Cufón Font Replacement - The Good and The Bad
Erik Olson, Former Viget
As soon as designers got ahold of the web as a design medium (probably about 15 years ago), they were thinking about fonts, right? (It was at least in the top five on the "first things to think about" list). So, in an age where tens of thousands of fonts have been invented, why are we mostly still using the same six?
Techniques like image replacement and sIFR have done us well. They remain the strongholds until something better comes along -- which may have just happened: namely, I'm talking about Cufón by Simo Kinnunen.
What Does Cufón Do?
What's Good About It?
File Size. Once the rendering and compressing is all said and done, the font size is about 60-80 percent less than the original.
Fully Supported. It's not Flash, so there's no need for the plug-in. And it is fully compatible in all major browsers.
It's also light on the browser. Click here to turn on Cufón in this section.
What's Bad About It?
Not Selectable. When the font is displayed it's rendered as a bunch of elements broken up by word. This is a serious limitation because Cufón text is not selectable(try it if you converted the text above). Personally, I often find myself wanting to select many things that look like text but isn't like images and flash content that isn't properly enabled to be selectable(selectable content in Flash SHOULD be the default setting people!). This will be a consistent point of frustration.
When thinking about fonts on the web, what is the best case scenario for us? Probably the ability to embed any font directly into any browser using HTML/CSS, right? Cufón comes fairly close, but is still just a simpler hack. Cufón is certaintly not the final word on fonts on the web, but is -- at this point -- a little closer thanks to its simplicity and compactness.