Typography & Fonts

The PEC Review: Fontspring, the Typographical Fountain

The very letters and words on a web page can help build a brand and engage customers. Thanks to better browser support and several new services, the Internet is being filled with rich and diverse fonts even now.

For years, so-called web safe fonts—meaning the most common fonts supported by nearly all Internet users—have seemingly held web page design captive. Not that these web safe fonts are bad. Rather, they are limited and sometimes, because of this lack of typographical diversity, they make it more difficult to differentiate a website or brand.

With the wide acceptance of embedded web fonts, the state of web fonts and typography is changing. In fact, author and designer Jason Cranford Teague suggested in his blog last year that 2010 might be the year of web typography.

“After over a decade of unbearable waiting, false starts, and interminable doldrums, it’s just possible that 2010 may be spring-time [sic] for Web Typography,” Teague wrote in his blog last year. “A perfect storm of new techniques coupled with new Web browser capabilities promise to elevate Web Typography from its current monotonous state into an actual creative discipline…”


Fontspring is an important resource for commercial font licenses. It will allow owners of business-to-consumer and business-to-business websites to introduce brand-supporting and beautiful typefaces into their site designs. And for helping to drive this new era of web typography, I am awarding Fontspring four out of a possible five stars in this “The PEC Review.”

“The PEC Review” is my weekly column to introduce you to the products or services that I believe will help you improve your ecommerce business. This week let me explain why I think Fontspring is a first-rate font store.

Embeddable Fonts

First and foremost, I like Fontspring because nearly all of the typefaces it offers are available as CSS @font-face rule embeddable fonts. Without delving into the particulars of how to embed these fonts, suffice it to say that the fonts purchased on the Fontspring site can be easily added to any web page, making them readable by shoppers and other site visitors, on all leading web browsers.

Fontspring also offers novice web page designers complete style sheets with the suggested CSS declarations. So very little technical expertise is required.

Many Quality Fonts

Fontspring also offers a wide range of typefaces of, in my opinion, the best professional quality. At the time of writing, the company listed more than 1,000 fonts from foundries like FontSite Inc., Typodermic, and Canada Type, to name just a few.

Pay Only Once

In order to make much more money, many Internet businesses have implemented software-as-a-service (SaaS) models. This model, which you pay forever (usually in monthly or annual payments) for the software or resources you use, absolutely makes sense for some businesses or products, particularly those where the vendor has ongoing costs like bandwidth. But the SaaS model is often not a good idea when it is applied to a product that requires no updating and costs nothing to maintain.

Unfortunately, some in the digital typeface business, have introduced SaaS font licenses. Granted, these companies often host the font for you; but there is no real reason to do this. It is just a easy to use your own web server, hosting provider, or, if you have one, content delivery provider.

four stars

I don’t want to belabor this point, but at Fontspring, you pay once for your commercial font license. And you may use that font on your domain forever with no recurring payments required. For an additional fee, one can even purchase unlimited licenses for many fonts, meaning that the font can be used on any number of domains.

Reasonable Prices

Fontspring’s fonts are also reasonably priced. For example, Annonce, which is a great modern font for headlines, can be purchased for $20 for a single domain or $26 for an unlimited web license.

As another example, Claredon Text Pro, which is a gorgeous and extremely legible type, can be purchased for $40 per variant—bold, italic, etc.—or for $120 for the complete font family. Adding the unlimited licenses boost the price to $52 for individual variants or $156 for the entire family.

Summing Up

I believe that 2010 is the springtime of web typography that will allow web brands and website design to bloom. And Fontspring, which I have awarded four out of a possible five stars in this review, will be an important source of great web fonts.

Armando Roggio
Armando Roggio
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