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A question of Fonts

Rod writes:
I am a up and coming web designer and have run into a snag that I was hoping you could help me with. How do I use a font on my pages that not everyone will have on their system?


Thanks for the question...

I'll write this up a little bit more in detail for the a future issue of WebDesign & Review. We got side-tracked with the awards and all last month and we're just now playing catch-up....
__ Netscape and MSIE both now support the <Font> attribute in HTML. Spec. 3.2 has it built in, however spec 4.0 ratifies this along with a dozen or so other font conventions not to mention cascading style sheets.
The way the spec works is by calling a font by name.
<Font Face="Futura, Helvetica"> 
Now the browser will hunt for "Futura" on the end-user's system... not finding it, the search will continue for "Helvetica"... if this is not found, the default will be substituted.
__ This is a wonderful new feature when it works. But that's the snag. First there's a bit more time involved in loading the page while the browser looks for fonts. A simple search for a font name on your system will give you an idea of how much additional time it will take to display a font-aware page.
__ Next, the font companies have been diligent in naming their fonts uniquely. New Times, is the same as Times in many systems. If you use Adobe fonts, there may even be an ITC in front of the name Helvetica. The browser would not find Helvetica.
__ Then there are the hundreds of thousands of people who probably won't have the fonts loaded. Microsoft is trying to lessen the blow of this by offering up a collection of "standard" web fonts. Many people have adopted these fonts, so you'd be well served to use them.
__ I don't know the URL off the top of my head, try Altavista with "Microsoft" and "Fonts" and "True type" for a search string. There are 23 different attributes that can be applied to the <Font> code.
__ There is talk about automatic downloadable fonts that are downloaded with the page for viewing, but beware -- people will start using Dom Casual, and we'll all be in trouble.
__ Then there's Adobe Acrobat which works very well for font rendering, and you can do some spectacular stuff with it... but beware again: the Acrobat plug-in is not embraced by a majority yet. I expect the next major versions of the browsers to have it built in, but that could be a while.

Howz that for starters?


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