Grumpy Wizards make toxic brew for the Evil Queen and Jack
July 1, 2011 5:42 AM   Subscribe

Google WebFonts - 184+ open-source webfonts from Google.
posted by blue_beetle (42 comments total) 79 users marked this as a favorite

 
I +1 this.
posted by Rory Marinich at 5:43 AM on July 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


They're super nice fonts, and I'm excited about this. Still, I'm waiting to see when they get incorporated into Google Docs - its lack of font choice is probably its biggest liability.
posted by Apropos of Something at 5:50 AM on July 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Pack my box with five dozen liquor jugs!
posted by jammy at 5:51 AM on July 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


How are these open source? Can you download the raw Fontographer or whatever files and tweak them yourself? Do you need to use the API, or can you download all the bits and serve them from your own website? That is the wrong term, entirely.
posted by mkb at 5:58 AM on July 1, 2011


That is the wrong term, entirely.

Well, it's the term Google is using... ?
Our primary goal with this new interface is to ensure that as the library of free, open source web fonts grows, you can still browse the library quickly and easily. To accomplish this goal, we've introduced the concept of a collection, which is similar to the concept of a shopping cart on your favorite ecommerce website.
-- From the Google Web Fonts Blog.

And if you want you could just pull the entire set from their source control here -- Google Font Directory on Code.Google.
posted by cavalier at 6:02 AM on July 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hey guys check out this amazing new javascript thing!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:02 AM on July 1, 2011


Sorry, never mind, I see that the point here is the sparkly new interface.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:04 AM on July 1, 2011


Which is shit.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:05 AM on July 1, 2011


And if you want you could just pull the entire set from their source control here -- Google Font Directory on Code.Google.

Wha? You really have to poke around before you can find that. The license and FAQ don't make that clear at all.
posted by mkb at 6:05 AM on July 1, 2011


So Google wants to compete with TypeKit I guess.
posted by mkb at 6:07 AM on July 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


The fonts appear to be under the Open Font License, and are downloadable as TTF. You can quibble whether TTF can be considered "source", but they're certainly mutatable/remixable.
posted by phooky at 6:13 AM on July 1, 2011


I think their competing more with Font Squirrel which also offers freely licensed fonts (not all freely licensed things are 'open source' natch).

Typekit has some freebies but they focus more on licensed fonts like Futura (you know, for your Mad Men fan site)
posted by device55 at 6:14 AM on July 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


I've used this nearly as long as it's been available and I love it. The thing it still needs is a good Helvetica/Arial-style narrow.
posted by Mayor Curley at 6:14 AM on July 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


And 19 of them support Cyrillic. I'll take it!
posted by mazola at 6:18 AM on July 1, 2011


About a year ago, I made my own @font-face font for my web site using Font Squirrel's tool. It's fairly easy to do, but this is much easier. (Google is really increasing their involvement in this; when I made my page they have maybe 5 fonts available.)
posted by Benny Andajetz at 6:20 AM on July 1, 2011


Doesn't Mad Men use Gill Sans?

If only Google offered a good equivalent of Alternate Gothic. I use that font more than I use just about anything. Maybe they could sign up League Gothic? (I use @font-face; I am lazy; this looks easier).
posted by Rory Marinich at 6:22 AM on July 1, 2011


Doesn't Mad Men use Gill Sans?

I remember reading some article where a font nerd got very upset that they were using Futura on the walls ( or door nameplates or something) at Sterling Cooper, because you see Futura would have just been invented and not available yet in the US. Or something.

But I could be wrong.
posted by device55 at 6:24 AM on July 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Is it just me, or do Webfonts not antialias correctly in Chrome? I can always spot web fonts, because they're super-jagged.
posted by schmod at 6:28 AM on July 1, 2011


Field Notes brand notebooks use Futura to great effect.
posted by Apropos of Something at 6:28 AM on July 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


What do normal (non-IT) people do, who want new fonts? I've tried to find a few fonts in the past, and I have only found them available for hundreds of dollars and in a dozen different sub-varieties—which makes me think I'm looking at sources for designers (i.e., tweakable fonts), not ordinary consumers. Or is that really the usual consumer-grade price for fonts, hundreds of dollars apiece?

