#69: First Ten Minutes with TypeKit

I got the invite from TypeKit, signed up, and had beautiful custom fonts rocking my page in just a few minutes. I'll show you the entire process from start to finish, as well as touch on the advantages and disadvantages.

Links from Video:


  1. User Avatar
    Permalink to comment#

    nice, I’ll watch now. I just got my mail and i just finished registering too

  2. User Avatar
    Mark Frost
    Permalink to comment#

    Got my invite today also, really excited to try it out.

    Thanks for the quick intro Chris. :-)

  3. User Avatar
    David B
    Permalink to comment#

    can you give us an idea of how much it cost?

  4. User Avatar
    Permalink to comment#

    Ultimately I would love to see.webfont become the standard. But in the interim this is very cool, I can’t wait to see how Fontdeck compares to this.

  5. User Avatar
    Permalink to comment#

    I think that’s a pretty interesting system.. I’m going to have to give it a try

  6. User Avatar
    Permalink to comment#

    That is pretty sweet. How much does it cost for the one you signed up for? I just tried heading over to typekit.com and it says that the website is still coming…

    Cheers for the screencast

  7. User Avatar
    Permalink to comment#

    About the flashing of the underlaying font.
    Although I haven’t tested this in a JS Off/CSS On environment (’cause I pretty much know it’s not gonan work)….

    you could make the elemet display:none, and after it’s done it’s magic make it display:block again.

  8. User Avatar
    Jaymie Jones
    Permalink to comment#

    Well, just tried it out as I received the same email Chris did. Took a little longer to realise that I wanted to use the fonts but eventually worked.

    When it did load, fonts worked seamlessly, even with links.

    Only thing I found is that it broke the rest of all my jQuery based scripts such as jCarousel and some custom jQuery scripts I had written.

    But still, its only early days and I’m sure with some tinkering on their end and probably mine more so, this could be a great asset to your toolkit.

    • User Avatar
      Christopher Mitchell
      Permalink to comment#

      @ConCy A better solution may be to use visibility: hidden; instead, as this allows the elements dimensions to be calculated properly. I have been toying around with this a bit on larger-scale sites, to reduce the “flicker” often seen when waiting for all server transactions to be completed.

      It’s a fairly elegant solution and way easier than any of the other solutions Chris mentioned. I do, however, question loading the entire jQuery library regardless if it is loaded prior as it is in the example. Instead, it might be beneficial to check if jQuery has been loaded and load it if not. The fact that it is loaded twice, certainly will attribute to the delay, albeit minute. @Jaymie This is most likely the cause of your issue, as you may be using an older version of jQuery which may conflict with the version being loaded by TypeKit.

      Unfortunately, the “protection” offered for the fonts is slim at best. Each font is simply base64-encoded. With a little bit of know-how and a minute or two of time, the font can be “yours” quite easily. I’ll be curious how quickly their library grows based on this fact.

    • User Avatar
      Jaymie Jones
      Permalink to comment#

      @Christopher Mitchell I am using the latest jQuery but I will have to check if its being loaded twice…

    • User Avatar
      Permalink to comment#

      TypeKit has outlined all of the steps they take to “protect” the fonts on their blog. There’s more to it than base64 encoding.

      However, they admit that it’s not foolproof saying:

      And as we’ve seen over and over again, those with enough time and talent will find ways around any attempt at security. The reality is that there are countless places that make it far easier to steal fonts, if that’s your goal.

      Our goal is different. After talking to dozens of foundries, we’ve found traction with a solution that works today and moves the conversation forward. With it, we hope to provide the easiest place to use real fonts on the web, legally and licensed, and to compensate type designers for their amazing contribution to visual communication.

  9. User Avatar
    Permalink to comment#

    What is think is really cool about this is that it doesn’t make you hassle with buying seperate fonts and managing each purchase seperately. That has been my major deterent to using custom fonts. I didn’t really know how to easily do it legally in the first place. It is nice to have it just taken care of.

  10. User Avatar
    Permalink to comment#

    What’s the name of your editor please ?

