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Web Fonts

Web Fonts - Flexible Solutions for Web Typography

Improvements in web browser standards and support for the CSS @font-face rule has ushered in a new era of web page design and typography. The limitations imposed by “web-safe” fonts have finally been removed and you can now use practically any font within the text of your web pages to create great typography while ensuring that key search terms and words are indexed for maximum SEO (Search Engine Optimisation).

But it is not all plain sailing. Web font use has become very complex and there are many considerations to take into account before making font and licensing choices.

We provide web font licenses for our own fonts and from most other foundries. We can build flexible web font packages to suit nearly all requirements at sensible prices for straight forward self hosting:


Licensing models for web font embedding seem endless: cloud hosting, self hosting, monthly subscription, traffic based charging (page views, unique visitors), renewable annual, renewable fixed term or more rarely a perpetual one time fee.

To get the low down on current web font rules, regulations and options available, email sales@type.co.uk or call ++44 (0) 20 7226 4411 for expert, no obligation advice.

What about screen optimisation and character sets? OpenType fonts with large character sets and fonts with bulky hinting data can easily become so bloated that they impair web page load speed, particularly if you want to create and use media rich pages.

We can provide screen optimisation (hinting) to maximise the clarity of fonts viewed on screen and advise whether subsetting (using a smaller character set) makes sense for you – email sales@type.co.uk or call ++44 (0) 20 7226 4411 for further details.

You've probably heard about different web font formats, font rendering and font replacement technologies such as WOFF (Web Open Font Format), EOT and EOT Lite (Embedded OpenType), TrueType, SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics), sIFR (Scalable Inman Flash Replacement) and Cufon or Cufón. As web browser technology is so diverse, web font format support can vary from browser to browser with some web font formats working better than others. A range of formats are therefore required to cover these variables. We can provide comprehensive web font kits to support all current browser requirements.

Here are some frequently asked web font questions:

Doesn’t my standard End User License Agreement (EULA) cover web use?

The simple answer is – no. Most EULAs permit fonts to be installed on a minimum number of computers (usually up to 5). Font software in this environment can be viewed on screen and used for any form of printed output. This type of license is often referred to as a ‘desktop’ license. As part of their desktop license, some foundries include additional permissions that allow you to convert desktop fonts into images for web page embedding, these would be file types such as .png, .jpeg and .gif. Some EULAs don’t permit such embedding so it is always best to check first. To use Web Fonts and have them embedded in your web pages requires the purchase of an additional license. For further information about Web Font licenses, please email sales@type.co.uk or call ++44 (0) 20 7226 4411.

What is Cloud, Remote Hosting?

Cloud hosting is where web fonts are not physically embedded into your web site pages, instead you add some lines of code that links your site to a web font hosting service and the web fonts are then ‘served’ by the hoster on a perpetual basis. Cloud hosting can be a good solution but it is not right for everyone: you introduce a secondary host service (on top of your website host provider) that charges additional monthly fees, your font choice is limited to that provided by the hoster, your site is permanently linked to the web font host provider (and reliant upon the stability of their systems) and your site will only have access to the web fonts you license while you pay subscription fees.

Having web fonts embedded permanently into your site and self hosting (or having a single website host provider) is regarded as being a more desirable solution. A self host web font solution keeps you in total control of your sites security and performance and offers the widest font choice.

What is Traffic Based Charging?

Traffic based charging is where monthly, annual, fixed term or one-off fees are set against the traffic level that your site expects to receive. This is usually based upon average page views or unique visitors that your site receives over the course of a month. The greater the traffic level is, the higher the cost.

Web traffic is not consistent, so there are a few flaws in this model. If your traffic level rises you exceed your licensed traffic cap and you will be using your web fonts illegally, if it falls you are paying for a traffic level you are not using. If you want to stay compliant, this means checking traffic levels against license limits every month and upgrading your license if necessary.

To compound this problem, a large proportion of page views and unique visitor traffic is generated by search engine robot visits and single page bounces (visitors who land on your site and then immediately leave to go somewhere else). This traffic is not viewing or appreciating the web fonts you have paid to embed and there is no commercial benefit for you, but you have to pay for it anyway.

There are lots of views about how web font licensing should work and it is constantly evolving, but we think the best approach at the moment has to be the easiest to understand with the least amount of risk and admin for the end user. Self host with the choice of an annual, fixed term or perpetual license fee looks like the best option.

For further information about web fonts and web font licensing, please email sales@type.co.uk or call ++44 (0) 20 7226 4411.

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