For creative graphic designers, fonts on the web have always been (and probably always will) be a bone of contention. Essentially typography on the web has been limited to a small subset of fonts that exist on the three major platforms (Win / Mac / Linux) – and thus creative use of these has come from changing css properties such as letter spacing, or font-weight.
This solution has morphed into various alternatives over time, some of the taking different approaches. I’ve listed these below. Hopefully as the web advances and technologies such as silverlight gain adoption, we’ll see further solutions to this problem. Something that still needs solved with each of these libraries, is the addition of multiple colours within the text replaced.
Fahrner Image Replacement
This was the project that made it all happen. It is still used widely within the web development community as an alternative when the below technique cannot be used. It’s primary benefits are that it doesn’t require the hard work of the below techniques and you can easily use multiple colours in your text. It does have it’s criticisms however, and care should be taken to ensure that screen readers are catered for.
Scalable Inman Flash Replacement
Whilst Sifr was originally developed by Shaun Inman, it was further improved by Mike Davidson and Mark Wubben into its current incarnation. The below articles should give you some guide on how to set it up. One thing I would say with any of these techniques is please please don’t overuse. Creative web text should be used sparingly, and only in titles as a general rule. The rendering speed of your page will be negatively affected otherwise.
http://www.sifrvault.com/ – Collection of Sifr safe fonts
Facelift image replacement
Facelift image replacement is another project that is similar to cufon, in that it doesn’t require flash to work. It does however require PHP, and an image is generated server side to that end. It is written by Cory Mawhorter and released under the GNU public license. Font generation with server side scripts can however put unnecessary load on your server, so as before, use sparingly.
http://webdesign.maratz.com/lab/multi_color_sifr/ – Multi-colour sifr, however appears to be broken in Firefox.
http://www.sitepoint.com/forums/showthread.php?t=600738&page=2 – Web Safe fonts in 2009
Filed in: Web Design