Bill Hill has a post up a the IE blog entitled “Font Embedding and the Web.” It’s a textbook example of how not to attract doubters to your cause.

  • It starts from a premise that not everybody accepts, then contradicts the premise. Quite simply, there is no broad clamour among Web designers to use any font they want. It may be technically possible to give them that power and they may use it once they get it, but there simply isn’t a groundswell of support for “the good fight to make typography on the Web as good as we’re used to seeing in print.” The post later states that “[b]uilding fonts that work for text at normal reading sizes of 11 and 12 points requires a lot of work,” which rather negates the premise that designers should be able to use any (print) font they want.

  • It shills for a vendor. It calls Ascender “prestigious” and otherwise name-drops Ascender 11 times. That’s a conflict of interest, and it doesn’t go away because Monotype is also described as having “prestige.” (Ages ago, I did a bit of work for Ascender.)

  • It wastes our time. The post links to a new site by Ascender, then spends an entire printed page (I printed it out) recapping what that page says. New to the concept of hyperlinks? We can go and read it ourselves.

  • It talks about standards in an IE-only ecosystem. Yes, he name-drops the W3C almost as often as he does Ascender, but unless and until the W3C publishes a standard for Web fonts, this is really an IE-only topic that’s being pushed pretty much exclusively by Microsoft.

    Of course it’s the IE blog and I shouldn’t be surprised, but all the examples given talk about the use of Internet Explorer. IE users are the last ones who will really want or need custom fonts, since Web designers are Macintosh supremacists across the board and only use IE to double-check page rendering.

    Everything is about IE here – sort of like trying to have a conversation with an Objectivist, who begins every sentence with the words “The only role of government is.”

  • It spits out a dog’s breakfast of code. Bill Hill apologizes for the shitty HTML on his example page, grandly named the Future of Reading. He shouldn’t have to apologize; it should never have seen the light of day until it was perfect. Frankly, the code looks like it came out of FrontPage. Even Dreamweaver would have been better.

    Hill wastes Chris Wilson’s time by recruiting him to fix his code. While this implies that only the head of the browser team knows what valid HTML is at Microsoft, surely there’s somebody at a lower level who could do this kind of gruntwork. I guess Bill only deals with program managers.

    I don’t know how many times I have to say this: The only people who are going to want to use Web fonts are Macintosh standardistas, and they’ll demand good code. A half-assed attempt like this just proves how much Bill Hill is not the target market he’s trying to convince. It’s offputting to the point of repugnance.

  • It acts like Web design is a poor cousin of print design. There’s some nonsense about what a page would look like if it were “designed for readability.” Then what he gives us is a three-column magazine mockup complete with callouts. The 20th century called; it wants its layouts back.

    Hill seems to want to turn the Web into print. Worse, the site commits the cardinal sin of assuming a fixed resolution, and a very weird one at that – 1400 × 900. In effect, he designed a page just for his own computer and foisted it on the world as an example of the brave new world of Web fonts.

I just don’t see where people in the real world want any of this shit. We certainly don’t want it if it shills for Microsoft and its vendor and works on only one man’s computer. As the kids no longer say, FAIL.

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2008.07.22 12:46. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:

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