  11. User Avatar
    David Müller
    Permalink to comment#

    Once again to the “flashing-thing”… I’m pretty sure that this can’t be avoided cause the Javascript which is doing the replacement-magic needs its time to load – and I could bet that the more fonts you use, the longer it will take to replace the fonts on your page. I played around with cufon, sifr, typeface and flir.js (which works serverside with the dynamic generation of images), but everywhere, there is a little flash included. I just don’t think that it’s a good solution to work with “visibility:hidden”, until the font-replacement-plugin of your choice has done it’s work, because
    a) what if users have js turned off? They can’t see anything which you have replaced, if you don’t work with ugly things like to override that visibility:hidden-thingy and
    b) it’s just even more ugly to see the new fonts come flashing out of the nowhere and people might have already left your page if it seems not responsive enough

    • User Avatar
      Permalink to comment#

      Good point about users with JS turned off. You could get around that by switching the display attribute using JS itself, since only users with JS enabled can benefit from this type of font replacement anyway.

      My TypeKit account request hasn’t been answered yet, so I don’t have the ability to test this, but I think the following may work:

      (1) After you have linked in the jQuery library, include a line of code to hide the visibility of each element that a TypeKit font is being applied to:


      (2) In the second script element provided by TypeKit, add some code, so that INSTEAD OF this:


      it looks like this:


      Note again that “h1” should be replaced in both cases with whichever elements your Typekit fonts target.

      What we want to happen here is to switch visibility back on as soon as the font replacement has happened. I don’t know enough about writing callbacks to be confident my approach will work. In fact I would assume it won’t because I don’t know what’s happening in that code Typekit is providing. It would be interesting to try, though!

      And even if this does work, it’s a bit of a hack, which is a shame. The promise of Typekit is to be plug-and-play, right out of the box — which this definitely isn’t.

    • User Avatar
      Permalink to comment#

      In my first paragraph I referred to the “display” attribute, but actually meant the “visibility” attribute.

      As other have pointed out here, the benefit of the visibility attribute is that it doesn’t remove the element from the flow completely, and preserves its dimensions. Doing this with “display” would replace the icky flash with an icky jump.

    • User Avatar
      David Müller
      Permalink to comment#

      Hi Matt,

      thanks for your explanation. I previously thought that you wanted to hide all elements you want typekit to replace via css-rule “visibility:hidden” which would be indeed stupid because of the mentioned problem with users without js enabled. Using jQuery instead to toggle the visibility is definitely a better, more sane approach.

      But I still don’t understand completely what you’re trying to do by manually influencing the visibility. The process would be the following
      1) Hide all elements which typekit is applied to, before they appear on the screen (document.ready).
      2) Let Typekit render the fonts
      3) Show the rendered elements when they’re done

      BUT: You’ll have to wait until everything is completely rendered, before the user sees anything on the screen which might look even slower.

  12. User Avatar
    Michael Angrave
    Permalink to comment#

    Hi Chris, I got my invite also. Looks pretty straight forward, will be trying it out pretty soon.

  13. User Avatar
    Permalink to comment#

    Looks great so far! Big fonts will be …. BIG

  14. User Avatar
    Abdelrahman Osama
    Permalink to comment#

    That’s really cool, thanks for this great demo, I can’t imagine how beautiful the web will be after this works, I only hope that they support Arabic fonts as I live and design for the Arab world you know.

  15. User Avatar
    Permalink to comment#

    Hey nice video, the first I’m watching from you.
    It seems to be very promising, but what about the final cost ?
    Regards from Paris

  16. User Avatar
    Permalink to comment#

    Would love an invite, would have to get the full version though as clients want all the fancy stuff

  17. User Avatar
    Permalink to comment#

    really nice
    cant wait to try this,
    but it doesnt work here on chrome for some reason, works on safari and firefox

  18. User Avatar
    Ian Storm Taylor
    Permalink to comment#

    Nice demo. Good to see it is working.

    Don’t you think Typekit needs a search function? I don’t want to have to look through all the fonts to find if they have the ones I want… or maybe they have it already and I’m blind.

    Also… might it be fast if you load the JS file before the other attached scripts you have already? If it was first, would the flash be less noticeable?

    • User Avatar
      Ryan Carver
      Permalink to comment#

      Ian, Search and other ways of browsing fonts are on their way.

