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While we're on the subject of @font-face, _please_ only use it as a replacement for images. I'm tired of waiting 30 seconds for any text to show up on the screen because my computer's busy loading a font file. The web is not a magazine stand. Don't treat it like one.

The web is well overdue for proper typography.

I suspect the more likely median result will be a decline in typographic standards, like what happened immediately after desktop-publishing software became widespread: huge overuse of newly available features just to use them, gratuitous mixing of five typefaces in a document, etc.

I think we hit that point years ago with sFIR and it should have worn off by now.

See also: Widespread use of Comic Sans.

Even if you're in a rare situation where you can't make do with Helvetica or Georgia or one of the other standard fonts, the long load time that your custom font imposes is going to affect my impression of your page much more than any improvement in readability or expression that the font may provide. You only have a few seconds to make a first impression.

Of course this only applies to the copy in the body of the page. Using @font-face for logos, buttons, or even headings, isn't going to impose the performance hit (if you only include in the font file the characters that you use) that a whole page's worth of text would.

Browsers should [edit: have an option to] download and load fonts after the page.

Then you've got a flash of unstyled content, which just looks plain ugly.

Why not? I don't get why beauty should be relegated to print.

Additionally, eventually things will get faster -- even now, with proper caching using a good CDN, it should be completely unnoticeable.

The fact you are waiting 30 seconds is agreeably a poor experience but this should not be the case. Font files on the web range in size from 20kb to 120kb depending on the details in the font - I consider this file size to be nothing more to wait for than say a normal image size. Technically fonts can save on total downloads if you think about the number of images that can be replaced. Fonts from services like WebINK, Typekit, Fontdeck, Fonts.com are all served from global CDN's that have these files located regional servers that should be bring the fonts down to your browser in 500ms to 2 seconds at the most. Of course connection speed matters.

Which browser does that? My Opera just shows text in 'default' font, and then switches it to @font-face'd when it's finished loading.

It also seems like an easy thing to change.

It's fairly common for font delivery services like TypeKit to use JavaScript in order to prevent display of text until the webfont has been downloaded.

Firefox, Chrome, and Safari

Incorrect. Firefox at least displays the text with the second-in-line font and then switches over to @font-face when the font is downloaded.

Those browsers show default text for me and then switch over to the font-face.

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