Stuart Breckenridge

Thoughts on Webfont Subscriptions

For the last few years I’ve subscribed to Cloud.Typography. Whitney is my favourite sans-serif font — it is part of my webfont package and I own a desktop license. However, like all subscriptions, mine is coming to an end and I’ve decided to stop using Cloud.Typography on my website.

The general complaint about webfonts is that they slow down your website. While true, this issue can be mitigated through various optimisation strategies, so it doesn’t bother me1. Instead, my issue is with the business model that requires me to subscribe to a webfont service.

I want to buy a font once, per domain, and then serve it from my own server. With Cloud.Typography this isn’t possible. Indeed, the expectation is that after using 1GB of development bandwidth, you will serve the fonts from your own production server while continuing to pay for the privilege of using the fonts. I don’t think that’s fair.

Therefore, I’ve been searching for a new font for my site, and I’ve settled on a serif: Guardian Egyptian Text. You may recognise it from The Guardian newspaper. I was thinking of using Charter (Mac) and Georgia (Windows), but Guardian Egyptian is very, very nice (see the difference).

From a licensing perspective, I pay for it once per domain and for a certain number page views. It’s precisely what I wanted.

  1. This website has a performance grade of 100 from Pingdom. ↩︎

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