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The Ugly Truth About the Web

May 19, 2009, 21:32 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Martin Streicher)

[ Thanks to An Anonymous Reader for this link. ]

"And, alas, due to technical and legal complications, the Web is likely to remain a typographically monotonous place for the foreseeable future. It's a catch-22. While CSS2 supports Web fonts, the feature remains largely untested because foundries, designers, developers, and operators have yet to find an equitable licensing scheme for typefaces.(Like other creative works, a typeface is protected by copyright. To use a typeface within a page, a site must have the right to publish it, making it available to all consumers.) Meanwhile, there's little incentive to break the legal stalemate because applicable standards aren't widely implemented, even years after ratification.

"Moreover, and as type designer David Berlow mentions in his recent interview with A List Apart, existing standards are unimaginative, akin to "...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 [motion.]"

"Certainly, the dilemma is frustrating and explains why many turn to bitmaps and Flash to create compelling, exclusive, and signature site content.

"For example, the Zen Garden replaces the text of headings with background images to achieve much of its eye candy. Other sites are implemented as Flash movies, and a very few employ a Flash variant named Scalable Inman Flash Replacement, or sIFR."

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