Does @font-face actually improve our sites?

Do you think @font-face has made it easier to create great designs, or have the increased options made it harder to create something that looks right?

Here are my thoughts, but let me know what you think in the comments.

  • Typography is a skill, and is part of web design (a huge part), its something you should know and implement in designing for the web already, @font-face is the best thing to come to front-end web since we scrapped tables.

    If you find it hard to get something that looks right, head back into some sexy typography print books.

  • Couldn’t agree more… But the problem, as James says in his comment, derives of the great lack of typographic knowledge and criteria among web “designers” and other. I teach people that sometimes come from a programming background and haven’t any prior design or artistic education. However, they’ll have to take decisions from time to time regarding the graphic appearance of small websites.

    And even when you take (at least) several classes to try to give an overview about typography and design… even so, some people really overlook its importance, or get to think it’s just a matter of personal choice.

    Because design skills and artistic taste are developed via specific education, as well as by training your eyes and mind to discern and analyse what’s coherent, elegant, and what is definitely tacky, lots of people really have problems realizing what to do with color, fonts, composition, etc. What is worse, they do sometimes think they really have a more then valid personal taste, and may even try to impose their point of view over the criteria of seasoned designers. Just imagine the opposite: a designer with rudimentary coding skills, trying to tell a good developer how to code!

  • As with all these tools it can have a huge positive impact on website
    design but, in the wrong hands, the results can be catastrophic. Web
    design and typography are two separate disciplines and just because a
    designer has the ability to use and display new fonts it doesn’t
    necessarily mean they will be used in the correct way.

    On the plus side, this increase in popularity and awareness of
    typography will undoubtedly produce some really exciting pieces of
    experimental work on the web, as it did within print-based graphic

    Dust off those ‘Brody’ books. It’s happening all over again!!!

  • Jim

    I think @font-face will inspire people to take inspiration from print mediums rather than television and media as with previous technologies; it’s not geared towards allowing animation.

    My only concern is possibly with its use in icons without title text or labels beside them (e.g. an alternate version of a page meant for mobiles that just shows icons to save space being viewed on a phone that doesn’t support @font-face or at least whatever formats have been implemented with that particular page)

  • I have to say whilst I much prefer using @font-face to add custom fonts instead of all the hacks of images and absolute position or using flash. I do miss the simpler days of having a limited set of web safe fonts to set the body of a page in. It also feels like you should almost use @font-face as well, like you’re being lazy if you just use Arial all over the page.

  • It certainly helps when you are trying to comply with brand guidelines as you can closely match the web experience typographically with print. Many professional designers who have a traditional print background can feel less hampered with greater font freedom.

  • Unless you think great designs come about by happy accidents happening to amateurs supported by having only limited options, then it’s a no-brainer. Having more control over all the different elements of design is always going to be better – but it will still take great designers mostly to create great designs, notwithstanding the occasional happy accident.

  • Adobe have released “Source Sans Pro” open source as web font that can be used with @font-face. Which is actually amazing quality even on old IE6.

    In the past I have always found that most web fonts have some downside in the old browsers, either too small and it become pixelated or too big and it just looks horrible. But I have been testing using body {font-family:source-sans-pro} and I can’t find any weakness as of yet.

    You can test it here: