Typekit Brings the Web a Step Closer to Real Publishing

A Small Batch, Inc. has announced a new web service that resolves copyright restrictions on downloadable fonts and will deliver font packages directly to your web page the same way YouTube hosts videos and provides them to your web page on demand.

Typekit page

Typekit page

Typekit, the name of the new product, will solve a frustrating limitation inherent in web browsers: Only a very small subset of the thousands of type fonts available to desktop applications is available to designers of web pages.

Only 18 fonts can been assumed to be available in browsers running on Windows and the Mac — and half of those are so gnarly that no self-respecting designer would use them. In addition, even a font with the same name will display slightly more bold or larger on one platform versus the other.

If you every wondered why web pages look so similar, a large part of the answer is because of the font limitations.

Typekit hopes to remove that restriction:

“So here’s the situation: Every major browser is about to support the ability to link to a font. That means you can write a bit of CSS, include a URL to a font file, and have your page display with the typography you expect…

“But there’s a problem. While it’s technically quite easy to link to fonts, it’s legally more nuanced. Almost all fonts are protected by copyright — even those available for free — and very few of them allow for linking via CSS or redistribution on the web…

“That’s where Typekit comes in. We’ve been working with foundries to develop a consistent web-only font linking license. We’ve built a technology platform that lets us to host both free and commercial fonts in a way that is incredibly fast, smoothes out differences in how browsers handle type, and offers the level of protection that type designers need without resorting to annoying and ineffective DRM.”

The fonts are requested from Javascript code in the target web page. Small Batch said the service will be available “this summer” and offer both free and pay-to-use font licenses. You can sign up for a preview on the Typekit website.

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