Experimenting with TypeKit.com

Been looking at alternative font-replacement techniques of late, and have just received my beta invite to TypeKit.com. The idea behind their service, is that they host the fonts, you pay a monthly fee, and you can embed whatever font from their lib into your site via js and css. No flash/image/php replacement techniques, no hiding text off the page, it’s the font as you want it.


Ive only had a brief look at it thus far – but so far, it seems quite nifty! Check out the results below (please isgnore the styling – this is just an experiment!!) :

This is a header using a font from TypeKit.com – this is not an image!!!

You can copy/paste me!! Phasellus volutpat blandit augue, quis viverra lacus dictum at. Donec commodo volutpat ante, hendrerit lacinia turpis scelerisque at. Sed sed odio ut risus aliquet dignissim. Sed in tempor lacus. Nunc turpis felis, aliquet consequat egestas sit amet, fringilla vel diam. Vestibulum est purus, laoreet sit amet faucibus nec, consectetur a ligula. Mauris vel sapien nisl. Curabitur dignissim nisl at magna molestie at placerat mi viverra. In vulputate, nisl nec hendrerit tincidunt, ipsum arcu vulputate lectus, eget elementum diam sem sed arcu. Sed non nibh neque, sed euismod elit. Pellentesque in lorem arcu, at luctus sem. Mauris vel turpis vel dui tincidunt faucibus. Ut et libero massa, sit amet dictum erat. Nam aliquet mattis neque eget posuere.

There are a couple of issues I can see straight away :

1. the size of the file needed to load means that there is a lag between seeing your embedded font and the fallback font – similar to the old days of sIFR

2. as more people use the service, the capacity to serve up font files will be put under a lot of stress – but hopefully they can keep up with demand and this wont become an issue


  • Dan

    Oh, and it doesn’t work in mobile safari

  • http://typekit.com Bryan Mason

    Thanks for the write up, Daniel. I want to comment on the couple of points you made:

    1) The size of the font files are, in large measure, up to the website owner. Jeff here is using Proxima Nova by Mark Simonson, which adds a pretty minimal 22k. http://veen.tumblr.com/

    2) Working with our CDN partners, Typekit has servers distributed globally to ensure that all users have the fastest possible connection to their fonts. You can keep tabs on us here: http://bit.ly/3jdkOY

    Please let us know if we can answer any other questions.

    Bryan from Typekit.

  • dan

    Hey Bryan :)

    Yeah – the font size I think is comparable to sIFR, and in the grand scheme of things isn’t enormous.

    Re:servers – figured you’d have something in place

    One thing ive noticed is that it doesn’t appear to be working in ie8… ?

  • http://buffered.io/ OJ

    It sure is a nifty idea, though it’s not something I would personally pay for. CDNs for this kind of thing are a must as well.

    As far as load times are concerned, I think this could be a bigger issue (I’m not sure though). One question I would have is, does the browser cache the font like it caches everything else, or is there some other kind of trickery in place which prevents the cache from being used?

    For me it’s only working in Firefox (3.5.3). It doesn’t work in IE 8 on Win 7 x64, and Google Chrome fails too.

    If it’s a paid service, they’d better try and sort out their cross-browser/platform issues pronto.

  • http://shiftperception.com dan

    @OJ – yeah, it apears to cache at least for me in ff. You have options for a free service, which is what I’m playing around with.

    I agree, to be a paid service, you’d hope it works on all browsers. It’s early days though, and hopefully sometime in the distant future browsers will adopt dynamic fonts so all the sites we visit can be in DIN condensed :)