HTML and CSS Reference
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@FONt-FaCe aND SaaS
though it seems as if it's been around for only a year or two, @font-face was actually introduced back in
1998 with the CSS2 specification. 2 however, it wasn't really used until recently due to lack of support, browser
incompatibility issues, and—most of all—legal concerns.
the use of @font-face creates a pointer to the font, which allows the browser to download it and use it for
rendering the font on the user's machine. this is great for design, but it opens the door for anyone to simply
download the font illegally. type foundries, predictably, were not okay with this.
in recent years, however, big steps were made toward increasing the security of fonts on the Web. in addition to
new formats for web fonts, such as embedded Open type (eOt) and Web Open Font Format (WOFF), companies
sprang up that provided web font embedding software as a service (SaaS).
there are many benefits to using SaaS, and only one downside (that isn't really a downside at all). the primary
benefits are these:
the font is available to you without having to purchase it.
You no longer have to navigate murky legal waters to protect yourself and your clients.
the finickiness of cross-browser font embedding is handled for you.
the only “downside” to using SaaS for font embedding is that it's not free. But if you look at the numbers, using
SaaS is actually a huge bargain. For example, the popular Futura font is available for purchase as a web font from
MyFonts 3 for $24.95 per style or $445.50 to buy the whole family (limited to 10,000 pageviews per month).
Fonts.com 4 charges $10 per month to embed the entire Futura family (as well as any of the other fonts in its
library) for up to 250,000 pageviews per month.
When we do the math, that means that if the only font being embedded was the Futura family, it would take more
than 3-1/2 years of using SaaS to equate purchasing a web font license.
Considering that you also get 25 times the number ofpageviews and that you'll probably be using more than one
font from the service, it's pretty obvious that SaaS is a great deal.