Some problems with webfonts explained

This article was written in 2015. It might or it might not be outdated. And it could be that the layout breaks. If that’s the case please let me know.

In this clear article about some of the issues with webfonts Prateek Rungta wonders why some designers and developers still have such a hard time with accepting the fact that the web doesn’t look the same under different conditions. You should read it and let the people who don’t understand this read it as well. Like your art directors, your boss, your client.

Prateek mentions this tweet by Linotype that says that webfont files are actually pretty small, so they should be no problem to download. It makes you wonder, if fonts are so small, why does everybody know the issue with web pages that don’t show any text. It turns out that file size isn’t the issue: the real issue is that fonts are often served from multiple domains. For instance, the CSS-file with the @font-face rules is hosted on a Typotheque server. And the font files themselves are hosted on an amazonaws-domain. It’s these different domains that cause the real delays. Multiple domains are especially slow on connections like 3G and Wifi in trains/hotels.

If I hosted the font-files myself the fonts would load much faster. Unfortunately self hosting is rather expensive with Typotheque. And other foundries want to be able to check my stats if I want to host the files myself. And their fonts are not as beautiful.

I’m really looking forward to the new font-display descriptor. This might solve some of the issues.