Ever month or two, I revisit the state of @font-face on the web to make sure I don’t need to update or overhaul last summer’s screed about web fonts. Believe me, I am anxiously awaiting the day when everything I said in that post is no longer true or — better yet — irrelevant.
Today is still not that day, despite my having found — how did I miss it? — A List Apart’s article on the topic that predates my own. The last few paragraphs really underscore why we are still only at the “crossing” with fonts:
…I’m uncomfortable with the idea of having an outside entity in control of something as basic and fundamental to the design of my site as a typeface. Further, every independent web designer I’ve spoken to about it has said they simply would not, under any circumstances, saddle a client with an ongoing expense for fonts.
And, regarding actual implementation:
All together now, let’s get really confused…
The waiting continues.
I’ve had a number of clients come to me recently claiming that — because of growing browser support for the CSS rule @font-face — the future is now and they should be able to have whatever fonts they want for body copy (and everything else). They’ve seen the Google Font API or Typekit and they’re certain that the floodgates have finally opened. What ensues is a painful conversation about intellectual property, font foundries, and free fonts.
Unfortunately, the future is not now. You cannot use Helvetica or Trade Gothic for your body copy unless said body copy is part of a Flash movie (or worse an image!). It is still illegal to make rights-protected fonts downloadable on your website — which is what @font-face does. Yes, you can now easily embed web-licensed fonts on your website. And yes there are many services making this easy and fast to do. But I have yet to meet a professional graphic designer who is willing to confine themselves to those fonts.