Extensis Developing New Product to Support Web Fonts

Press Release

Extensis, a division of Celartem Inc., has announced that they have begun testing a new web font service that enables commercial web designers to incorporate custom fonts into websites.

It has become a mantra with web designers that “the web is 95% typography.” But for years, web designers have been very limited in how they can use typography on the web. Previously, font use on the Web was limited to the few standard fonts installed on a reader’s machine. For typographic flexibility, designers most often have resorted to static text images in their designs. But the tradeoff was steep: this text was not easily updated, and could not be indexed or searched.

“Text is the foundation of the Web—it is a key component of interface design. Despite this, Web Designers have been creatively stifled by a very small selection of ‘web safe’ fonts. Until now,” said Celartem CEO, Osamu Ikeda.

Due to recent technology improvements, Web browsers now support the use of custom fonts on websites (via @font-face tags). The challenge is that different browsers support different web font formats, and font vendor licenses generally do not allow users to simply put fonts loose on a web server, because of concerns about piracy. This is where Extensis comes in.

Simply put, a designer chooses their preferred typeface from the Extensis service, which then generates the necessary CSS to be placed into their web code. Now any visitor to their website is instantaneously ‘delivered’ the chosen fonts—in the correct format for their browser, from a more secure Extensis server. This strongly benefits the web design community in many ways:

* Allows the parallel branding of websites with traditional marketing vehicles
* Dramatically improves search engine optimization (SEO) by making all text searchable
* Frees designers from technologies that limit creativity
* Makes websites easier to edit
* Frees designers from dealing with complex font licensing issues

The web font service is built using proven server-based font management technologies that have been extended as a cloud-based service. The Extensis font rental service gives designers the benefit of using custom fonts on their site without worrying about supported font formats or font licensing issues.

“Because font rendering on screen is both more complex and more limited than in print, having quality fonts matters more on the Web than anywhere. This is why we are proud to be partnering with leading type foundries, whose thousands of quality fonts will be available to rent. This includes both industry-standard fonts previously unavailable for use on the web, as well as fresh faces from today’s top designers,” says Thomas Phinney, Senior Product Manager for Font Solutions. New partner foundries and fonts are being added every week.

Leveraging their font management user base of almost one half million, Extensis is targeting commercial web designers who develop more than 200 million websites and 100 million blogs worldwide. Extensis expects the web font market will prove to be several times larger than the traditional font management market, and with a much faster growth potential.

Extensis recently launched an invitation-only technology preview for over 100 web design experts and typography industry thought-leaders. The number of technology preview participants will continue to expand over the spring as testing continues.

More information about the new web font technology will be released in the coming months.

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Posted on: April 22, 2010

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