Web Fonts

Badge-BlogBytesIf you’ve been blogging for more than a couple of days, you’ve noticed the limited number of fonts available for use on your site. These are known as web-safe fonts because they are the few fonts found on almost every computer (Windows, Mac or Linux). Until recently web browsers only used the fonts installed on the local computer. If you wanted to use a fancy font, you created a graphic and inserted that graphic into your post or theme. Yes, it’s clunky and because that text is a graphic, it’s not searchable either. Bummer!

Now for the good news. These font limitations are a thing of the past. BUT! [There’s always a but in there somewhere, isn’t there?] It’s going to be a little messy for a while until things settle down.

The new HTML5 standard, which is quickly being implemented in most web browsers, supports the ability to include font files on the web site which are then available so the web browser can display them on the page. Does that mean you can now include any font on your site? Unfortunately, no. Not all fonts are licensed for use on the web. Fortunately, there are a growing number of services offering web font collections along with simple ways to implement them within your blog or site.

Google Fonts sample

A sample from the more than 600 font families available from Google Fonts.

Google offers the open source Google Font Directory with a beautiful collection of fonts and easy instructions to include them on your blog.

Typekit font sample

Typekit offers a subscription service for using fonts from their collection

If you still need more fonts, you might want to look at Typekit. This subscription service has a huge font library and already is incorporated into several blogging platforms including WordPress.com. Typekit offers plans ranging from $25/year (2 sites with 5 fonts per site) to $50/year (unlimited sites and fonts). Each plan also has limits on page views per month so if you’re a high traffic site, you’ll need to chose your plan accordingly.

One of many commercial fonts offering web font options.

One of many commercial fonts offering web font options.

Font designers are beginning to realize the opportunities web fonts offer them and the selection continues to grow.

While not yet perfect, these options offer us more flexibility in our blog design. It will be a while before all browsers support all the new capabilities of HTML5 and until then we will all experience some design hiccups. Don’t let that stop you from experimenting – especially with fonts.

You’ll be amazed how something as simple as a change of font can significantly improve the look of your blog.