Gone are the days we were limited to using Verdana or Arial for our web pages! Now, we have all sorts of varieties available to use on our web pages, thanks to the web font services.
There was a time when web designers didn’t have much choice when it comes to web typography. They could only use default fonts of a system (web safe fonts) like Arial, Times New Roman, etc. However, with the advancement in web technologies came the CSS3 that presented us with a quick and easy solution to our web font dilemmas.
Thanks to CSS3 feature @font-face we could now link to a custom font, which was hosted on our server. Soon, we were introduced third party web font services that allow us to use any web friendly font without hosting it on our server.
Below are the 11 most popular web font services web designers have been using. These services host a huge collection of web fonts. Some may require royalties or licensing, but many of them also offer fonts for free.
Adobe Typekit is by far one of the most popular tools to use for web fonts. This is a very high quality font providing service and is being used by large corporations, designers, and studios of all types. Their free account will let you choose from 800+ fonts for one website and use two fonts only. Their portfolio plan will give you access to 4200+ fonts for an unlimited amount of websites.
Google Web Fonts is another top choice for designers. The best part about using these fonts is that they are customizable and open source. You can choose the thickness, slant, and width you want. You can sort out fonts by category (serif, sans serif, display, handwriting, and monospace) and script.
Web type has some really high quality fonts. You can select from a large range of fonts optimized for the web from five different categories and fifteen different foundries. This is not a free service and after a 30-day trial period, you’ll have to pay $40 per year (minimum) for a subscription.
Font.com is a relatively new service offering thousands of web optimized fonts. Their free plan gives you access to 3000 web fonts for only two projects and requires you to put their site badge on the website where their font is used. However, their standard plan is complete with 40,000+ web fonts that can be used on unlimited web projects for a $10 per month charge.
This service allows downloadable fonts for self-hosting. Instead of having to worry about licensing or restrictions on how you can use them, you can simply purchase a font and use it as many times as you like, anywhere you like, and however often you like. The prices range from free to several hundred dollars. The number of fonts available on this website is extensive, so if you’re looking for a specific font, you better check it out!
Font Squirrel acknowledges the fact that it is hard to find good quality, free fonts that are devoid of licensing issues. There’s a large range of classifications to choose from and it’s also easy to find the list of top trending fonts under categories such as “most popular” or “hot web fonts”.
This type foundary isn’t as popular and well-known as the others listed above, but it is certainly one that deserves attention. Typotheque is a Netherlands based studio that offers a variety of features with their fonts. The only downside is that there is a limited selection of fonts in their collection.
Apart from Typekit, Adobe decided to partner with Google and host another service that offers web fonts. However, unlike Typekit, these web fonts are totally free without a need for an account. However, there is only a limited selection of 500 fonts available on this platform.
These are web fonts by Hoefler and Co, a design agency. Subscriptions start from $99 a year, which is a little expensive, but once you view their features and offerings, you just might think it’s worth it.
Typefront is another popular font hosting service. Download a font you like, read the licensing, and upload it to your website. Many of the Typefronts options include self-hosting fonts that you can own and use as you like. But again, make sure you read the licensing requirements. You can use the free plan, but it offers only one font and fulfills only 500 requests per day. The paid plans which start at $5 have a lot more capabilities.