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I was wondering if Typekit fonts are used on any big sites. I know on their site https://typekit.com/ it says Twitter and NYTimes use it, but actually checked out the source on their pages, it doesn't seem they use it at all (any 'non-standard' fonts are usually done with images instead, a la Apple's homepage). My question is threefold:

  • Do any large sites use TypeKit fonts for the majority of their text?
  • Are there any development downsides to using TypeKit fonts and having users download these fonts? Would this ever cause a problem?
  • What happens 'before' a user's browser downloads the font? Does nothing appear, or does a substitution occur until that font has been downloaded?

Note: the font I am considering is Proxima Nova

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I'd ask the first bullet-point over on Graphic Design or maybe Webmasters. The latter two bullet points should be asked on Stack Overflow –  DA01 Jun 18 '12 at 0:53
    
"Does anyone use..." isn't really the kind of question we answer per the faq; it's not a practical problem, it's just a curiosity (and the answer may change at any time). As DA01 implies, your latter two questions would be better asked (separately) on Stack Overflow as it's a technical/implementation issue rather than a design issue. –  Ben Brocka Jun 18 '12 at 1:23
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closed as off topic by ChrisF, JohnGB, Ben Brocka Jun 18 '12 at 1:20

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1 Answer

(side note) This is just the type of question that does not quite belong on stackoverflow and yet doesn't seem to quite make sense here either. We need a general question site to handle this type of question.

Typekit works great and there are some great websites that use it. https://typekit.com/gallery?utm_source=typekit-blog&utm_medium=blog&utm_content=bggl110701&utm_campaign=gallery there are more I'm sure but having big popular websites using a particular technology or not is not a good basis for its use. You should pick the technology that fits your needs and your audience. That said typekit does have some caveats.

Its a good system for using @font-face, which can be achieved more cheaply with google fonts or a manual implementation. So thats one thing to think about.

Another is the high marketshare of windows XP which does not have font smoothing turned on by default. If you look at the typekit site on a computer running windows XP in default mode, you will see how nasty and jagged the fonts look. Now this is the typekit site itself, no where else would I hold typekit to a higher standard. The windows XP problem is not limited to any specific browser either, @font-face fonts will often be jagged in Chrome for XP worse than IE8 (which has some tricks to helping with font smoothing).

enter image description here

Here is a screen capture of the https://typekit.com/fonts/proxima-nova page. On the left is chrome OSX followed by IE8 and Chrome on XP. Proxima Nova looks pretty good, even with the jagged font smoothing, and depending on the font weight you pick. (if you see the original screen capture the font jaggedness is abit more apparent.).

If the font smoothing issue on XP really bothers you, you can also do what I do. Use @font-face (or typekit), then use javascript to detect font jaggedness. If fonts are jagged fall back to CUFON. Cufon works well with smooth fonts in all senerios. The problem with it is the overhead, and some scripting complexities when compared to @font-face. Of course implementing 2 solutions and the detection component requires more skill and is more difficult.

In the end its a personal value judgement on the level of effort you want to put in, and how important typography and the way typography displays is to you.

Cheers!

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