Johannes Gutenberg spreads ink on his
printing press, circa 1440. The lettering in the image is set in
design which retains some medieval qualities.
Rubicon produced font
clones from 1991 to 1998
During the period 1991
to 1998 Rubicon produced a number of font clones. There were many small
companies doing this but we survived because our font clones were
digitised accurately at high resolution and were better quality than
USA typefaces and bitmapped fonts are not copyrightable but
scalable fonts are. Anyone with sufficient time and skill can
make an original
representation of a typeface as a scalable font and copyright it. For information on font copyright laws
in the USA and elsewhere refer to the links at the left or consult a
In 1991–1992 we produced a series of fonts based on the Computer Modern
designs from TEX and Metafont. These brought critical acclaim but not
much revenue. The look of the Computer Modern fonts was not
mainstream. We provided some of these fonts as demo fonts for
In 1993–1994 we produced a series of fonts based on popular
designs like Garamond, Frutiger, Kabel, and Optima. This was successful
until 1997 when companies like Microsoft, Corel, Adobe, and Apple
started bundling high quality fonts with their software.
In 1995–1996 we produced a series of fonts that emulated the base fonts
of Postscript and PCL laser printers. For Postscript printers this was
Times and Helvetica and for PCL printers this was CGTimes and Univers.
This turned out to be a great idea because it meant that you could
print documents that looked like they came from an Apple LaserWriter or
Hewlett-Packard LaserJet on a much cheaper printer. We also added Light
and Extrabold weights as well as Condensed weights to several of our
In 1997–1998 we produced some decorative fonts and a series of fonts
based on the designs of Gill Sans and Helvetica Neue. At the end of
1998 we decided it was no longer beneficial to produce font clones.
Instead, we decided to maintain and improving our existing fonts,
concentrating on adding better hinting and producing better TrueType
changes fonts and typography on the web
In 1996, Microsoft
released Core fonts for the web. They were the only fonts available on
web sites. Later attempts to support custom fonts in web browsers were
not successful, so the variety of fonts on the web has been limited.
CSS3 Fonts Module Level 3 changes this by introducing web fonts and
providing web designers with greater typographical control.
The CSS3 enhancements are mapped out into a series of stages and
browser developers are slowly implementing them. The first stage is CSS
2.1 and there have been some stumbling blocks getting there.
Microsoft included support for web fonts in Internet Explorer 4.0
in September, 1997 but it was not successful. They used a proprietary
font format called Embedded Open Type (EOT). Other browsers did not
support EOT, the tools for coverting fonts to EOT were problematic, and
font vendors didn't want to allow these conversions.
Working draft 2 of the CSS Fonts Module was completed in August, 2002,
but the first browser to implement web fonts was Mozilla Firefox 3.5 in
June, 2009. Firefox supported web fonts in SVG and TTF formats, but not
EOT. Other browsers followed suit including Google Chrome and Apple
Safari, but Microsoft did not.
Now there were problems with web font formats. Internet Explorer
required EOT format. SVG format lacked hinting, so the fonts didn't
always look good on screen. Finally, font vendors did not want to allow
their TTF fonts to be used as web fonts, because it makes them very
easy to steal.
In April, 2010, Mozilla, Opera Software, and Microsoft submitted
specifications for a new format for web fonts called Web Open Font
Format which is now supported by all major browsers, including Firefox
3.6, Chrome 6, Opera 11, Safari 5.1, and Internet Explorer 9. This
means that all current major browsers support WOFF, though in practice
you have to provide EOT fonts as well, for users of Internet Explorer 7
|Rubicon adds web fonts in WOFF and EOT
Rubicon font sets are
now available in WOFF and EOT web font formats. The cost is US$12 per
font set, which includes both formats and a web hosting licence for a
single domain or intranet. We do not licence our fonts in desktop font
formats for use as web fonts.
Support for web fonts among various browsers is not uniform, but most
browsers support either WOFF or EOT. By including both formats on your
web site, you can create web pages that incorporate custom web fonts
and are compatible with most browsers.
Digital font technologies are used
in print, on screen, and over the web
Computers use digital font technologies in three different ways as
described below. This helps users share textual information. Custom
fonts that are not built in to operating systems and devices need to be
added and shared.
Print. Users print their documents and share the printed copies.
Custom fonts are installed only on the author's computer.
Screen. Users read and share electronic documents on-screen,
with printing as an option. Custom fonts are installed on the author's
computer and also embedded in the documents. Document formats that
support font embedding include Microsoft Word and Adobe Acrobat.
the web. Users browse web pages 0n-screen, with printing as an
option. Custom fonts are installed on the author's computer and also
hosted on internet as web fonts.