Friday, August 3, 2007

Font Conundrum

Something that has bothered me for some time is the lack of ability for a developer to use fonts in their applications. Applications and websites are stuck using fonts that are on the client computer and that's it. There are a few ways of using a font, but they are so troublesome that they might as well not even exist.

Font packages are only licensed for use on the computer they are installed to. Very few allow deployment and who wants to deploy a font anyway. That's a pain because on Windows it needs to be copied to the system's fonts directory. If you do this then you need to provide a license which allows the user to use the font, not just your applications.

So because of this lack of system for using custom fonts nearly every webpage uses standard san serif font Helvetica or Arial. I could use Wingdings. Woo hoo!

Being such a major part of branding and product recognition type sure is left behind when it comes to applications and webpages. The only way to get around it is to render the text to an image and put that on the website or application which is problematic for many reasons I won't even bother going into. Every magazine, newspaper and book is printed with type carefully considered by a graphic designer, why can't an software be the same?

There should be some ability for a font to be bundled into a website or a client application so it can be rendered on the users system.

Eventually I'm sure some operating system vendor or development tools company will solve this problem and we'll all look back on this font conundrum as we do a monochrome monitor or black and white printers.

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