Google Fonts has been a fantastic resource that allows designers and website builders to customize their projects using Google's extensive library of free fonts. You can direct a webpage to load a font from Google as an alternative to the meager selection of universal fonts pre-loaded in all browsers. But it has been a trial and error process, as choosing a typeface from a long list that shows an alphabet or "The quick brown fox..." rendered in various versions doesn't necessarily translate to a great-looking finished product.
Now Google has partnered with font giant Monotype to offer a lightweight version of that firm's Typecast application to free Google font users. With it, you can render pages of text in your desired font, adjust sizes, colors, weights, and line spacing, and even see side-by-side comparisons of the same page in different fonts. If you are suitably impressed with the tool, you can then upgrade to the premium subscription version of Typecast and unleash a huge library of fonts and options.
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Excerpt: " 'Great design starts with exceptional typography, and easy access to type is essential for creative expression,' said Chris Roberts, vice president and general manager of Monotype's e-commerce group. 'Our goal is to make designing with Web fonts more accessible to everyone. So we've partnered with Google to reach out to more designers. Those who currently rely on Google's library of free typefaces to bring more varied typography to the Web will now be able to work with those typefaces more easily and create stunning, readable compositions in a fraction of the time.'
'Choosing a typeface in isolation, without the context of content or other text, is a difficult task,' said Filip Zembowicz, product manager at Google. 'The Typecast design tool makes it easy to try out and experiment with font pairings from the Google Fonts directory.'
The award-winning, premium version of the Typecast application enables typographic experimentation without the need to hand code or use expensive design can software. In this new public version, users are able to select any font on the Google Fonts website and then follow the link to the Typecast application. From there, designers can work with that font (and the complete Google Fonts library) on text of any length and use a wide range of type controls to build clear, readable type systems through adjustments such as font size, weight and line spacing. Designers can also work with Web fonts side-by-side to quickly see at a glance what's working and what's not. Users are able to create more realistic compositions with floats, clears, margins, and padding controls, and a number of effects are available such as background colors, borders and text shadows. In this free version of the Typecast application, a user's work can be exported as production-ready HTML and CSS, or PNG files, to share with others or merge with comps.
'I'm delighted that fans of Google Fonts are now able to use this new, free version of the Typecast application,' said Paul McKeever, director of Typecast. 'Google's service is incredibly popular, and many designers' first experience with Web fonts is made possible through their free library. In our drive to encourage more use of Web fonts online and offer a new way to access the Typecast application, Google Fonts is the ideal partner. We hope that our free public version will foster more type lovers and over time cultivate more typography advocates. We think that's good for the Web, clients, readers and designers everywhere.' "