At this point in time, decorative typography and the Internet are not completely in jive yet! There are still some kinks and restrictions in designing with decorative fonts for web pages. It may not seem like there is a problem on the surface, because much of the problems are masked. How so?
If a web designer wants to use decorative fonts other than the standard fonts used for text such as Verdana, Times, Arial, and other ordinary fonts like this, extra measures need to take place. When decorative fonts are used for the Internet, they need to be turned into artwork first. The software, Illustrator CS “outlines” fonts and Flash MX 2004 or “breaks a part” fonts in such a way that search engines read them as artwork and not as text. This is a great work-around for the time being and decorative fonts can be used online. But, it doesn’t end there.
The other issue involved with fonts has to do with ownership and licenses of font families. Not all fonts are free for the taking. To find out more about the cost of fonts, type *fonts* into a search engine, and notice how some fonts are free and some have price tags attached to them–and this is just for the use of them!
As you can see, there are issues involved with online typography and the use of fonts. It will be interesting to see how this situation unfolds in the future. Today’s graphic designers need to know which fonts are Internet friendly and when it’s appropriate to use them. The knowledge of technology and how to deal with today’s online typography is important for anyone who is designing and communicating on the Internet. (revised 2/13/2006)