Dev Depot: Google Fonts, A Step Up To Better Typography

Stephen Yagielowicz

One way that professional web designers can stand out from the crowd is with better, cleaner and more contemporary typography, using quality typefaces that are distinctive yet legible, to deliver the site or application’s content effectively and with style.

Calling a web with web fonts “more beautiful, readable, accessible and open,” Google Fonts (www.google.com/fonts/) may be all a site’s users need to get a better read.

As for real world examples, Google notes that many of its own web pages are already using Google Fonts, such as Open Sans.

While many folks may associate Google exclusively with web search, the company actively develops a wide range of products and services aimed at evolving a better web — with Google Fonts, for example, targeting professional designers and developers who are seeking a quick and easy solution for using web fonts to bring quality typography to their web pages and mobile applications.

According to the Google Fonts Team, the product’s goal is to create a directory of web fonts for the world to use. An API service makes it easy to add Google Fonts to nearly any website in seconds; with the technology hosted on Google’s fast and reliable servers, free of charge, as one more of its popular webmaster tools.

The site currently lists 625 Open Source font families that users are free to share with their friends, colleagues and other users.

“You can even customize them for your own use, or collaborate with the original designer to improve them,” states a Google Fonts team member. “And you can use them in every way you want, privately or commercially — in print, on your computer, or in your websites.”

The Google Fonts Team is reportedly working with designers around the world to publish quality typefaces that are made for the web and beyond; actively soliciting the skills of type designers interested in taking modern typography to the next level.

As for real world examples, Google notes that many of its own web pages are already using Google Fonts, such as Open Sans.

The live preview function simplifies seeing specific examples, with three short steps involved in adding Google Fonts to a site — choose, review and use: Users can browse or search through the many font families, adding ones they like to their Collection, which is then refined by comparisons with other fonts and examples of styles in a dynamic layout. Copy and paste the custom code to add the Collection to your website and you’re done — better web typography and a more professional appearance in a matter of minutes.

Current font options include Serif, Sans Serif, Display and Handwriting, with text in a variety of styles, including Cyrillic, Cyrillic Extended, Greek, Greek Extended, Khmer, Latin, Latin Extended and Vietnamese, for a universal appeal.

Google Fonts users can easily specify font thickness, slant and width through the use of sliders; while preview text and font size are also selectable as is how examples display — with words, sentences, paragraphs and posters as available options, for a more useful preview of how the typeface will suit your actual needs.

Sorting through the various font listings can be accomplished by alphabetical order, date added and through the number of styles as well as through metrics such as popularity and trending that can help guide users to options featuring the most stylish sensibilities as a way of avoiding a dated look, which relies on time tested but visually worn typography, such as “Arial.”

If you’re tired of lackluster typography or want an easy way to freshen up your site, then Google Fonts may be the right choice for you.

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