Using web-safe fonts (Arial, Helvetica, SimSun, Hiragino Sans, Microsoft YaHei, etc.) is always the best bet for body text because its readability is always the first consideration. For headlines and display text, converting special fonts into graphics can improve visual design however it does not help with SEO. We are now able to load certain types of font files and display those fonts for our website visitors via a technology called web font service. Using web fonts can establish typographic consistency, improve user experience and enhance SEO and accessibility.
There are web font services on the Internet that enhance the typographic visual performance like Typeki and Google Web Fonts. These Latin script web font services give western designers a comprehensive set of fonts to use and communicate information effectively. However, for the Chinese market, due to the huge size of the Chinese font, the resources on the Internet are very limited so users still prefer to choose Chinese safe fonts on their website. In fact, there are also Chinese web font services available – youziku有字库，justfont, fonts.com, etc.
These web font services all offer users a large amount of different fonts that they can use to implement onto websites they’re designing. These platform’s function the same but also vary on many other aspects in term of font quality, service fee, and loading speeds to name a few.
For Latin script web font, Adobe Typekit provides very high quality font selections for users to choose from,however, there is a very limited selection of Chinese fonts available.There is a set of East Asian font available, Source Hans San 思源黑体, a collaborative result from Adobe and Google to celebrate Adobe’s 25th year of typeface development. Adobe managed the project and provided design and technical expertise, and Google funded the other partners, helped define requirements and provided testing and feedback, so in return for their effort, the font is also named Noto Sans Han in Google Web font. The font is free to download for those who are already have Adobe membership subscription, whilst on Google web fonts it is accessible for any user outside of China. For the Chinese market, this font is available on JustFont and Youziku 有字库.
Below are the features of these two web font services.
- The first web font service focused on Chinese (mostly traditional Chinese)
- Only loads required font
- Minimum size compression to guarantee transmission speed
- Fast font rendering
- Support large traffic sites
- Font supports a variety of special effects
- Service Charge:
- Free service: with Justfont logo and advert on the bottom right of the website.
- Membership system similar with Typekit – free membership, basic membership, personal VIP and corporate VIP. With basic membership you are required to pay 59 RMB per month and users can use five sets of fonts used on up to three domain names but restricted to personal sites only.
- How to use:
<Div class = “ct1”> This text will use the first font you choose to render </ div>
These Chinese fonts are not suitable to use throughout a whole website. It would be best if it were only used on logo/title/headline.
- The first web font service focused on simplified Chinese
- Fast loading speed
- Fully compatible for most browsers (360, Chrome, IE, Firefox, Safari).
- More stable service (cloud server + CDN)
- Service charge: Free service.
- How to use:
1. CSS Reference (Applicable to the content page which do not need frequent changes.)
– Application is simple and quick: users only need to add tag (<link>) and then set the class attribute;
– Wide applicability: can be directly edited wherever supports CSS editing;
– Show results quickly and efficiently.
Users will need to pre-submit the text: average 5M each Chinese character font file set. Users will then have to split the font based on demand. The more concise words, the smaller the font file, the faster the font display;
If updated needed, users will have to re-submit manually.
– Application is simple and quick.
3. Webservice Reference (Applicable to large dynamic content site, users can call directly through back end.)
– Application is simple and quick: users only need to call webservice and approach through the back end code. Youziku will then generate the corresponding effect immediately and then users can add the dynamic reference tab to the front page code.
The benefit of using web fonts is obvious, it allows designers and developers to create richer reading experience to the audience. In the current Chinese network bandwidth environments and the huge size of the Chinese characters, there are still lots of restrictions and need a lot of improvement. Let’s hope for the best and wait for the new era of Chinese web font services to come.