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So Much Power, So Few Options

Published by Chris Coyier

David Berlow commenting on font rendering abilities in the browser:’s not treated beyond a fourth-grader’s crayoning abilities; no shadows, in-lines, outlines, fill variety, twisting, perspective, set on a bouncing line, or opaque over another object, much less in motion. If the web’s imaging language is going to call the mighty capabilities of digital outlines for display type all the way to the user’s PC, when will it be a worthwhile shift of rendering power? Can we aim a little higher, like for the initial capabilities of Adobe Illustrator 1.0?

It's funny when you think of it that way. There is so much awesome technology at work already to display a font on a screen, yet we are so limited in what we are able to do once it's there.

And a poignant (and funny) response from Mark Pilgrim on "real" font foundry fonts and inferior open source fonts:

Let me put it another way. Your Fonts are superior to Our Fonts in every conceivable way, except one:



  1. Permalink to comment#

    Hehe… we’re stuck in the nineties :)

  2. It’s funny, I just watched Seth Godin’s presentation on “This is broken” and I think this is a great example of what he was talking about. Interesting…

    Seth Godin Presentation

  3. Permalink to comment#

    “So much power, so little options”? Did you possibly mean “so few options?”

  4. I think it’s rendering priority issue. Graphics usually take the cake over fonts for that since there’s not much complaining about it quite yet.

    Kinda sucks that it usually take social uproar to get anything done now-a-days.

  5. Permalink to comment#

    That’s the standards process. Standards are good, but they have their drawbacks. However, it provides an opportunity for good designers to really shine and stand out.

  6. Permalink to comment#

    I think that standards should be no more than two years behind the current technology. So if the graphics cards can render the fonts withing theGimp, Photoshop, etc. then the browser should also.

  7. Check out Typefaces we can all share : Open Font Library

    The Open Font Library hosts the cream of non-proprietary typeface designs. Start using @font-face. Link in to Web Fonts! We host font files that you can directly link to from your sites.

  8. Permalink to comment#

    Our software has been so laggy compared to our hardware for a while now…I hope it’s on it’s way to changing. I agree about the standards being a double edged sword. But I feel if this field is to really catch up to itself, there has to be some kind of one.

  9. Yeah…its true…

  10. Jon
    Permalink to comment#

    i have a solution and it goes as follows:

    commercial users pay for fonts,
    non-commercial users don’t

    that’s how it works in print… i don’t have to own the rights to every font i read in a magazine.

    clearly the concern here is for some sort of piracy… but WHY? first of all, the means to pirate fonts already exist, if I was so interested in pirating a font I’m sure i could download it via bit-torrent. If you’re a font using professional use some sort of system to make sure you own the fonts you’re using in a professional context and presto. anyways, the kinks need to be worked out but it just kills me that the font industry is dragging so much arse on this one.

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