Nice Web Type

Nice Web Type is one place for web typography, following experiments, advancements, and best practices in typesetting web text. Handcrafted by Tim Brown, Type Manager for Adobe Typekit.

Some facts about web fonts

Web fonts are evolving so quickly, it’s easy to get confused by the technology and terminology involved. Here are a few facts to help clarify.

I often see folks asking, “What’s the difference between Typekit and @font-face?” The difference is this: CSS @font-face is a web standard that, right now, is hard to implement reliably; Typekit serves fonts via CSS using @font-face, and makes it reliable and easy. The code served by Typekit is standards-compliant, and is updated automatically for you as often as browsers and web standards change.

17 comments

  1. Barney 22 Mar 2010

    Another useful resource is http://onlinefontconverter.com/.

    It offers a very convenient method for getting your font in all the desired formats.

  2. Michael MacNaughton 23 Mar 2010

    Unless you have developed the font yourself (or it is open source) the @font-face tag constitutes the illegal distribution of the font software since directly posting the .ttf or .otf files on your web server will violate your license agreement for commercial fonts. Furthermore, Chris Wilson of Microsoft expressed that Microsoft (and, by proxy, Internet Explorer) should not support Font Linking in it’s current form. Full article is HERE

  3. Tim Brown 23 Mar 2010

    Hi Michael,

    Unless you have developed the font yourself (or it is open source) the @font-face tag constitutes the illegal distribution of the font software since directly posting the .ttf or .otf files on your web server will violate your license agreement for commercial fonts.

    That’s not true in all cases. Certainly, before using a typeface on the web, designers should know what is legally allowed or forbidden. But Font Squirrel has a checkbox in its sidebar showing only @font-face legal typefaces, and there are many available. Typekit serves fonts using the @font-face tag, and its entire library is legal for web use. Many of these are commercial fonts.

  4. Richard Fink 28 Mar 2010

    The difference is this: CSS @font-face is a web standard that, right now, is hard to implement reliably; Typekit serves fonts via CSS using @font-face, and makes it reliable and easy. The code served by Typekit is standards-compliant, and is updated automatically for you as often as browsers and web standards change.
    Sorry to be a hard-ass Tim but these are empty, unsubstantiated claims. What do you mean by reliably? How and why would what Typekit do for me be more reliable than what I can do for myself? How can the code served by Typekit be standards-compliant when there is as yet no CR standard (CSS3 remains a Working Draft and in order for IE 6,7, and 8 to conform, in some cases the internal font data has to meet certain criteria). But really, the main issues are, file formats and conversions? TrueType versus OpenType CFF, etc.
    Further, the claim of “updating automatically for you as browsers change” appears particularly suspect because even though Opera 10.51 has a well-functioning @font-face implementation, TypeKit as yet, sill fails to deliver web fonts to it.
    Check it out:
    Outras Fontes
    Hey, you know me – pushy, pushy, pushy.
    Cheers, Rich

  5. Dena 31 Mar 2010

    Thanks a lot Tim! I love the @font-face generator as a lazy css’er ;)
    But if Typekit makes it much easier to implement as you mentioned, think i’ll give it a try :)

    It is really crucial to be able to use different fonts on clients’ design. Since they usually hate imaged writings…

  6. Eve 31 Mar 2010

    Thanks a lot! I’ve been using sIFR for so long that it’s really awsome to have some better alternatives :) I’ll try font-face right away

  7. UK Ecommerce Software 13 May 2010

    Font Squirrel is just so great, those times when trying to be more active is just such a pain…. :)

  8. manken oyunları 10 Sep 2010

    Thank you. I’ve been using sIFR for so long that it’s really awesome to have some better alternatives :) I’ll try font-face right away

  9. Joyeria 8 Oct 2010

    The free fonts are allright too. Thanks

  10. Damasio 20 Oct 2010

    Thanks for the fonts

  11. Bitcoca downloads 23 Nov 2010

    I’ve been using sIFR for so long that it’s really awesome to have some better alternatives .Certainly, before using a typeface on the web, designers should know what is legally allowed or forbidden. But Font Squirrel has a checkbox in its sidebar showing only @font-face legal typefaces, and there are many available.

  12. Web Design Hull 3 Dec 2010

    Thanks for the info, wasn’t aware of Font Squirrel… an excellent resource.

  13. access control systems 8 Dec 2010

    Very interesting, I didn’t know the difference between the two kits. I also had this question cross my mind here and there. I always thought Typekit was easier, at least I used it a lot and always got great results!

  14. tax matters solutions 11 Jan 2011

    Thanks for the converter, Barney. Definitely makes things easier!!

  15. Compare Mobile Broadband 18 Jan 2011

    I’m slightly confused, you say @fontface has been a standard for 10 years but then you go on to say that browser support for it varies. Which is it? A standard or unreliably supported feature? It can’t be both.

  16. Quick Loans payday loans 24 Jan 2011

    These alternatives are quite profitable and beneficial for us. Thanks for introducing these new fonts to us. Good tips.

  17. Drenagem Linfática 1 Feb 2011

    yea, I didn’t know the difference between the two kits. I also had this question cross my mind here and there. I always thought Typekit was easier

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