This is my experience, perspective and opinion. If you have more to add, please share! We all become greater through sharing each other’s experiences and growing from there.
Good typography online is so important!
Designers use fonts all the time. When developing websites, it feels a tad restrictive to only use a handful of widespread fonts. Ho hum.
At first, the only way to use fun and different fonts online was to use them in an image or in Flash. This was great, except the upkeep/updating was horrible! (Nevermind SEO.)
Today we have some options but are still in the infancy stages of font integration. Big type houses really don’t have their “stuff” together. Many that I contacted didn’t know how to answer when I asked how I can purchase a font for use on a client’s website.
Subscription based fonts
Last year, I bought ONE subscription based font library license – but the library was/is super-limited. I was only was able to find 1 (!) font to use out of it! Yuck. I won’t be renewing that & now have to find, purchase and replace the font I used on my client’s site at my own expense because it didn’t work out. It would have worked out well if I could have taken advantage of other fonts they offer through that yearly subscription.
I’ve been using cufon technology and having clients purchase the font – or use a free font instead – if a font is not already a part of an already created/purchasable theme.
My model of purchasing a font (per client) and using it through cufon seems to be following all the rules and regulations that I could find for the type houses I purchased from. (I sure hope so!) It’s my intention to work with businesses in a legal fashion – to pay for value they add to my work.
What I’d like to see
Type houses are totally losing out with their lag in grasping a new model for their business for web-font usage. It is not a clear road for designers at this point.
I would like to see a clear legal set of guidelines that include the usage of their fonts for websites. Right now, it’s very unclear, but upon purchase, I save their legal pages from their remote areas of their sites that mention using fonts through cufon is OK at this point. They may think it’s a fringe market, but I think this is a very large area of growth.
I hope type houses can get their stuff together and make fonts more easily available for web designers, soon. Because of their lag, we’re seeing many more “rip off” fonts these days, which is really lame – but people are just finding a way to make it work, while the type houses flounder.
Type houses aren’t being proactive.
At first, I thought the subscription based approach was where this was heading, but I like the cufon approach so much more. Not only because it’s a “one time” charge, but because I can see and buy what is appropriate for a site, and not have to search through a list of oddball named fonts to see if there’s one that is almost a match to what I want to use.
By using the cufon method, I have already spent more money than a yearly subscription costs. If font houses are “afraid” that they won’t be making as much money this way, I’m a good example of how they are thinking about it all wrong.