The steadily gaining pressure of the medium and a new technology for distributing fonts to browsers has led one of the biggest names in font to hold the Web in earnest. On Tuesday, Monotype Imaging will open a catalog of nearly 8,000 of its fonts, with more to come, for use on Web pages.
Monotype Imaging’s Web font overhaul drew 15,000 users in beta testing with a smaller set of 2,200 fonts, but now it’s launching for typical use.
When it comes to typography on the Web, “that world has been stunted,” Monotype Imaging Chief Executive Doug Shaw said in an interview. “We look at it as a very vital evolution in adapting typefaces to this new world.”
Well, not new exactly, but new to the font industry. To date, most Web designers have relied on a strained grouping of:
• A few “Web-safe” fonts such as Verdana and Arial that can be expected to be installed on the majority computers.
• Text rendered in graphics formats such as JPEG.
• Adobe Systems’ Flash Player plug-in that offers shine but that’s somewhat isolated from the rest of a Web page.
The entrance of Web fonts is an important milestone in the development of electronic media. The future of reading is text on screens–whether a book on an encourage, a magazine on an iPad, or a news app on a mobile phone. Bringing that era to browsers is necessary to making the Web as polished as other electronic media and as the print publications it’s often supplanting.