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Thoughts & Articles

A huge variety of web-safe fonts - OTF?! ... I mean WOFF!!

Jim Infantino

Ask any web designer about their deepest secret wish, as they drift off to their neatly kerned slumber, and most will say:

"I dream of seeing Franklin Gothic, Helvetica Neue, Cochin, Frutiger, even DIN Mittelschrift, all as web-safe fonts!!!"

Well, their dreams are just a bit closer to being answered as I type this. CSS3 - the newest version of cascading stylesheets being adopted by the newest web browsers, includes embedding font-families directly into the web page. The only caveat is that the fonts have to be licensed for web use since, once a font is on the web, anyone can grab it.

No problem! New web-only font formats have been developed for just such a purpose. Look for @font-face fonts with the suffix: WOFF, EOT, SVG & TTF. These fonts can be licensed fairly cheaply compared to most fonts, and only work on your webpage. Check out for some of these - ready to go, including (drumroll) Franklin Gothic!

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Franklin Gothic No 2 Heavy.

There is also a movement afoot to create some free-versions of high quality fonts for the web. The rush could be to be the first type foundry to create the next Verdana. Check out exjlibris (forget trying to pronouce it) for some fine new OTF (open type format) fonts that are licensed via Creative Commons to be used both on your mac / pc and on your website. Anivers is a favorite of mine.

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Anivers from exjlbris foundry

If none of the available open source and web only font options work for you, there is Typekit. Typekit is a licensed, membership-based repository of embeddible fonts that you are not likely to find elsewhere. These can be licensed to a particular domain and embedded via javascript. We at SLABmedia, for example, chose to join typekit to gain use "Meta Web Pro" a typeface that matches our new logo.

When I was a young teen, my Dad, who spent much of his life in the creative end of Madison Avenue, gave me the most valuable advice about graphic design:

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So, finally, your websites can be searchable, and also well designed. Let us know if you dream of type on-line like we do. Perhaps we can ad a bit of Bodoni or Calluna or Harfang to your site. And maybe even some day ... DIN Mittleschrift .... OMSVG!