Jeffrey Veen, founding partner of Adaptive Path and mastermind behind Google Analytics, has announced typekit. The service, which should be available later this summer, aims at solving the problem of legally using fonts on your web pages.
A small backgrounder: Typography quite obviously has a huge impact on any design. It therefore comes somewhat as a surprise how limited real support for fonts is available in the current HTML and CSS specification. Over the years the community has created a number of workarounds to address this problem: sIFR, cufon and typeface.js to name only a few.
Leveraging the W3C 2002 Working Draft 2 CSS3 module: Web Fonts specification, typekit has been
“[…] working with foundries to develop a consistent web-only font linking license. We’ve built a technology platform that lets us to host both free and commercial fonts in a way that is incredibly fast, smoothes out differences in how browsers handle type, and offers the level of protection that type designers need without resorting to annoying and ineffective DRM.
While we definitely find the concept and idea intriguing and will start to follow the typekit folks on Twitter, we are not yet sure whether the service will see web wide adoption. Unfortunately Veen has not published technical details or anything related to the payment plans that we can expect.
Done right typekit can potentially have a greater impact on how fonts get used and commercialized.
If, however, we start running into a DRM nightmare when visiting websites because a designer might have used a font with an expired license, I doubt that the service will do good to either brands, designers or visitors.