It’s been two years since Typekit launched their service for embedding non-system fonts into websites. Today it is possible, as never before, to build a website that takes advantage of the thousands of fonts also available in the print design world.
I’m not sure what the longterm implications of this innovation will be. Readability might actually suffer, since many of the print fonts do not perform particularly well in on-line environments. Will we someday look back nostalgically at the clarity and readability of Georgia and Verdana?
One thing that is clear is that your potential for projecting a brand personality on the Web has just expanded exponentially. The chances are now quite good that whatever fonts are stipulated in your graphic standards manual can be used throughout your website as well as in print.
Working with my talented colleagues at Door No. 2, we just launched a college website that takes advantage of Typekit’s capabilities. The website for DePauw University uses the same two typefaces – Adobe Caslon and Futura – that are used throughout the college’s print program. If you haven’t explored the potential offered by Typekit, it wouldn’t hurt to spend a few minutes poking around the site. You will find the same style sheets, employing, for example, the rather stylized Caslon Italic, operating throughout the site (save the athletics pages). This alters the user experience. To me, the site feels a bit less utilitarian and a bit more pleasurable. It certainly has a different impact than a site with more traditional style sheets.
As I wrote in my last post, the emergence of Typekit makes it pressing to review one’s identity manual to evaluate the applicability of your current typefaces to the Web. From here on out, graphic standard systems will need to take the Web side of the house seriously. We now have the potential to employ the same fonts in both Web and print. It’s up to the university or school communications teams to review the fonts that are currently being used, and retain or replace them. The convergence of Web and print technologies offers enormous potential for expanding the reach of one’s brand image. It’s up to institutions to take advantage of this great potential.