Mr. Gates and Mr. Jobs:
A few days ago, Andrei Herasimchuk (whom I consider a friend and admire quite a lot) posted an open letter to John Warnock, CEO of Adobe Systems, with regard to typography on the web. Andrei proposed that Adobe, being the license holder of several of the classic typefaces, “consider releasing eight to twelve core fonts into the public domain.” Andrei’s list of suggestions include Warnock Pro, Jenson Pro, Caslon Pro, and more.
While these are great typefaces and would certainly be an incredible addition to any web designer’s toolkit, I can’t help but think the request is a bit too idealistic to have a chance of really happening (Adobe, please feel free to prove me wrong). Not only do these typefaces make up a decent revenue stream for Adobe that would be lost, but Adobe also has a vested interested in a little web technology called Flash, and may well believe that making great type available in HTML and CSS-based web pages could hinder Flash adoption amongst designers who demand great typography. And I know neither of you want Adobe coming to the web’s rescue.
So, while I’m all for Adobe following through on Andrei’s request, I’m asking another company to do something about the state of web typography — and I’d like to think my request is a bit more likely to happen.
At some point (sorry I can’t be more specific, it’s a bit of a moving target), Microsoft will release Vista, the next version of Windows. Bundled along with it is a set of new typefaces Microsoft has commissioned. These fonts are no match for Adobe’s Frutiger and Univers, but they are quite nice, nonetheless. Certainly they’re far better than the typefaces we web designers can currently rely on being installed on the vast majority of PCs and Macs (a list which, for practical purposes, isn’t much longer than Verdana, Georgia, and Arial).
The only problem with these new Vista typefaces is that they’re only distributed with Vista. So, I have two simple requests:
- Microsoft, please distribute these new Vista typefaces for older versions of Windows, especially XP. Perhaps include them with the release of Internet Explorer 7 and future Office updates?
- Apple, please license this set of fonts from Microsoft and include them with Mac OS X.
Making good on these two simple requests would go an incredibly long way towards improving the state of typography on the web — and should cost each company next to nothing.
Jeff Croft Web Designer