FLIR, Cufon, Typekit, or SFIR: Breaking Away From Web-Safe Fonts
If I had to subtitle this post, I would probably make some sort of a silly joke like “Georgia on my mind” or “Helvetica? I barely even know you” or something like that, but instead I want to jump right into the fun stuff.
Back when the web was young and you were “likely to be eaten by a grue” (ok, maybe not that far back, but back when the term “world wide web” had just been coined”) there was one font that reigned supreme: Terminal. After graphics invaded our desktop machines, Microsoft created the “core fonts for the web” that allowed users to get the same fonts on every machine (allowing for at least some sort of consistency when you build a website).
The project flopped because of EULA problems, but it did give us a sort of standard font set that we use for the web:
- Times New Roman
99% of websites have a combination of one or more of the fonts listed above. There are others, but they are machine specific, such as Myriad Pro (Mac), but for the most part, until recently, you couldn’t branch out from those specified fonts.
Lately, however, a few services have appeared that allows you to take different fonts and use them at your will to replace boring, web-safe fonts with more exciting choices.
There’s a WordPress plug-in for FLIR you can download to make the process easier.
Also, the WordPress plug-in for Cufon makes it super easy to set things up effectively.
Cufon is by far my favorite because it looks nice, is easy to use (if not a little harder to set up, but it’s a caveat I’m willing to live with), and does its job well. Regardless, one thing to remember: only use fonts you have purchased the license to, because those guys work hard and deserve to be paid for their fantastic job. Now, go out there and find some cool fonts to use!