For years web designers have struggled with only being able to use a handful of “websafe” fonts. In order for web designers to be able to use the fonts they want, they have had to rely on replacing text with images, flash tricks or hosting the font on their server, which leads to licensing issues. Most font licenses do not allow you to make their fonts available to public domain. Because of these issues print has been viewed far superior in terms of typography. Luckily for web designers things have changed and there are now a variety of options to choose from. Some of these options, such as the @font-face css rule, have been around for a quite some time now. Below are some other options, there are many more out there.
Earlier in 2010 Google made an announcement about Google Font API, which lets you add web fonts to your web page adding a special style sheet link to your code then specifying the font in your CSS style. This is an easy and free service to use and works on most browsers. In order to view the available fonts, you go to the Google Font Directory where you can view all fonts and designers who created them and copy the code you need. All fonts are open source, which allows you to use them for non-commercial and commercial use.
Another choice you have is Typekit. Typekit gives you high-quality fonts on a subscription-based plan. Your fonts are hosted on one of Typekits hundreds of servers. Typekit guarantees your site’s fonts will never be affected by their servers. Adobe, FontFont, Bitstream, P22 and many other font foundries support Typekit. To add fonts to your site you would use The Kit Editor. This lets you apply the fonts you’ve chosen to your CSS classes, ID’s, or any HTML tags. Typekit offers a limited free trial service all the way up to a $100 a year plan.
A third option is Webtype. Webtype is similar to Typekit in that they offer you fonts on a subscription basis and host your fonts the same way with the same guarantees. Using Webtype fonts is as simple copy and pasting their code into your code. Webtype has partnered with The Font Bureau, Monotype, Roger Black and more.
Depending what you’re looking for, there are services out there that allow for better typography on the web. There are advantages and disadvantages to each font license. Obviously with the paid services you are getting a much larger, well known font library to choose from, but if you can’t afford it there are still options to choose from.