I'd love to buy some new fonts (example), but spending $325 on a single font while Microsoft Office costs $149 makes me think I must be looking at the wrong websites. If I am, I'd really appreciate a shove in the right direction. If not, then I certainly see a value in open-source fonts.
posted by cribcage at 6:28 AM on July 1, 2011


mkb: So Google wants to compete with TypeKit I guess.

Actually no, the web fonts project was done with a lot of cooperation with the Typekit folks. Will some designers choose to go with Google Web Fonts instead of Typekit, Fontdeck, or any other paid service? Probably, but those of us that want are particular set of fonts, will still be using paying for exactly what we ant.
posted by thebestsophist at 6:29 AM on July 1, 2011


Is it just me, or do Webfonts not antialias correctly in Chrome?

Many web font providers out there package up many file formats of the same font in one distribution and use some clever CSS tricks to load the right format for the right browser.

In your case one of the particular formats may be jacked up. Fonts coming from freebie places (like font squirrel) often have this problem - the fonts may have been machined converted from one format to another and have ended up all janky.

If you're a web developer using web fonts you need to test thoroughly in all browsers for weird artifacts and strange behavior.

(for example, IE 6, 7, 8 all get hinky when you try to make a web font - an EOT file format - semi transparent via javascript animation.)
posted by device55 at 6:31 AM on July 1, 2011


What do normal (non-IT) people do, who want new fonts? I've tried to find a few fonts in the past, and I have only found them available for hundreds of dollars and in a dozen different sub-varieties—which makes me think I'm looking at sources for designers (i.e., tweakable fonts), not ordinary consumers. Or is that really the usual consumer-grade price for fonts, hundreds of dollars apiece?

There are lots of free fonts available. Most of them are pretty crappy, but a lot are not not. You won't find the "brand-name" fonts like that article suggests, but you can probably find fonts that are pretty damn similar. Some good places to start looking:

Font Squirrel
The League of Moveable Type
daFont
posted by Benny Andajetz at 6:36 AM on July 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


If I am, I'd really appreciate a shove in the right direction. If not, then I certainly see a value in open-source fonts.

Adobe has some inexpensive font collections

The font in your example supports like 15 languages, which is part of why it's so expensive.
posted by device55 at 6:41 AM on July 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


This is version 2 (review) of Google Web Fonts; in addition to the redesign they added about 100 new fonts. This will replace the current version "sometime in the next few weeks."

Google Web Fonts are mainly intended for embedding on web pages.
posted by kirkaracha at 6:44 AM on July 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


For those interested in free fonts, UnDotum is really, really good. I've ordered my browser to use it everywhere.
posted by Anything at 6:50 AM on July 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Is there a way to filter for monospace fonts only? I can't seem to find it.
posted by vanar sena at 6:51 AM on July 1, 2011


Yeah, it felt like they were looking for you to embed and refer to them on the pages, at least it felt like that to me on first glance.

mkb:
Wha? You really have to poke around before you can find that. The license and FAQ don't make that clear at all.
.

All I did was click on the 'Download Your Collection' in the upper right hand corner of the linked page. There, right at the bottom of the ajax, is:

"Note: If you want to download all Google web fonts you can do that at the Google Code Project.".

Seems pretty straight forward to me, but maybe I got lucky by clicking on download collection?
posted by cavalier at 6:51 AM on July 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Correction: there are 3 fonts with "mono" in their name, perhaps those are the only ones.
posted by vanar sena at 6:53 AM on July 1, 2011


It appears that, if I opt to download and host the fonts myself, Google is only providing ttf version. Is that correct? I would still have to generate the eot, woff, and svg versions?

So, if I instead to opt to embedding the Google links, is Google serving the browser-correct font (eot, ttf, woff, svg)? Or are they still only serving ttf?
posted by Thorzdad at 6:55 AM on July 1, 2011


Sniglet is the new Comic Sans.
posted by ShutterBun at 6:55 AM on July 1, 2011


The font in your example supports like 15 languages, which is part of why it's so expensive.

