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Fonts - Web Fonts and What is possible.

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Ray Larabie is a font designer from Ottawa who works and lives in Nagoya Japan. He's been making fonts for about 15 years and is one of the leading exponents of his craft in the world today.

ONCE THERE was a time when, if you wanted to buy a Ford motor car you could have any colour you like, so long as it was 'black'.

Until recently, the same principle applied to fonts on web pages. Indeed, your website COULD have any font you liked, so long as it was installed on your customer's PC as well.

In practice, since it was unlikely many of your customers would have your distinctive font, you had instead to use a font that everybody was likely to have. So what happened was websites were usually made up of the ubiquitous fonts Times, Arial, Helvetica or some other generic font. Such fonts are sometimes referred to as 'browser safe fonts'.

There's nothing wrong with this. Generic fonts are generic for a reason - they are pretty good and easy to read. Nevertheless, web developers felt more could be done and worked hard to have their cake and eat it.

"Surely," they argued, "there must be a way of displaying any font of any type on a web browser without having to install that font on the user's PC?" And from this question two methods were developed.

  1. Replace the font with a picture of the font
  2. Do something really clever - embed the font in the page.

In the last year or so, web developers are moving towards method '2'. The only limitations being copyright (one needs to buy the font and pay for the right to use it on a website) and choosing a font which looks good on a web page: be it displayed on a Mac, PC, Windows XP or whatever.

This latter point is a BIG subject amongst the web font fraternity and you can read all about that elsewhere.

Suffice to say that at Krann, we can create a website for you which uses your preferred font, so long as a web version for it is available.


Fonts.com has a system which allows you to buy and user their web fonts is a simple elegant way for a reasonable price.

Myfonts.com have also developed a web fonts system

For other fonts, the @font-face system can be used