Typedia’s Cure for the Common Webfont
by Tai Palmgren
So many webfonts! Where to start?
With the introduction of web type services like Typekit, Fonts.com Web Fonts, Web FontFonts, and Typotheque, web designers now have a plethora of options when it comes to fonts for their designs. But not all web fonts are created equal.
The flurry of new font options is both overwhelming and tempting. Some web designers who are used to using the same small handful of “web safe” fonts may not know where to begin when presented with a greatly expanded selection. Others may be tempted to use their favorite print font for their next web project, then be dismayed to find that the on-screen reality doesn’t match their vision.
Stephen Coles over at the Typedia blog offers some help. He has braved his way through the webfont jungle to bring us his Cure For The Common Webfont: Part 1, Alternatives to Arial, and Part 2, Alternatives to Georgia.
So why should we start with Coles’ suggestions? Well, the process of creating a webfont is quite complex. Different web browsers and operating systems will render fonts slightly differently. Font designers must also take into account how the font will look on a computer screen at small font sizes. It’s not simply a matter of taking an existing font and making it available for webfont services, although it seems some font manufacturers have done just that.
Most of the fonts that Coles has suggested are well-hinted for the screen, and some were designed specifically for web use. There are undoubtedly other well-crafted web fonts out there, but these lists are a great place to start.
Links mentioned in this article (and further reading):
- Cure for the Common Webfont, Part 1: Alternatives to Arial (and Helvetica)
- Cure for the Common Webfont, Part 2: Alternatives to Georgia
- The Webfont Revolution Is Over, Let the Evolution Begin
- Type rendering on the web
- Type rendering: operating systems
- Type rendering: web browsers
- Type rendering: the design of fonts for the web
- Type rendering: font outlines and file formats