Gelett Burgess once quipped “I don’t know anything about art, but I know what I like”. For many of us, the same thing can be said of fonts. For a designer cranking on a client’s project, an entrepreneur looking to sway her investors or a student buttressing his weak research with a little razzle-dazzle in his presentation, the right font can make all the difference--provided you know which one you’re looking for. WhatFontIs exists, to help you souse out the font of your heart’s desire, and it’s our Cool Site of the Week.
Back in the old days all you got was green phosphor, mono-spaced text, and 80 characters per line. And weren’t those days just awful for presenting anything interesting on a computer screen? Today, while creative opportunities abound, there are still problems to address. A big one is having presented on those screens--all of those screens--what you want to have seen. One of the components of this is typeface, and at present there aren’t any definitive standards.
Mozilla, in combination with Tal Leming and Erik van Blokland, type designers who have been working on the .webfont format, are proposing a solution: the Web Open Font Format (WOFF). WOFF makes use of Leming and van Blokland’s work to embed useful font metadata with font resource compression developed by Jonathan Kew of Mozilla. The resulting format includes optimized compression that reduces download time for font resources. Because the fonts won’t include encryption or Digital Rights Management (DRM) it would have to be open source. A draft of the WOFF file format is available online.
WOFF is receiving support from a wide array of font producers. And efforts are now underway to incorporate this new technology into Firefox 3.6 (including the beta version). It is expected that it will also be implemented into WebKit-based browsers, such as Safari, Chrome and Opera.