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Web Font Embedding Services

In this web authoring tutorial, we will be showcasing some of the best web font embedding services. These services allow you to use fonts outside of those typically installed on a user's computer system, allowing for a more flexible web page design without needing to rely upon images.

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By: Alejandro Gervasio
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July 07, 2011
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Web Font Embedding Services
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If you’re anything like me, whenever you put your hands on the construction of a modern website, you feel somewhat constrained by the limited variety of fonts that can be rendered across most modern browsers. If you think that Arial, Tahoma and Verdana are not good enough to leverage all of your creativity and talent, fear not, since those limitations are starting to vanish into thin air. In the last few years a brand new breed of services have put their stamp on the terrain of professional web design, and apparently, they’re here to stay.

Surrounded by growing popularity, now it’s possible to make use of the so-called “web font embedding services”, a bunch of online companies which let you pick those beautifully-crafted fonts that you dreamed of so many times before and use them on your web pages. Best of all, you’ll be able to achieve this at an affordable cost, or even for free (at least if you use the Google Font API).

It’s valid to point out, though, that the hype generated by web font embedding services goes hand in hand with the support that many browser vendors have progressively added to the old and venerable “@font-face” CSS property. Being currently supported by most big players, like Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari and so forth, the property permits you to take advantage of the aforementioned services, in this way expanding the options that you have when it comes to choosing an adequate typography for your website.  

In reality, there’s a decent variety of web-font services whose names probably will be familiar to you. Google Web Fonts, Fonts.com, Typekit, WebINK, Kernest, Fontspring, Fontdeck, Typotheque, TypeFront, WebType (among others) are the most important ones, and as such, they deserve a close and detailed look, in case you’re planning to use one of them in your next web project.

With that idea in mind, in this two-part tutorial, I’ll be providing you with a quick overview of the features that each service offers, so that you can pick up the one that best suits your needs.

Google Web Fonts

The first contender in this overview is the popular Google Web Fonts (http://www.google.com/webfonts), a free web-font service released by the search engine company during the last year. In case you haven’t heard about it yet, the service offers an interesting and growing gallery of fonts, which now includes over 150 typographies. The font directory is extremely easy to browse, and downloading fonts is a breeze (be sure to read first the corresponding licenses). In addition, typographies are also available for mobile devices such as Android 2.2+ and iOS 4.2+ (iPhone, iPad, iPod).

Undoubtedly, the most engaging feature of Google Web Fonts is the fact that the service is totally free. In addition, there isn’t a limit to the number of typefaces that can be used, and you won’t need to go through a tedious registration process to start using the service. All that you need to do is explore the list of available fonts and download the ones that best suit your needs, either by calling the Font API from within your web pages, or directly to your machine.

Perhaps the service’s most major drawback is the limited number of downloadable fonts, especially when compared to other competitors in the field. However, if you want to give a fresh touch to your website with new typographies and don’t want to spend a single buck in the entire revamping process, Google Web Fonts might be the solution that you’re looking for.

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