Getting Web Fonts to Look Fantastic on iPhone® and iPad® devices

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According to Steve Lee, product marketing manager for Monotype Imaging's creative professional division:

Many Web design­ers have been ask­ing how Monotype Imaging sup­ports iPhone® and iPad® devices using Web Fonts ser­vice. These devices are known for super­ior dis­play qual­ity, and as our test­ing and usage have shown, there’s no excep­tion when it comes to Web fonts. The iPhone 4, for example, with its 960-by-640-pixel res­ol­u­tion at 326 ppi (higher than early laser print­ers), renders text that is simply stun­ning. Web fonts really shine when zoom­ing to see con­tent up close, thanks to their amaz­ing sharp­ness and clarity.

Our approach to Mobile Safari® sup­port can be summed up in two words: sim­pli­city and control.

“Sim­pli­city” is often dif­fi­cult to achieve, but we’re com­mit­ted to giv­ing Web design­ers an eleg­ant solu­tion that’s also very easy to use. Second (and maybe more import­ant), we believe it’s essen­tial to provide design­ers with con­trol over how they assign their fonts. Spe­cific­ally, we think design­ers should have the free­dom to assign CSS select­ors accord­ing to their own asso­ci­ations for bold, italic, light, con­densed, heavy, ultra and other styles.

Why is this so import­ant? The Hel­vetica® typeface fam­ily, for example, con­tains more than 50 fonts (weights) in our Web font solu­tion. It cer­tainly made sense to us to leave the CSS selector assign­ments up to the designer. Yet, believe it or not, we reached that con­clu­sion after much debate. We under­stood that by pre­de­fin­ing CSS declar­a­tions behind the scenes, we could offer con­veni­ence to users because the work would already be done. How­ever, we also knew we’d be mak­ing sub­ject­ive decisions, so total flex­ib­il­ity won in the end. Con­trol belongs in the hands of designers.

We also have a hunch that by keep­ing our solu­tion simple, and by enabling design­ers to assign their own CSS select­ors, we’ve been able to retain con­sist­ent, browser sta­bil­ity using Mobile Safari. One could argue that as being the most import­ant aspect of all.

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