countering the confusion of consumer packaged goods

web fonts

In the early days of the web, it was only possible to use fonts that existed on the computer of whoever was viewing your website. You couldn’t predict what those would be, so when designing a website you generally stuck to a small set of “web-safe fonts”: things like Arial, Courier, Georgia, and Times New Roman.

Around 2009 or so, it became technically and legally possible to use custom fonts on your website, so now websites are free to use whichever typefaces they like. (You can read more about the history of web fonts here.)

The main consideration with web fonts is licensing. If you have a font on your computer, which you’re licensed to use to produce some designs or documents, that doesn’t mean you can use it on a website. That’s because, when you use a font on a website, you’re technically distributing that font to everyone who views it. So you need to obtain a special licence to do that.

There are two ways you can do this:

  1. Use a service that hosts the fonts for you and takes care of any licensing issues. These might be paid (like Adobe Fonts or or free (like Google Fonts).

  2. Obtain a web licence directly from the people who designed the font. Generally this costs extra, and the cost depends on how popular your website is/will be.

Category: Digital
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