      Yes, including the Typekit JS before other scripts should reduce the overall perceived load time. Let us know what you find.

  19. User Avatar
    Pablo Lara H
    Permalink to comment#

    I am using Typekit in the free version and it is not allowed to remove the budget. But for free…
    Anyway, it is very easy to manage the font for the website. I have two options of fonts in this version.
    And I had the problem with the jquery stuff too.
    But it worth it.

    • User Avatar
      Permalink to comment#

      I asume you mean, “Badge”, instead of budget.

      Anyhow, I’m almost sure that if you use CSS display:none; it’ll do the trick to hide the thing.

      If neccecary put that css after the TypeKit js-file, and/or “!important” it.

  20. User Avatar
    Permalink to comment#

    It’s insteresting, but doesn’t seem to work on Chrome (version dev). The font change after the page finishes loading does bother me a little tho.

  21. User Avatar
    Permalink to comment#

    Typekit is really cool, but the flicker is a deal breaker for most of my projects.

    I tried a demo with nothing but an H1 tag and the Typekit JS and still got the flicker… :( As far as I know, it’s just a limitation to font replacement techniques. Any other ideas?

  22. User Avatar
    Permalink to comment#

    I like it. As with most of the people here, the flicker does bother me a little. I can’t think of any great options other than:

    1. as mentioned, keep its visibility hidden until the work is done; but being a JavaScript numpty, I’m not even sure how you can hook into the script properly…

    2. if you can figure out how to do #1, you could alternatively display rendered text until the real text appears. Obviously this causes server load and somewhat defeats the purpose.

    I don’t know enough about web technologies to describe “how”, but I wonder if something could be implemented on the server side to get the heavy lifting done (and cached) before the client request comes in? Also wonder if the results of executing the JavaScript can somehow be cached on the client side, so that only the first visit to that site causes the flicker, and subsequent visits are more seamless…?

    I don’t know. I ramble. Half-bakedly.

    Cool technology, though, and seems to be a lot easier than the alternatives.


  23. User Avatar
    Ryan Carver
    Permalink to comment#

    Hey thanks for the awesome screencast. You guys bring up some important issues around jQuery and flickering. Just so you know, we’re already thinking about those issues a lot.

    You can expect ‘fonts loaded’ hooks and the removal or optional-ization of jQuery from our JavaScript.

    You can find a bit more discussion of these topics in our Get Satisfaction forum.

  24. User Avatar
    Permalink to comment#

    Nice video tutorial. Thanks for posting this, definitely worth checking out now I’ve seen it been used.

  25. User Avatar
    Permalink to comment#

    Whahoo its awesome i want it ! i want it ! i want it ! i want it ! i want it ! :p:p:p:p

  26. User Avatar
    Permalink to comment#

    Thanks for the preview, Chris! Can’t wait to try it.

  27. User Avatar
    Permalink to comment#

    I just got my email yesterday. I bought the “Portfolio” package, and I really like it so far. It’s great to have a legal way to use commercial fonts, IMO.

  28. User Avatar
    Der Lee
    Permalink to comment#

    hey question, Chris i have watch ur screen cast for a while, i wondering can you using the fonts i desire the use instead the fonts they provided because you no some time if you they end up done have the font you’re looking how would i do that?

  29. User Avatar
    Permalink to comment#


    This is awesome. Duly noted for inclusion in my next project. Thanks Chris!

  30. User Avatar
    Permalink to comment#

    Chris, this is amazing. I do think they just need to tie a few loose ends (like the loading time, and copy -the-class ability). Other than that, I’m super excited about it and can’t wait for it to be released. Thanks so much for sharing it.

  31. User Avatar
    Permalink to comment#

    I had a problem with IE 8 it works fine at firs, but when I hit reload it simply does’t work it’s back to the original.

  32. User Avatar
    Permalink to comment#

    First Chris, thanks for all your wonderful tutorials. A fantastic resource. I am contemplating about this whole issue… this font-snatching-from-a-third-party thing relies upon TypeKit to be up and running right? And in business for the lifetime of the website? This dependency may be worth a thought, I think.

  33. User Avatar
    Permalink to comment#

    Hmm, the demo is not working in firefox on ubuntu. Anyone have luck with this setup?

