Fonts in your Face

05 Oct 2007

Sure, there’s trouble ahead with the announcement that Safari will be joining Opera in supporting @font-face, the chance at last for wider typeface choice! Place a font file on your server, and link to it in order to embed the typeface. We’ve been able to do it in PDFs and Flash movies since time began, but so far only one attempt has been made to make them work in HTML.

First problem, yes this will mean some people will specify unreadable/unsuitable type for body copy, but what’s new? It simply means that there will be a wider variety of unreadable fonts to choose from.

Secondly, and this is the real sticking point, font licensing. As John Gruber points out:

The conundrum is that most of the fonts worth using can’t legally be shared as free downloads, and most of the fonts that are legally shareable aren’t worth using.

Even if you purchase a font legally, the file is available to all to take. Now then, I have an idea to get around this – just like Google Maps, you purchase a ‘key’, a unique code, that works with that domain name only, with the font file (possibly) being served by the foundry. The actual filename of the font is hidden, and anyone trying to use that on a different URL, simply won’t get any dice. Whatever the solution – the font foundry that leaps onto this has the chance to lead.

Personally, I’m just happy that we’re reaching a point where we’re having this conversation! I want to be able to specify a face, and enable everyone to see it, without resorting to the image replacement and SiFR workarounds.

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