I hadn't noticed that. Thanks for pointing it out.
posted by cribcage at 6:56 AM on July 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


device55: "Doesn't Mad Men use Gill Sans?

I remember reading some article where a font nerd got very upset that they were using Futura on the walls ( or door nameplates or something) at Sterling Cooper, because you see Futura would have just been invented and not available yet in the US. Or something.

But I could be wrong.
"

There was even a post on it here a couple of years ago.
posted by octothorpe at 7:17 AM on July 1, 2011


Google Fonts are nice, and I've been dipping into the designs for a while on different projects.

For me, though, the real value is Google's Web Font Loader API.

Conventional @font-face loading is purely a CSS-into-DOM event: The font either loads or it doesn't, it works or it don't.

Web Font Loader uses Javascript to load the font, and provides hooks for a variety of events, so you can provide distinct CSS to the same chunk of text during and after the requested font-face loads, as well as have fallback CSS to style the text should look like if the font doesn't load.

WFL is designed to support any font hosted at any URI. TypeKit supports it, but you can use it even if you're hosting fonts off your own server. It's a fantastic utility and I lean on it heavily.

If I sound fanboyish about this, well, it's because it's a beautiful one-step fix for a variety of @font-face support problems and edge cases that I've been bashing my skull against for a couple years.
posted by ardgedee at 8:10 AM on July 1, 2011 [5 favorites]


That should be, "WFL supports TypeKit" - apparently they cooperated on the design of the API, but the project is Google's. A few more foundries are supported as default names now, I see, but since fonts from anywhere have been supported since the beginning, that's more a convenience than anything else.
posted by ardgedee at 8:13 AM on July 1, 2011


Bah! No Indic fonts again. Oh well, one can hope...
posted by the cydonian at 8:32 AM on July 1, 2011


device55: "Many web font providers out there package up many file formats of the same font in one distribution and use some clever CSS tricks to load the right format for the right browser.

In your case one of the particular formats may be jacked up. Fonts coming from freebie places (like font squirrel) often have this problem - the fonts may have been machined converted from one format to another and have ended up all janky.
"

Figured it out. It's actually a bug in chrome. When GPU acceleration is being used to draw <canvas> elements, (which is apparently how Chrome internally handles webfonts), text is not antialiased.

Nothing to do with the quality of the fonts themselves.
posted by schmod at 8:38 AM on July 1, 2011


Grumpy Wizards make toxic brew for the Evil Queen and Jack

Jade has been kind of grumpy lately, but she's a witch, not a wizard.
posted by kenko at 9:57 AM on July 1, 2011


What do normal (non-IT) people do, who want new fonts?

If you don't mind getting your fonts in a less legal way: fontn.
posted by mahershalal at 1:06 AM on July 2, 2011


Pack my box with five dozen liquor jugs!

Jackdaws love my big Sphinx of quartz.
posted by WhackyparseThis at 7:23 AM on July 2, 2011


schmod: That might actually be the fault of your graphics drivers. Have a look at what happens to recent versions of Firefox if you turn adaptive anti-aliasing (or possibly the multisampling option?) on in the ATI drivers: it's not pretty!
posted by pharm at 9:13 AM on July 2, 2011


So, if I instead to opt to embedding the Google links, is Google serving the browser-correct font (eot, ttf, woff, svg)?

Google is serving whatever files browsers request. This is defined in the CSS spec for @font-face:

"When a font is needed the user agent iterates over the set of references listed, using the first one it can successfully activate."

Basically the CSS says "here are a bunch of different formats" and the browser chooses from that list.

When GPU acceleration is being used to draw <canvas> elements, (which is apparently how Chrome internally handles webfonts), text is not antialiased.

Chrome does not draw <canvas> elements to render web fonts. That sounds like Cufón.
posted by scottreynen at 1:41 PM on July 2, 2011


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