The future of web typography is (almost) here

Why we’re building a web platform for DIY & color fonts

Web fonts have been around for a decade. But hosting and using personal fonts on the Web has hardly gotten any easier. We’re going to change that, and it’ll be fun!

Where ignorance is bliss, ’tis folly to be wise. — Thomas Gray

We didn’t expect to end up there... but here we are: we will soon launch Fontself Catapult, a web fonts platform for user-generated and colorful fonts.

Why? Because we have a dream. That one day, all creatives can use their very own unique typefaces all over the place.

Web fonts are hard and boring *

Designers have  enjoyed a booming era that brought a ton of typographic innovations to the Web, but it took a very long time to get there: while the CSS web font standard was introduced in 1998, its first implementations appeared in browsers in 2008. And in 2018, some leading browsers still lack major innovative font features, like the OpenType-SVG color font format.

To be fair, the type community and browser makers have had to solve huge challenges and they have done an amazing job to ensure we can now all experience many great typefaces on the Web.

Now, even though many industry experts help demystify the subject (like Bram Stein’s excellent Webfont Handbook) the complexity of bringing new typefaces to the Web is still preventing many creatives to enter this field and jump on the web fonts bandwagon. 

So even though we are no mega experts in typography, type technologies and even less in web stuff, we aim to democratize web fonts usage, just as we already started with easy font creation.

* (sorry type folks, while we also much enjoy the nitty-gritty parts of type technologies, most users aren’t as ecstatic about their complexities 😉)

Herbarium, a great font by Anna Markovets featuring rich ligatures

Web fonts are… yours, not mine

There’s no shortage of options when it comes to picking web fonts, from the hundreds of free fonts on Google Fonts to the thousands available in Typekit’s treasure chest, and not counting all the gems from independent foundries.

But there are moments when creatives need to stand out and want to craft truly original typefaces, whether they are designers who personalize a brand like Intercom or indy illustrators who customize their own books.

So in a world where DIY typography is meant to be used on paper, on the web and beyond, we believe there is room for a self-service web fonts solution dedicated to personal creative fonts.

Removing friction, aiming for jubilation

When Fontself Catapult launches, you’ll have the power to turn your own type designs, symbols and icons into fonts that you can enjoy on the Web in a matter of seconds.

The Catapult experience starts in Fontself Maker, our drag & drop font creation tool for Illustrator & Photoshop. You will be able to generate web fonts   right from Adobe’s creative software, in just 1 click

No need to export, convert, upload or handle fonts or CSS files.

Catapult will be a feature-packed service to host, serve, preview, showcase and use your personal fonts wherever and whenever you want, including on websites, blogs, web apps, newsletters, widgets and more.

And since we’re building a tool to meet the dreams of creatives (us included ;) we’ve added support for OpenType-SVG color fonts and cool font features like ligatures & alternates.

Firefox and Edge took the lead years ago with color font support, and with Safari’s upcoming support for OpenType-SVG, creatives will soon be able to use rich display typefaces that include color, gradients or transparency.

 

This is just the beginning

As thousands of designers have already adopted Fontself Maker to create their own fonts and ignited the color font revolution, they  will soon catapult cool new fonts all over the Web, opening a new chapter in #typocracy.

We are aware that aiming for something as bold as “unleashing the creativity” in a field like typography is challenging on many fronts (conceptual, technical, legal, etc.), it will take time and we will make mistakes, but we are passionately all in to democratize DIY & color fonts all over the place.

And we have a couple more surprises that will bring type lovers to the moon, and beyond ;)

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Fontself Catapult is currently available in private beta (users of our Illustrator add-on can ping us to get access). 
You can read the Catapult FAQs here.
Can’t wait to share more about Fontself Catapult in the coming weeks. And all your comments, questions & critics are welcome.

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PS: Our venture into type-making software and now type-using services would not have been possible without the help of many people, starting from our Kickstarter backers and customers. Thanks a lot guys, we hope you will enjoy these new superpowers!

Special thanks to all the crazy ones who have helped us on this next chapter of our quest to democratize type-making: Roel Nieskens, Axel Corjon and Samuel Renault for their great contributions, and teams at Adobe, Google, Apple, Microsoft, Mozilla who build the tools and technologies we use ever day to work, create and communicate.

And thanks Bryant Chou (and the whole Webflow crew) for their über inspiring work (along with his blogging skills — hope you’ll pardon a couple similarities ;)