typekitI’ve just signed up to a new and highly anticipated service called Typekit. Web designers have been severely limited to date in their choice of typefaces because of the need to apply the lowest common denominator, in this case the ubiquity of a font. Typekit aims to change that by using a central library of fonts which are called up using the @fontface CSS declaration.

Typekit is offering a free trial along with 3 payment plans, Personal, Portfolio and Corporate. The trial gives you access to the site and the use of two fonts on one website.

  • Personal ($24.99 per annum) offers five fonts on one website
  • Portfolio ($49.99 per annum) unlimited fonts on one site
  • Corporate ($49.99 per month), which offers unlimited fonts on ten websites

Each pack also offers font libraries of ascending size.

Font selection
The Trial has 45 fonts available in a number of styles, mostly regular, italic, bold and bold italic, but no full families (including light condensed and extended typefaces).
I didn’t count the numbers in the other packs, suffice it to say that there are plenty to choose from.

Font Quality
The trial fonts look good in the sample images (24pt approx), but there is no way to judge body text – Typekit should really add an untweaked preview image of a paragraph. I say untweaked, because it’s vital to see how well the letters space is real use. I’m also conscious that I’m viewing an image on a mac. I’m curious to see how well the fonts display across different systems. I’ll report back on that later.
Many familiar foundries appear, eg: Fonthead and Chank, but I didn’t see ITC, Linotype, Monotype or Adobe. It would be encouraging to see some of the big type foundries coming on board.

Pricing
I think Typekit are off target with their pricing structure, particularly the Corporate. Ten websites is just not enough, imo. I suspect that most designers will opt for the Personal plan and pass the billing onto the client.
Five fonts is more than enough for any site.

Last word
Typekit is a service that’s been long been on every web designer’s wishlist. So far it looks promising, but I think to really flourish it needs some of the big boys to come on board and extend the quality of the range.
They should also offer support for more websites in the more expensive packages. There’s also the issue of support. Currently the @fontface selector is only supported by the most recent browsers. Typekit offers some support for Microsoft’s WEFT system, but not all fonts are supported.

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