After designing for the web for over 15 years, it’s exciting to see more typefaces finally becoming available for the web beyond the original 7-10 web fonts, or image replacement with JS/Flash. For a quick background on how web fonts have evolved, see the excerpt below from FontFeed from November 18, 2009.
The August 2007 announcement of the “@font-face” CSS declaration led to two years of intense anticipation, hesitation, speculation, and — finally — innovation. Web browser support of this rule meant that one could write simple code to define non-system fonts in a style sheet. When a visitor loaded the web page the fonts would automatically download — just like images — load in their system, and then render in the browser. Web designers applauded the development, seeing it as the critical first step in bringing freedom of font choice to the web. Type designers held back, concerned that the method distributed work too openly and made no distinction between fonts made and licensed for print and those made and licensed for the web. Months passed, seemingly without much progress. The web had the technology, but it didn’t have the fonts.
2009 brought two crucial developments that broke the deadlock: Typekit and the Web Open Font Format (WOFF). The first is a service which hosts fonts and serves them in an optimized, secure way. The second is a new font format designed specifically for the web. The importance of these two breakthroughs was made clear three weeks ago at Typ09 in Mexico City where industry leaders came to the consensus that the delivery mechanism is no longer a sticking point; what is in question now is the quality of type on various browsers, displays, and devices.
Typekit gave the font industry a push and has been making fonts available from different font foundries since they launched their service around November 2009, and FontShop started web fonts in February, but now more font companies are making their collections of fonts available for web use as well. The Los Angeles Times has a story about this today:
Beginning Tuesday, Monotype Imaging, a Massachusetts company that owns one of the largest collections of typefaces in the world, is making 2,000 of its fonts available to web designers. The move follows the San Francisco-based FontShop, which put several hundred of its fonts online in February. In just a few weeks, Font Bureau, a Boston designer of fonts, will make some of its typefaces available online as well.
Web designers, understandably, cannot overstate how big of a deal this is.
If you’re a designer, you’ll know that Monotype is the owner of fonts such as Helvetica, Frutiger, Univers and the Linotype collection. Exciting!
You can sign up for the beta for Monotype Imaging (Fonts.com). See the FontShop blog post to see their available web fonts. Visit Typekit to see their growing selection of web fonts and free and paid options.