Web text layering for real?

hrant's picture

A news item on Typophile* claims that "the latest introductions of web based typography allows for layering and transparency". This is really juicy if it is in fact robust and widespread. And it might be the nail in the coffin of Photofonts.

* http://typophile.com/node/96691

So my question is: For real reals?


abattis's picture

So you figure to use a libre font. Sure. But there's another way: pay somebody to make a font for you which you can do anything you want with.

Right, and that is also a libre font. :-)

if a font house doesn't mind @font-face they won't mind @font-face used for a modified version (Assuming a house like Adobe that allows modification.)

I totally disagree :-)

"proprietary fonts always forbid redistributing modified versions" remains misleading

I let the site authors know about this thread, maybe they'll update the page :-)

I think what I'm trying to get at is, can't we base64 encode ourselves?

Check what you get base64 encoded when requesting the CSS from different browsers; you'll get different formats, and you may get different versions of the font in various formats too - hints stripped for platforms that don't use them, say. Serving webfonts has a lot of 'hidden complexity' if you want to do it really well; its an iceberg, as dberlow says. If you don't want to use a web font service, MyFonts and FontSpring and others allow you to download 'self hosting' packs with all the various formats, and CSS templates to get you going.


The duplication of content for style is obviously heinous, but can only be solved properly by making the overlay a part of the style system itself. Having the duplication happen in memory, using JavaScript to modify the DOM as with colorfont.js, rather than happen on disk as with the original article at the top of the thread, is the next best thing.

chrisburton's picture

Thanks, Abattis. I was debating whether to cancel my subscription to Typekit and go forward with MyFonts. I think i'll do just that.

hrant's picture

that is also a libre font.

No, because you're the only one who's allowed to use it (nevermind modify it). It's actually more restrictive than a retail font.

Anyway the main thing is that it costs money, in fact quite a bit of it. Although I agree there's some commendable social altruism at play here (like in your case) the sad truth is that much of the justification for "libre" comes directly from the good ol' urge to save money. There's a lot of opportunistic euphemism at play here (what else is new).

And this is in fact my core complaint, because saving money hurts culture. I don't give a rat's behind about the over-the-hill pricks who don't want to change the way they make and sell type.

I totally disagree

You might be right. But are you basing that on actual research? It's not like there are many font houses that allow modification to begin with. If you haven't already, maybe you should ask the ones that do.

Christopher, you might have lost me, but: are you saying you don't mind sacrificing the well-being of people making good fonts for you in order to save a bit of money? I admit that I might be totally off here though.


chrisburton's picture

Absolutely not. I don't mind supporting Type Designers for their work. Although, I would rather pay the foundry or designer directly.

The issue is that I don't want to lease something. I want to own. Typekit prevents this.

oldnick's picture

I don't give a rat's behind about the over-the-hill pricks who don't want to change the way they make and sell type

I’m not sure whether I resemble that remark, or not. OTOH, “opportunistic euphemism” describes American culture to a tee. I am so conflicted…

hrant's picture

Anybody who wants to stop adapting needs to have kids who can take care of the old romantic. In fact part of the problem in the US is that kids leave the nest way too early and usually never look back.


dezcom's picture

" I would rather pay the foundry or designer directly"
In this day and age, many designers are their own foundries. The major distributers also have resale arrangements with the small foundries. If you wish to deal directly with the original source, you should be able to do so quite easily.

chrisburton's picture

Unless it has to do with web fonts.

Frode Bo Helland's picture

If you can hold your breath a little while longer, I might’ve got something for you to “own” instead of lease -- directly from the designer/foundry.

chrisburton's picture

frode frank

Frode Bo Helland's picture

No, absolutely not.

Jens Kutilek's picture


request for future versions of WOFF: wrapping multiple fonts in one file.

A TTC file inside a WOFF wrapper should work, shouldn’t it? Only drawback is that authoring tools for the TrueType Collection format are very rare ...

chrisburton's picture

frode frank
Can you elaborate on that?

aluminum's picture


My gut says rendering the duplication with JS is a better option, but, at the same time, software and operating systems are getting much more robust when it comes to assistive technologies and are becoming more and more capable of dealing with rich JS interfaces...which, I suppose, could then be further remedied by proper implementation of ARIA attributes. I'd have to ponder that some more...

Frode Bo Helland's picture

As I said: hold your breath just a little while longer! I'm busy cooking up a delightful dish for you all.

chrisburton's picture

frode frank
Looking forward to it.

abattis's picture

Proper ARIA attributes is something that I discussed with the color.js authors when I suggested the idea to them. If its not implemented yet, I hope it will be soon :)

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