Help with web fonts! Can I use them for print as well?

KaileneDanae's picture

So I'm generally a print designer, but I'm rebranding a boutique that also wants a website done. When creating their brand standards, I want a consistent font for body text online and in print. I've found a font that appeals to both the client and myself called "Roos." We're interested in purchasing the entire family (for $149) and we're give the option of OTF or Webfont version.

I've never implemented a Webfont before, since I don't generally do web design (and we will be using a professional web developer to deal with development of the site.) I've been googling and googling, but I can't seem to find the answer anywhere. This company will need to use the font on the web as well as on print materials such as postcards, business cards, and lookbooks. Will we have to purchase both both the Webfont version and the OTF version to accomplish this? Or will we be able to use a Webfont file in Illustrator, Photoshop, and InDesign?

chrisburton's picture

Webfonts are optimized for the screen, not for print. Therefore it would be appropriate to purchase both desktop and webfont versions for what you're doing.

oldnick's picture

AFIK, you can’t install webfonts on your local machine…which is probably why they’re called webfonts…

chrisburton's picture

AFIK, you can’t install webfonts on your local machine…which is probably why they’re called webfonts…

You can install webfonts on your machine.

jasonc's picture

>>You can install webfonts on your machine.<<

This depends on what the company chooses to deliver as "web fonts". If you only get .eot and .woff files, you can't install them on your machine. Likewise, even if you get .ttf files, some companies manipulate the fonts so that they can't be installed on a computer.

chrisburton's picture

If you only get .eot and .woff files, you can't install them on your machine.

I've installed .woff webfonts on my machine before. Quite recently actually regarding an unrelated topic about webfont pirating and some distributors not protecting their product.

PabloImpallari's picture

Web-fonts and Print-Fonts, in 99% of the cases, are pretty much the same thing just converted from OTF to TTF, Autohinted, and converted again and packed in other formats such as WOFF or EOT. They are sold under different licenses simply to collect more money, under a variety of different arguments (For example: it's a different kind of usage, they are uploaded to the web, etc, etc...). This will piss off a lot of people here, but it's the way it is.

There are a few notable exceptions, where web-fonts where specially designed/tailored for the web and have key differences compared to their print-version (bigger x-height, wider, open counters, loose spacing, less contrast, etc...) such as the Webtype RE series, H&FJ smart screen fonts, Typoteque Screen fonts, and some other smaller foundries such as Monokrom and Letters From Sweden. There may be others that I'm missing now, but so far very few. (It will be nice if someone can compile a list of "Real web-fonts" vs "automated conversions"). This are the "Real webfonts", and not just plain conventions.

FontFont Screenfonts are also hand-hinted, but not optimized in x-height, counters, etc.... This ones can work well also. As they where hand-picked from their extensive library for already having such features in a way that look good in the web without adjustments needed.

At Google Webfonts you will find both kinds. Some are Print-fonts converted for web use, and some are specifically tailored for the web, such as: Open Sans, Source Sans, Merriweather, Domine, Libre Baskerville and a few more. You can also download those and use them for print (but they will not be optimal since they will look bigger than usual). They are all released under a 'Libre' license, so they can also be used for commercial projects.

In the case of Ross, I guess it's an automated (or maybe semi-automated) conversion. And since the ascenders and descenders are large, my guess is that it will look small on the web if used at standard text sizes. You will need to use it bigger on the web (from 18 to 22px or maybe more) in order to be readable. If that's not a problem for you, it will work fine. It's a very nice font.

gargoyle's picture

For a webfont, you'll want to see how it renders across different browsers/platforms/sizes. MyFonts used to have browser-screenshots, but they seem to have disappeared... there are a few previews at, though they only seem to license webfonts by subscription. (BTW, Roos is currently on sale at YouWorkForThem.)

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