1. Web Design
  2. Typography

Working With WebINK: Pro-Quality Fonts for the Web

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WebINK by Extensis is a web font service which gives you access to over a thousand font families, produced by the best foundries in the industry. As a designer, you can use their fonts in Photoshop and in development, for free, before handing over the whole project to your client's WebINK account.

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Using free web fonts, through a service such as Google Fonts, or even taking a font you've downloaded and converted yourself, isn't always the best way to go about things. Here are one or two reasons worth taking into account:

  • Quality: You'll often notice the kerning, spacing between each character, isn't well balanced - or that the form of the typeface is less refined than you'd want.
  • Incomplete character sets/missing glyphs: This is evident particularly if you're dealing with something other than Western European characters.
  • Individuality: There are quality free web fonts available (think Open Sans) but these fonts are logically used in websites all across the spectrum - where's the unique aspect of your typography choice there?!
  • Licensing: This isn't an issue when using Google Web Fonts, but the legalities of using free fonts from other services, especially if you've converted a font yourself, can be shaky ground.

WebINK in Your Workflow

Alternatively, download the video, or subscribe to Webdesigntuts+ screencasts via YouTube

One thing I didn't mention in the video is the absence of a JavaScript linking method. Many font web services offer JavaScript linking which allows for fixes if FOUT (Flash of Unstyled Text) is encountered. FOUT is that annoying flash which can happen when fonts are switched out as they're loaded. This is particularly evident, as you'd expect, on slow connections.

WebINK provide just CSS and HTML linking, simply countering the effect of FOUT with fast font loading. Their fonts are hosted on Amazon's S3 cloud service, all over the globe, meaning that files are loaded from the geographically nearest servers possible.

Note: It's also worthing pointing out that the brief page refresh I needed to perform was owing to the fact that I'd previously been playing with that url - browser cache tripped things up. Also, the unusually long loading time in Photoshop may have been influenced by my screencasting software sucking up processing resources.

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