  34. User Avatar
    Permalink to comment#

    To get rid of the Flickr, create a separate CSS file called hidden.css. Within this CSS file, list out all the selectors you want the “visibility: hidden” property applied to.

    In the head of your document, load this hidden.css file into your document using Javascript. This way you don’t break the JS:Off/CSS:On scenario.

    To get the fonts to appear back again, you’ll need to listen for load event on the font file. Not sure if TypeKit has a callback implemented for this or not yet, but it shouldn’t be too hard to go through their code and build a solution from there.

  35. User Avatar
    Permalink to comment#

    Wow…Web 2.0 owns my mind. “FLICKER”, not “Flickr”

  36. User Avatar
    Johan Boutkan
    Permalink to comment#

    Just wow!
    I can’t find where to signup for the beta…
    Where can I do that?

  37. User Avatar
    Kit MacAllister
    Permalink to comment#

    That looks incredibly easy. I would love to start using that on my sites. I’m really enjoying your videos by the way.

  38. User Avatar
    Permalink to comment#

    Wow! I hope designers get behind it with by subscribing with paid account so it will continue as a service. Wow again!

  39. User Avatar
    Permalink to comment#

    I got my invite and just signed up for the trial, after seeing the screencast I’m going to pay for an account. The fonts are just way too cool!

  40. User Avatar
    Permalink to comment#

    Nice. I have a free account, and it is still pretty good.

    The fact that the font library is huge will draw a lot of people. But, you can’t use any other fonts that you have bought and are not in their library.

    But I digress.

  41. User Avatar
    Font Designer
    Permalink to comment#

    I work at a fairly prominent type design studio and we have been toying with the idea of @font-face for a while now. Typekit looks like a wonderful solution for most people but I would expect this to be the tip of the ice burg. I would expect Linotype, Adobe, FF, and other large type publishing houses to start building similar tools, if they have any brains.

    Also expect to see a lot more really cool and really customizable solutions from the independent studios ;)

  42. User Avatar
    Permalink to comment#

    Hi! This is my first post, I am from Argentina and my english is so bad, please forgive me! Well, I had seen some videos and all were do usefull for me. But know i have a question… why do not you use sFIR? I think that give the same solution, is free, and you can have the requiere files on your own host

    • User Avatar
      Permalink to comment#

      As far as I know: sIFR uses flash to generate images of the letters (correct me if I’m wrong =D) and thus they aren’t selectable as text…like Chris said, there are 5+ ways to do the same thing and this is an elegant one that comes to the list!

    • User Avatar
      Garrett W.
      Permalink to comment#

      sIFR does create a Flash object to render the letters, but within the object itself, the text *is* selectable. However, you run into a problem if you want to select any part of that text along with other text on either side of the object. Such contiguous selections, crossing over from Flash to HTML or vice-versa, cannot be made.

  43. User Avatar
    Sam Logan
    Permalink to comment#

    Great screencast, I’ve added my email and I’m looking forward to trying it out.

  44. User Avatar
    Permalink to comment#

    Very nice. Looking forward to trying it later today.

  45. User Avatar
    Michael Brydeboel
    Permalink to comment#

    Great screencast!
    Does anyone know if it’s possible to control the line-height on the text using TypeKit?
    I really miss that option in Cufón and therefore I’m almost always ending up with using sIFR!

  46. User Avatar
    Joel Cory
    Permalink to comment#

    This looks like great technology. I’m looking forward to seeing more details. I did notice that the example page doesn’t show any of the cool fonts your video had. Did you pull them down?

  47. User Avatar
    Permalink to comment#

    Nice preview and nice font-problem solution! Thanx!

  48. User Avatar
    Permalink to comment#

    Finally dynamic tasty juicy fonts!! I can’t wait to use it!!

  49. User Avatar
    Permalink to comment#

    That’s pretty cool though.

    I should use it too on my projects.

    But what i like more than that is that you stopped ‘snatching’ all the time like you did in the first screencast videos you made ;) ;)


  50. User Avatar
    Permalink to comment#

    It looks nice, but $25/year for one webpage? Why pay for something you can do yourself for free? And when this service just quit? All your pages will lose all fancy fonts… :-(

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