Typekit

It's not often I write a blog post just about a new tech.  For good reason:  there's always someone out there prepared to dedicate a bit of time to a full tutorial on implementation, pros and cons.

I'd just like to mention Typekit because it's not what I thought it was, and I'm quite impressed with what it is.

I'd assumed Typekit was a solution to the technological problem of including new fonts on webpages.  Along similar lines to Cufon and sIFR.

For those who don't know, including fonts is a problem because modern browsers haven't agreed on a way to distribute fonts with web pages.  IE, oddly, had this solved ages ago, but since MS is so unfashionable at present, it has been largely ignored.

Cufon lets you use a new font by replacing text with littleimage elements.  Ingenious, but quite silly as you have to create loads of these little elements on the fly.  SIFR does the same thing, but using Flash.  Indeed, we once used sIFR for the Cannes Film Festival website.  I remember a very long page-render time...

I'd assumed Typekit was going to be similar. Basically, I'm wrong.

Typekit is a solution for font licensing. It's always been a pain to get the right licenses for fonts. Often the licenses you buy are both extortionately priced and not licensed to web distribution. (This is because the way you provide a font to a web page is easily hijacked, and the font can be stolen).

Typekit provides access to their sensibly-sized library of fonts on a variety of subscription schemes. Once signed up, including the fonts is a simple matter of a few lines of JavaScript.

Technically, Typekit uses the @font-face download rules. This means it supports a limited number of browsers. But it also supports IE, using the EOT font format (IE's system attempts to prevent hijacking of fonts too). So it's not bad.

Downsides are that the iPhone is not supported, as mobile Safari doesn't seem to support @font-face. Of course, the non-JavaScript browsers out there don't see the new fonts (but they've asked for a lesser experience, so who cares). Also, there can be a FOUC (Flash of Unstyled Content) as the page loads the first time.

Once request I'd make to the Typekit team is the ability to support two sites on the Tester pack. One for my simple blog, one for active development. I know you want me to pay, but my commitment to fonts for personal use is not so great, and since you add your logo, it's only an advert for yourselves anyway isn't it.

In summary, I think it's a great idea. I see Typekit as the Spotify of fonts.

Thanks for reading! I guess you could now share this post on TikTok or something. That'd be cool.
Or if you had any comments, you could find me on Twitter.

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