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Hour 17. Typefaces > Understanding Typefaces

Understanding Typefaces

How does SVG allow for true typeface display across all viewers? What separates this technology from previous standards? To start with, SVG was designed with the express goal of supporting actual typefaces beyond what a user has installed on his or her machine. To accommodate this, SVG was created to accept its own SVG Fonts format, as well as existing typeface standards such as CSS2's WebFonts. Both formats allow designers to encode the typefaces used in their work into a format that an SVG viewer can understand.

Neither format is similar to system fonts, which actually reside on an end user's computer. System fonts generally contain information, such as bitmaps, that optimize typeface display at specific sizes and contain complex kerning-pair information. SVG Fonts, on the other hand, contain only the letterform outlines of specific characters in a typeface. In some cases, an SVG Font may contain only one character; in others, it may contain several or all characters in a typeface. By being composed of only outlines, SVG Fonts can scale cleanly to any size, but they cannot contain “hinting” information that optimizes display at different point sizes.


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