Pros and Cons of WebINK versus Typekit

John Nolan's picture

I hope I don't start any wars; right now I'm subscribed to both, and I can't decide between them.

Is one significantly better with rendering issues?

Both have Adobe and TypeTogether fonts, Typekit has FontFont, WebINK has OurType and some Shinn type.

What have you chosen, and why?

Frode Bo Helland's picture

Typekit seems more open about the rendering issues in older browsers. They're also early adaptors of new approaches, like f.x. serving postscript outlines in larger sizes. In fact, they seem to be pushing these things, with the rest of the gang following a step behind.

Indra Kupferschmid's picture

Is there no way to delete my comment? Just saw you only asked about Typekit and Webink. Sorry.

(I currently use Webtype because they have the Font Bureau RE fonts, in particular Ibis. Top of A-list for reading sizes in my opinion. Before I had Typekit and liked it a lot, too. Larger choice, but not all great for smaller text. Though I didn't really look into rendering quality there.)

John Nolan's picture

I'm happy to hear about Webtype too!

bdunzer's picture

Well being from WebINK I would tend to prefer my own. I am glad you are trying them all out. We all have some great fonts with both TypeKit and us having fonts from Adobe.

I am always asked what is the difference between you and TypeKit and the most obvious is that we are a pure CSS only solution. I prefer this method because it allows development to be as I normally would develop with links to my media. A lot of folks don't like the extra JavaScript required to use TypeKit but a lot of folks dont find it an issue. We use a powerful CSS implementation model that differs from many of the other CSS only services. Most CSS only shops link back to a hosted CSS file that uses a traditional @font-face stack of EOT, WOFF, TTF calls and allows the browser to determine what file format to download. Ours links back to our intelligent servers that determine the OS and Browser version and hand back the best format for that browser. This matters a lot since in some OS and Browser combinations handing back a WOFF/CFF might not be the best and a TTF might be better.

Another item to always look at when reviewing the service you want to go with is the backbone that their service is on. WebINK is on the Amazon Cloud with region locations all over the globe so our fonts download from a server closest to the user. TypeKit is on a very good CDN as well. Some services might be on the Amazon network but they only download from one location, so your visitors in Europe are getting their fonts from the East Coast of the US or farther away and this can cost extra seconds on page load.

I would agree that the folks at TypeKit are pushing the industry and that is great for all of us. They recently starting serving up WOFF/CFF (postscript outlines) as pointed out and we and others will do this as well in the near future. We too will push the industry and have some very seasoned software engineers.

I hope you find a service that works for you.

Brad Dunzer
Product Manager WebINK

John Nolan's picture

Thanks for that information, Brad.

aworkinglibrary's picture

I'll also begin with a disclaimer (I work for Typekit). Brad is right that Typekit requires JavaScript; we think that layer of JS allows us to serve fonts in a way that's more reliable, consistent, and provides more control to the designer. You can read more about why we use JavaScript and what it does on a recent post on our blog.

In addition, we're working closely with our foundry partners to improve rendering on Windows browsers; switching to PostScript for some fonts is a recent step. (Though I should clarify that at this point we are not yet sending PS based on the size of the font; though we are considering that additional level of control in the future.) We've also done a lot of research on rendering and will be sharing more on that front soon. And we provide browser screenshots for all of our fonts, so you can evaluate how they perform before using them.

Thomas Phinney's picture

Speaking for the WebINK side, there are other differences that spring to mind:

- WebINK also provides a minimum px size rating for every font in our system, based on analysis by one or more people viewing browser screenshot waterfalls. We're working on also providing waterfalls, but it seems to us that knowing what we think the minimum good size is, is pretty helpful.

- As best as I can tell, WebINK has a more heavily curated collection of fonts. Mind you, this is probably not as important for typophiles as the general web design audience.

Regards,

T

Chris Dean's picture

@aworkinglibrary: “…research on rendering…” = broken.

John Nolan's picture

Thanks for all that information.

kentlew's picture

> @aworkinglibrary: “…research on rendering…” = broken.

Link fixed now.

Thomas Phinney's picture

"Typekit seems more open about the rendering issues in older browsers."

How so? For example:
http://blog.webink.com/webink/font-rendering-in-web-browsers-a-find-your...

Perhaps we need to blog about it more often, but we certainly have blogged about it, and are always ready to talk about it when it comes up, which is often. A lot of TT fonts render badly on older browsers on Windows, and even newer Windows browsers are not always fabulous at small sizes with all fonts. :(

This of course is not an issue that is specific to either WebINK or TypeKit. It's a general challenge for web fonts.

Cheers,

T

Frode Bo Helland's picture

How so?

Because they show all the possible rendering scenarioes directly. With WebINK, you need access to all these browsers yourself.

Btw, this is the text just above the title “High-Quality Web Fonts” on the WebINK website.

Thomas Phinney's picture

(1) Ah, I understand, then. That feature is on our to-do list. On the other hand, we do offer a rating of minimum size so that you don't necessarily have to check it yourself under every browser combo. (I'm not saying that either feature is a substitute for the other, but if a font is rated as having a minimum safe size of 24 px, it's hardly a case of not being "open" about rendering issues.)

(2) Yeah, if you use Windows, and have ClearType off (the default on XP, but not anything later), and use the wrong browsers, stuff will look worse, including our own site. You'll see that rendering on any version of Windows, using Firefox, with ClearType turned off. Current Windows versions of IE, Chrome and even Safari all do better, even with ClearType off; they will show that text anti-aliased and it looks pretty fabulous. Even on XP with IE 7 or 8, for that matter. We could try forcing anti-aliasing for that font at such small sizes under GDI greyscale (non-ClearType), but the type may get a little too thin if we do.

Cheers,

T

Frode Bo Helland's picture

Sorry, Thomas. I'm coming across way to harsh. I'm just saying this is why Typekit feels more open about it to me. The whole wide @font-face web looks like crap under the default XP settings ;) You're not the only one.

I switch between Standard and Cleartype all the time on my Win machine. Seeing a lot of this.

Thomas Phinney's picture

S'okay, Frode! My German isn't even good enough for me to come across as too harsh, so I'm not about to criticize your English. :)

But yeah, a lot of stuff looks like crap under default XP settings with old/wrong browsers at text sizes (or even larger). Most of everybody's fonts, except for a few superhinted ones. I've said many times now that getting to the point where that rendering doesn't matter any more can't happen soon enough for me! Different folks may have different opinions on when we reach that point; some people are declaring such rendering dead already. My take is that it is more than a year away still, maybe more like two years? We'll see. :/

T

Frode Bo Helland's picture

Until we have some definite numbers, I suppose the whole discussion will remain at status quo.

Indra Kupferschmid's picture

S'okay, Frode! My German isn't even good enough for me to come across as too harsh, so I'm not about to criticize your English. :)

Not to mention my Norwegian.

Frode Bo Helland's picture

Das Frank. My nickname was originally a cozy-trailer-driver-name-sort-of-thing, but I quickly turned into the guy who calls everyone out on their type sins. Social media + social misfit = bad. I should’ve never been living in the digital age anyway. Even pipe smoking is frowned upon these days :)

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