Web Fonts and the Global Economy

Super-fluffy pancakes, inflatable concrete, Baroque photojournalism and more in our look at the web this week

Before web fonts, designers were bound to whatever came bundled with software. For English, the Latin alphabet and commonly used scripts this didn’t pose a major hurdle. But, building a webpage for Farsi readers posed a real problem. Web fonts make it so users don’t need pre-bundled alphabets in order to see a page, browsers download the fonts automatically. Whether it’s a proprietary font in a common alphabet or a more specialized alphabet, web fonts have increased both the communicative power of the internet and its reach. A look at most downloaded fonts reveals the developing world doesn’t just want to build their own internet, they want it to look good.