Typekit and Google Expand Web-Safe Fonts

Posted on Thursday, March 3rd, 2011

Forever, there’s been only a small handful of font selections that you could use safely on your website. Literally – like 8 different fonts that you could be sure would be on everyone’s browser.

But now, thanks to two awesome services, you can use a much larger variety of fonts.

Developer Note: I’m a big proponent of Font Stacks, which is a method of writing your css so that your site appears at least close to how you intended, but even with that, there’s only so much you can do.

First is Typekit. I love it so much, I’ve signed up for the Performance (aka “Professional”) service, so that I can offer it to any one of my clients – for free. It’s just part of the package when you choose to work with me. As of this writing, they have something like 530 different fonts to choose from. And the cool thing is, it actually renders the TEXT on your site, so you still get the benefits for Search Engine Optimization (which you don’t get when you use images).

And today I learned of another service, Google Web Fonts. Completely free, this service is currently in beta, and has a limited selection of fonts. Here’s a sample:

This font is called Rock Salt

Notice that flicker? Or, as it has been termed, “Flash of Unstyled Text” (FOUT)? That’s something that takes some work to manage, but can be done quite nicely, so that sites that don’t load the custom font degrade gracefully. In this post I’ve intentionally made NO effort to control it, just so you can see what I mean.

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