Google’s Web Fonts project provides more than 500 high-quality free fonts for you to use on Web pages. Their goal is to “create a directory of core Web fonts for the world and to provide an API service so that anyone can bring quality typography to their Web pages.” Google notes that this free service runs on Google’s servers, which are fast, reliable and tested, and that it is possible to add Google Web Fonts to a website in seconds.
Just go to www.google.com/webfonts and browse the library. The interface makes it easy to find fonts by adjusting sliders for Thickness, Slant and Width. Or, you can choose a category such as Serif, Sans Serif, Display or Handwriting. You can then preview your choice of typefaces, shown either as side-by-side paragraphs or headlines. You can also “Test Drive” your own text in a layout that uses your choice of typefaces. They even have a gauge that indicates the speed hit your page will experience if you use a particular typeface — just click the “Quick-use” icon next to the “Add to Collection” button.
In the name of designers everywhere, I welcome this alternative to “renting” fonts for use on a website.
Jay Nelson is the editorial director of PlanetQuark.com, and the editor and publisher of Design Tools Monthly. He’s also the author of the QuarkXPress 8 and QuarkXPress 7 training titles at Lynda.com, as well as the training videos Quark includes in the box with QuarkXPress 7 . In addition, Jay writes regularly for Macworld and Photoshop User magazines and speaks at industry events.