Google Webfonts are free and with ‘free’ you expect something to suck a bit. As I found out and details in this article, some of the webfonts available suck but not all as there are some good Google Webfonts.
When we’re creating WordPress themes at Obox, we must be able to design and create a theme that anyone can use. We have an inbuilt typography manager which enables users to manage which webfonts they’re using and then they can add their own custom fonts if they wish.
Webfonts services like Fontdeck, Typekit and the new Hoefler and Frere-Jones webfont services are great but a lot of the time, people would like a goood free webfont.
We won’t ask any customer at Obox to purchase our themes and then ask them to subscribe to a paid webfont service, that’s a bit harsh, neither can we bundle fonts into our theme packages unless they’re free with all-rights-removed.
For us, at the moment, Google webfonts is the only way to go to bring a bit of ‘difference’ to the typography in our themes.
Don’t all be hatin’
Roll back a few months and I was a hater, I hated the restriction that was imposed by a less than healthy font service with regards to choices.
When I came to designing our latest theme, I wanted to do something different, so I started a search which inspired this post.
I felt restricted because at first view, I found a font then looked at the family and it was non-existant. I’d never be able to use a font in a theme with one weight nor can I use a font which looks dreadful at smaller or larger sizes.
With Google webfonts you only get ‘some’ of the family in most cases but if you look hard enough you’ll find fonts with pretty full families that you can use.
Good Google WebFonts
So here started the in-depth search for some fonts to use in the new theme design. Here are some that I found that you could use too;
With the ‘in font’ being Proxima Nova and maybe Gotham since H&FJ’s webfont service has started I looked endlessly for a good sans-serif Google font that was similar to Proxima Nova. There aren’t but one does come close. Monsterrat is a bit more plump than both of those fonts and only comes in two weights but with careful use you can use it easily in your designs.
I’ve not been a massive user of slab-serif’s for a while now but I used to use Arvo as my default slab-serif Google font for previous designs. We also had a theme using Arvo at Obox at one point.
The fonts I’ve chosen above clearly don’t have full families as they were chosen on purpose to be feature fonts and the main body content font was a fully family font. However you’ll also notice that from all the Google Webfonts I didn’t find many that I could use right there and then.
If you’re using Typekit or another webfont service but are in need of a Google webfont, look deep there are others out there as I found just yesterday after finding this link ‘Better Google Fonts‘.
I wish I’d found that link before I started my search.