Web Fonts Now and Then


Font is the basic building block of theworldwide web and web design. Over the last 10 years, web font design hasevolved into different creative parameters. Web font has changed radically sohas web design. There are many popular fonts these days which did not exist 10years ago when web font design was in its infancy. And the trends are yetchanging as we enter into 2020. Before checking some awesome fonts to use in2020, let’s take a quick look at history of web font and its characteristics.

Typography has evolved significantly fromits origins. Many graphic designers and typographers have had their influenceon the development of the fonts we see today. Giambattista Bodoni, known as thefather of typography, created a style of type called “New Face”, which is astyle where the letters are cut to produce a contrast between the thick andthin parts of the letter. Bodoni’s typefaces reflected his aesthetic senserepresented in the simple forms and plain style. It was not possible for theother typographers to stay unimpressed by his typography. Bodoni died on November 29, 1813 at the age of73 in Parma, Italy.

By the end twentieth century and the riseof digital devices, typography entered to a new era. Fonts makes up 95% of webdesign so no typography no web. Web fonts have been a point of discussion since1998 or at the introduction of Explorer 4. In the early days of the web, webdesigners knew the importance of font typography. The early web and thebrowsers that operated on the web were all text so font was the most importantelement on each page.


WOFF (the Web Open Font Format) is a webfont format developed by Mozilla in concert with Type Supply, LettError, andother organizations. The font data is compressed, so sites using WOFF use lessbandwidth and load faster than if they used equivalent uncompressed TrueType orOpenType files– came along in 2009, which was thenadopted and implemented.

There was a limitation puton users even though they could see the font they were using on webpages. But thelimitation was the font had to be downloaded on the user’s computers. Youbetter believe that users were not able to download the font types for freeeither. They paid for them of course. Another hindrance was there were manyplatforms across the web in the early days. There were multiple operatingsystems and browsers so the choice of fonts were limited and they were notguaranteed to work.

Along comes Microsoft whochanged how the font game was played. They approved and released two webrecognizable fonts Verdana and Georgia for free and they took into account ofthe limitations of how browsers functioned in those days. The fonts lookedfabulous on a digital screen. But the accessibility of fonts was still limited.Web designers had only around 10 fonts to choose from. These were the ones theycould be sure that browsers could render.


One of the early rules offont was the development of the font-face which allowed web designers to incorporate into the HTML file-CSS2.This was the the ability for designers to attach a URL to a web page to loadthe font. This revolutionized the way web users used the internet. The bigbreakthrough was even if a user did not have the font loaded on their devicethey could still view the text with an alternative font.

Internet Explorer was thefirst to use the font-face then Netscape started using it as well. This allowedweb designers to use customized fonts which allowed them to use many new typesof fonts. Netscape implemented the font-face known as digital fonts they used aclosed-source format known as TrueDoc fromBitStream. But Microsoft went in anotherdirection with their font format.

Microsoft was ahead of thecurve. They used what was known as Embedded Open Type (EOT) which they hadalready used in Microsoft Word. The system used compact files which were fasterto download. Another reason they chose EOT was because it was encrypted. Itcould not be downloaded from the web and used in other applications; thisprotecting Microsoft from cyber theft. One big weakness of web fonts in thosedays was universal accessibility. Website owners could use the web font withoutacquiring a license to legally use it. Eventually, this major issue was resolved tothe relief of big companies like Adobe.

WebFonts in 2020

Here we’ve gathered 5 mostexciting typography trends of 2020 along with their characteristics which makethem so wanted both for web designers and web users.

Humanizing Serifs

This font brings a veryhuman touch to the digital age we live in. It adds a personal touch to a veryimpersonal digital age. This expert believes that humanizing serifs will bringa personal touch to major brands who use this type of font in 2020. Thishumanizing font brings back nostalgia of simpler times. It tells stories ofdays gone by when the world was much more human and personal. Where people usedto talk face to face with one another. This type of font touches the depths ofthe human soul reminding us that we are still human and not digital machines.

Round sans Serif

This type of web font bringsto the digital age a clean and very round look. The font is bold, clean andvery round as we mentioned. Do not mistake that these fonts can look childishin style. They truly are straightforwardand so easy to read. You cannot miss or ignore this bold type of 2020.

Swiss Style Font

Type designers are reachinginto the past and resurrecting a type that was made famous by iconic Swissdesigners in the 1950’s. The unofficial name is “Swiss style “which is asimplifying style for the digital age. It is a clear, concise, understandable,and bold all at the same time. It was popularized on billboards, posters, andold-fashioned pages. But its adaptability is remarkable in the digital age. Itis very readable on digital web pages blending perfectly with the digitalage.

Rustic Fonts

Humans will never let go ofthe old-fashioned rustic style font. A blast from the past this font is agenuine handwritten style that has mushroomed into may customizable fonts ontoday’s digitized web pages. Rustic will never become rustic and theseold-fashioned styles remain fresh in today’s age. It seems that handwrittenstyled fonts will never pass away. They will keep reappearing in modern forms.

Wide-Open Minimalism

We find that these types offonts fit right into the heartbeat of the electronic age. Everything iscompact, packaged and impersonal. This generic font fits right into that theme.Designers keep the messages to a minimal by designing letters that are bold,stubby but the designers don’t fully complete letter forms. They leave outparts of letters to create more space drawing outlandish attention toindividual letters. The spaces between the letters are more expansive but eachletter stands out boldly to create the modern minimalist look.

We have shown you the 5 bestfonts that you can use for your website. Now that you know theircharacteristics and usage, it’s time to decide which is the most suitableoption for the style and tone of your website.

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