I haven’t felt like making the time to post in a while. Honestly, I haven’t had much time either. Today, however, is a new day. At 1:31 PM I received an e-mail from firstname.lastname@example.org. The e-mail informed me that Typekit was ready for people to start using their service. I’m pretty sure I wrote about this earlier but I’ll have to find that post. So I immediately stopped screwing with the WPMU test instance I was working on and headed over to signup.
If you’re not aware there is a new feature in CSS3 called @font-face. This feature is intended to address one of the major issues of publishing on the Web: not all readers have the fonts you used in the design! For graphic artists, publishers and typography nuts (such as myself) this has been a real issue. We develop a fantastic layout and design with fonts that make the entire piece or site look gorgeous, only to see it on a friends computer displayed in Arial, Georgia, or Trebuchet. @font-face and the Typekit service are here pull us out of this Dark Age of Web typography.
So how does it all work? You can see Web fonts with @font-face for a more detailed explanation, but the gist is that you host your fonts on the Web and then access them as you would any other Web file. It sounds great and if you take a .otf file and put it in a Web accessible directory then you’ll be able to use it with @font-face. Sounds great doesn’t it? So why do we need Typekit? Well, fonts are software. I know it sounds crazy but in terms of the licensing of their use they are treated like software. This means that you are allowed to have a copy on your computer and to use it to produce documents, but you cannot freely distribute it. This is exactly what you would be doing if you put that .otf file in a public Web directory.
Overall I was very pleased with the way the service operated and the fonts that were available. I didn’t see any Adobe or Linotype designs in the Trial Library, but there were plenty of good fonts. Hopefully Typekit can get the traction necessary to attract larger foundries to use the service. I so want to use my beloved Helvetica and Myriad Pro. For now I’ll go with Liberation Sans for headings and such and M +1c Garogier Liberation Sans for the body text. If you are browsing in the most recent versions of Internet Explorer, Firefox, Opera or Safari then you should be seeing the site with my Typekit fonts. I’d encourage everyone that has a blog or website to check them out.