more websites are starting to up their creativity factor by incorporating some of the new web fonts available through Google, Monotype Imaging, an a growing number of font foundries.

Finally, a font revolution is gaining ground on the web and that’s great news for the legions of frustrated designers who have had to make due with the very limited list of web friendly fonts available until now — we all know them (arial, trebuchet, times, georgia, comic sans, lucida, tahoma, verdana, etc.). All of this is doable by being able to present fonts in web pages that are not native to the user’s computer. Originally, web font styling relied on font families commonly found on all computers.

If you didn’t have the font on your computer it was replaced by the next font specified by the programmer. In fact, it isn’t unusual to see CSS font specifications that include a string of fonts to cover the bases – {font-family: helvetica, arial, lucida, sans-serif}, for example. This meant that web-designs never displayed uniformly for all viewers. It also put designers into a very small box or forced them to express their creativity by turning fonts into graphics. That’s never the best solution because that meant potentially sacrificing site speed and performance. And having type as images means search engines are blind to that content.

The new font format allows you to pull fonts from online font libraries, thus opening a world of typography and giving designers the ability to offer site visitors a more uniform and more richly expressed creative experience. Since the number of font families now being offered in web format is growing exponentially, it’s also highly likely that brands with defined type styles in their graphic identity, can expect to be able to more easily express that element of their identity online. In truth, @font-face isn’t really new. The @font-face CSS command has been around for a number of years and is supported in CSS2 standards. The thing is that most browsers hadn’t really built in robust support for the command. That’s now changing.

Most popular browsers support the command in one format or another — Firefox 3.6 and above, Chrome 6.0 and above, Safari, and IE 9. Additionally, there are a number of work-arounds for older browsers including Typekit and Google Webfonts. For example, Google works by offering its own embedding command. It’s as easy as embedding the font code into the header of your page – something like <link href=’http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Damion‘ rel=’stylesheet’ type=’text/css’> and then calling that code through standard CSS2 language like: h1 { font-family: ‘Damion‘, arial, serif; }.

So go ahead and play with these options. Add some more of your brand character to your website. Here is a list of great resources to get you and your team started:

Inspiration from websites using these new font techniques:

 

 

 

 

 

A few font sites to get you started (some are free some require that you purchase a license for the font):

More on using @font-face

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